When you think of hippies, what comes to mind? One may think of dirty, long-haired nature freaks that drop acid. A simple peace sign would probably be thought of by many. Woodstock could very well be an initial thought in your mind. But this group of individualists consists of so much more than “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” They were a group of people that changed not only a nation, but the entire world we know today. Hippies broke out of the traditional life styles most Americans were living in the post World War II era. They decided to go against the “white picket fence, two story brick house” way of living. The Hippies are responsible for a lot of “firsts” in this nation. They were some of the first individualists the United States had ever seen. They were definitely the very first citizens to see that being unique was, indeed, a good thing. You may be wondering now, how this movement started in mid twentieth century America and the answer is not what you would expect.
This culture was not started with grown adults, but the youth in the valleys of San Francisco simply because they opposed the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. This group of teenagers did just go against various parts of the “social norm” but they revolted against every single piece of it. The Hippies changed social norms such as clothing, entertainment, slang words, styles of living, and the way the older generations viewed these up and coming activists.
The most important phrase they used in their movement against violence was “Make Peace, Not War.” They were the flower children; the sweethearts of the sixties. These activists doled out flowers during war campaigns as they spread the word about making peace among nations, as opposed to using violence to solve problems. The pacifists that took over the country, especially the West Coast, and they were all extremely stubborn in their thinking, but also ended up being remembered as some of the most caring people the United States has seen. When dead soldiers came back from Vietnam to be buried in their homeland, the Hippies decorated their graves in flowers; every single one.
The Hippies were centered around two main streets in San Francisco, Height and Ashbury. Their group had two hundred and fifty thousand fully immersed participants and between four and eight million partial participants. The fully immersed participants lived and breathed the hippie lifestyle. They embraced the extremely peculiar dress code of this particular group of activists. Long, granny style dresses and rimless glasses were popular among the women of the group. The men of the group preferred long beards and sandals. The one common ground that both sexes had in terms of dress was flowers. Flowers were adorned every day, over many parts of the body, in many forms, on both men and women.
The partial participants in the group had the same views as the fully immersed participants and had nearly identical beliefs. The difference was that their beliefs were not always as strong as those of the people who lived, ate, and breathed peace. In other terms, the neither thoughts, nor actions of the partial participants were extreme.
The Hippies changed many things about Vietnam War era