The Hippie Movement in the United States During the 1960s and 1970s

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The Hippie movement began in the mid 1960s, in America. In 1965, a journalist from San Francisco used that tem Hippie for the description of the new type of American rebel. They were spontaneous, free and passionate. The Hippies described themselves as antagonists of the supreme culture, a tightlipped, stiff society. Rather than conforming to the superiority of the society that is uptight, the fundamental ethoses of the subculture group were widespread from around 1967. These fundamental ethoses included communal living, harmony with nature, experimentation that is artistic especially in music and the widespread influence and use of some recreational drugs (Stone 2000). The movement involved a number of social beliefs and concerns. They also objected their dressing and introduced an era where one could wear as they pleased. Since they were evading commercialism, it also contributed to the influence of their dress code. The Hippie movement also questioned and proposed a number of models on sexual morality such as the acceptance of homosexuality. They sang about peace and war and a world where everyone live in unison without fighting. However, the image might be partially true, as it is a stereotype. The topic is sociological as it addresses how the subculture of the Hippie movement contributed towards the norm of society, either positively or negatively, their origin, their development, organization and networks (Falk 2005).

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Literature Review

During the 1960s and 1970s, thing were changing not only in a political aspect but also culturally. Browne (2000) suggested that even though it was only a literature subculture, the so called beatniks had great and significant influence of the upcoming Hippie Movement. The poems of the Beat Generation were influenced by the mention of religious and political problems and the Second World War experience. Stone (2000) stated that since the Hippie Movement was interested in changing the cultural aspect that their parents had laid out for them, they derived a Hippie Philosophy which was supposed to govern them on their sociocultural living. Their philosophy entailed uncommon clothing, free love, communal housing, protests for peace and against the Vietnam War, and the authorities too, consuming a lot of drugs and listening to new music. The philosophy derived communes, that were households, where everyone was equal and had the same rank, independent of the occupation or sex of the individual. They were entitled to live simple lives that entailed natural and healthy living.

Falk (2005) hypothesized that the counterculture of the Hippie movement also changed the sound of music and the manner in which the youth dressed. The music mostly promoted peace and criticized the authorities. Their music was great influence to them as it expressed what they wanted to change, for the better. In addition to that, the counterculture of the Hippie movement raised sexual morality concerns such as sex orgies, sexual extended families and the acceptance of homosexuality. However, this caused concerns considering the American society was still at an era where moral values were upheld tightly that even in the television shows, unmarried couples were not shown in bed together. MacFarlane (2007) asserts that the movement had great influence on television, popular music, arts literature and film. The Hippie movement had both good and bad impacts. For one, the music industry, especially the music segment of rock experienced very high sales which have continued up to today. In the years that followed, those people who were not married could live together without feeling persecuted. Matters of sexuality became frank and common. In addition to that, cultural and religious diversity were embraced fully. Fashion and the dress codes changed significantly as clothing was replaced by a more causal standard of dressing. Despite that fact, Falk (2005) argued that the Hippie movement ushered in liberal movies and press which significantly contributed to the degradation of societal ethics and cultural values. The fashion of the youth became increasingly bizarre and more sexual in an attempt to rebel against the existing values.

Main Section

The Hippie movement comprised of mostly the youth, who were dissatisfied, in a way or the other, by what their parents had laid out for them. Their basic tenet was to be happy in life and not live according to what someone else wanted them to live. Since the Hippie movement was propelled mostly by the youth, the major concerns were about the social beliefs and concerns. The Hippie movement wanted a society that was free of criticism on what one was expected to do. They wanted freedom to do what they wanted, dress as they wanted and even live as they wanted (Wilson 2013). The Hippie movement believed that the dominant culture which was also mainstream, was corrupt and flawed, inherently, and sought to replace all the defaults with an idealistic society. They rejected the value of the middle class; they opposed nuclear weapons and even further opposed the Vietnam War that had already killed more than fifty thousand American soldiers. They rejected institutions which had been established. They were vegetarian and they believed in practices that were eco-environmental friendly. They campaigned for sexual liberation, especially for women. The movement also promoted the use of some drugs which they believed was responsible for expanding their consciousness. The Hippie also opposed social and political violence. Owing to these facts, the Hippies created a counter culture of their own, where they could exercise their freedoms (Taranto 2011).


Marxs theory on social class focused on how social class was the dictator of an individuals social life. According to the social class that the Hippie movement supported, everyone in the commune was supposed to be equal to each other despite their social status. Marx might think that the social problem was caused by the lack of capitalism in their economic and social entities. There were no poor or wealthy people as they all viewed themselves as the same group with the same mission (Cohen 2000).

According to Comtes theory, equality of sexes was not advocated. His positivism theory was a counter-force which was against communism. Comte ought that men are superior in practical and intellectual matters as compared to women who were inferior and suited for moral matters. I think that the Hippie movement was a great genesis for the modern world where there is communism and there is equality between genders (Turner 2006).


During the Hippie movement in the 1960s and 1970s, social culture underwent a tremendous change due to the philosophy that the movement implemented. The movement which was propelled by mostly the youth, had great influence towards most of the young people, not only in America, but it spread to other places such as Britain and Australia. The movement projected the civil rights, environmental movements, anti-war and womens movement. The protests and psychedelic movement were enhanced greatly by the revolution of music, which was very influential. Despite the fact that the Hippie movement brought about important factors in the history of American culture, there has also been degradation of cultural ethics and values.


Browne, R. Browne, and Browne Pat. 2000. Defining Concise Guide to United States Popular

Culture. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press.

Cohen, G. Allan. 2000. Karl Marx's Theory of History: A defence. Oxford [u.a.: Clarendon.

Falk, Gerhard, and Falk, A. Ursula. 2005. The Youth Culture and the Generation Gap. New

York, N.Y: Algora.

MacFarlane, Scott. 2007. The Hippie Narrative: A Literary Perspective on the Counterculture.

Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co.

Stone, Skip. 2000. Hippies from A to Z: Their Sex, Drugs, Music, and Impact on Society From

the Sixties to the Present. Silver City, N.M: Hip, Inc.

Taranto, James. 2011. The Hippie Stimulus. Wall Street Journal., H. Jonathan. 2006. Handbook of Sociological Theory. New York, NY: Springer Science

+ Business Media.

Wilson, Eric. 2013. When Hippies Walked the Runways. New York Times.

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