Do you ever question decisions made by your government leaders? Or wish the world could be more peaceful and loving? These are a few of the hopes of those who joined the “hippie” movement in the 1960s.

The hippies took a stand against conformity. Conformity means going along with or following decisions that are generally accepted by others.

Hippies got their name because they were “hip” or aware of what was going on in the world around them. The hippie movement grew out of the earlier beatnik movement, which was a group of nonconformists living in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.

One way hippies showed their dissatisfaction with society was by their appearance. This was a visible way to represent their beliefs.

Many went barefoot, wore bell-bottomed blue jeans and sported tie-dyed t-shirts. Both men and women had long hair.

However, the hippie movement was about far more than looking and acting different from the general public.

Hippies protested against the Vietnam War, which they felt was unjust. And they supported a return to a more peaceful and natural lifestyle.

They displayed the peace symbol on many things to show they opposed the war and supported world peace. And hippies began giving the peace sign, one way still used today to indicate a desire for peace.

Some of the concerns we have today about taking care of our environment began with the hippies. Many hippies wore flowers in their hair to emphasize their love of nature, described in a popular song of the time. This led to the popular phrase “flower power.”

The hippies also expressed themselves through new kinds of music. They listened to psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll and folk music that protested the war and encouraged freedom from conformity. They held music festivals and large gatherings where they protested the war.

At the time, these protests were often called “sit-ins.” People sat down and refused to leave public places as a way to draw attention to their cause and for their beliefs to be heard.

Other practices attached to hippies, however, were far more extreme. Some hippies “dropped out” or abandoned an accepted lifestyle as a way to reject mainstream society.

The hippie movement was not just limited to the United States. It occurred in many other countries, including Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

In addition to the influence the hippie movement had on fashion, popular music, television, film, literature and the arts, we can trace some of our currently accepted practices back to hippies.

These include a growing interest in health foods and saving the planet. The hippie movement also impacted our broader acceptance of other people — an important factor in today’s more global society.

 

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