By Robert Fuller
The creatively coined term “hippie” comes from the word “hip” and is jazz slang for the word “hipster”, which was coined during the 1940’s. As years passed, “hippie” was used to refer to many different people or groups of people. However, the term had a long history, and was only accepted as a common and usual word in 1967.
No matter who it refers to, however, the term “hippie” remains true to its original meaning. It refers to a person or a group who belongs to a certain social environment that sprang in the United States during the 1960’s. As the term continued to increase its popularity, the number of people who fit the description also grew considerably larger. Along with other movements, the “hippies” of the past became a counterculture, an entirely complete lifestyle that ruled the lives of its members in every aspect.
What the hippies lived for was to counter the dominant culture in the society with another culture that was somewhat more liberal. Their main purpose was to go against the realms of the society that is in place by rejecting it. Hippies were mostly on the opposing side of what had already established. They opposed nearly everything that is accepted by the society. Their oppositions were not negative. They were against nuclear weapons and wars. Their main doctrine revolved around love, peace, and freedom of self-expression,
Hippies believed that there was more to life than what the norms state. This is why they opposed restrictions above all else. And in the spirit of opposition, they, in turn, promoted what the society is opposed to and what was dominant in the world. Examples of what they advocated were the liberal use of what they called “psychedelic drugs” and freedom of sexual expressions as well.
They also rallied for the environment, and most hippies were vegetarian. As an entire culture, they also had their own ways of expressing themselves through music and art. They maximized the use of these cultural tools in expressing what they believed in. Since they are also pro-peace, they do not engage in violence in demonstrating their views. Instead, they used other ways to be radical and to make their mark and be heard.
Two of the well-known forms of expressions that the hippies used are music and their clothing style. The hippie music, which revolved mostly around what was called “psychedelic rock” was one of the most popular ways of how these hippies lured people into their radical society. Their music also became popular.
Their clothing styles and the way they carried themselves, however, were more radical than their music. The hippies kept their hair long, regardless of gender. In breaking societal norms, they also chose to forego some of what people usually regard as necessities. Some hippies go braless and some go barefoot. They liked to use bright, bold colors to express freedom. They showed their independence through the unhindered use of colors and unusual clothes.
The hippies were the advocates of the bell-bottom pants, long flowing skirts, and peasant blouses. Another clothing trend that claimed popularity, not only during their time, but up to the present as well, are the tie-dyed t-shirts they used. To avoid supporting the corporate society, hippies liked designing and making their own clothes. The same is true with the tie-dyed theme. Tie-dyed shirts can easily be made at home, and they always come out differently every time. The colors would mix differently, and the patterns would be unique for each shirt.
As the society embraced the other hippie trends such as bell-bottom pants, long skirts, and peasant blouses, the tie-dyed shirts still stand out as truly hippie. It is still, up until now, closely associated to being a hippie. Tie-dyes shirts still remain a distinct symbol of being part of the hippie counterculture.
However, no matter how commercialized the hippie fashion statement may get, in truth, it is still closely linked with hippie values.
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