The 1960's was a time of revolution. The decade brought forth a new era of protest, reform, and change to the culture of the United States. One individual in particular that led this change was the hippie.
A hippie is an individual characterized by a rejection of social mores, or the moral attitudes of a culture. We remember the hippies from the 1960's for their flower power, peace signs, long hair, sit-ins, and Woodstock. They protested segregation, American foreign policy, attitudes towards women, gays, and blacks, and made a great impact on American society. Even though the hippie movement instilled a number of benefits on America, we tend to associate them with many negative characteristics.
The hippie of the 1960's was a swinger. The swinger lifestyle consisted of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. One of the most prevalent ideas of the hippie and the singer lifestyle was the concept of 'free love.' The availability of the birth control pill made sexual relations easier to enter into without first marrying because it removed the consequences of sex. Sex became 'free,' in the sense that there were no anticipated repercussions. Without fearing pregnancy, women were free to establish sexual relations with whomever and how ever many partners they wanted. Orgies and sex became a dominate theme of the hippie movement.
The hippie also encouraged plutonic love between each and every individual. Treating one another as brother and sister, regardless of race or creed, was an important concept for the hippie. This idea led many hippies to become involved in the desegregation movement that would eventually help dispel many prejudices towards blacks in the United States.
Another prevalent characterization of the hippie is drug use. Drugs were rampant throughout the 1960's, and many hippies experimented with marijuana, LCD, and cocaine. Unfortunately, not much was known about drug use then, and many hippies became addicted to drugs or, even worse, died from overdosing.
Woodstock, an event remembered for the involvement of the hippie, is seen as the greatest outdoor concert of all time. Music and rock and roll grew throughout the 1960's, aided much by the hippie movement. Artists like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix questioned the norm through their music. Their lyrics, and the lyrics of others, helped hippies find a voice and a mean of communicating their message. Woodstock helped to bring the music of the hippie to the world.
Even though the hippie movement helped to end prejudices, made advancements in music, and generally changed American culture, the hippie is often regarded as a swinger. We must remember the 1960's for the revolution that it was, and remember that much of the swinger lifestyle was all about fun and experimentation and the release of many social pressures. The role of women changed dramatically during the 1960's. Women entered the workforce and no longer felt the pressure to marry. Many young women also entered college and gained an education. Segregation ended and the Civil Rights Act was passed. Protests towards Vietnam helped shaped our current American foreign policy.
By confronting serious moral issues, the hippie movement encouraged many powerful changes in the US, but we are more likely to remember the hippie for his swinger lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.