The Hippies

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American society and culture experienced an awakening during the 1960s as a result of the diverse civil rights, economic, and political issues it was faced with. At the center of this revolution was the American hippie, the most peculiar and highly influential figure of the time period. Hippies were vital to the American counterculture, fueling a movement to expand awareness and stretch accepted values. The hippies ' solutions to the problems of institutionalized American society were to either participate in mass protests with their alternative lifestyles and radical beliefs or drop out of society completely.
The government and the older generations could not understand their way of life. Hippies were often portrayed as criminals, subversive to the morals and best interest of the public. Although misunderstood, the hippie had a great impact throughout the country, still surviving today in American culture. The term "hippie" itself became a universal term in the late sixties. It originated in a 1967 article in Ramparts, entitled "The Social History of the Hippies." Afterward, the name was captured by the mass media as a label for the people of the new movement. (Yablonsky 28) Even before this, the word "hip" described someone who was "in" and "down", wise to what was going on around him. By the 1960s, some of America 's youth created a gap between themselves and their parents. They grew their hair long because it was natural and therefore considered beautiful.
At first, the idea of men with long hair was absurd and society considered it a sign of homosexuality. When it became clear that the establishment felt so strongly about hair, the attitudes of young rebels changed. One young man responded after being questioned about his unkempt appearance: Growing hair does not mean that I am or am not a homosexual. It does mean that I am willing to stand up for my rights as a human being and that includes my right to be harmless to all people. It also indicates my



Bibliography: Cavan, Sherri. Hippies of the Haight. New Critics Press. St. Louis, 1972 Kornbluth, Jesse Mills, Richard. Young Outsiders, a study of Alternative Communities. Pantheon Books. New York, 1973 Neville, Richard. Play Power: Exploring the International Underground. Random House. New York, 1970 Newsweek Perry, Helen. The Human Be-In. Basic Books Inc. New York, 1970 Westby, David "Class and Politics in the Family Backgrounds Student Political McGraw-Hill. New York, 1972 Wolf, Leonard Yablonsky, Lewis. The Hippie Trip. Pegasus Books. New York, 1968 Young

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