Long Term Impacts of Hippies on American Values After the Summer of Love came to an end, the participants in the Hippies movement proclaimed the “death of hip”. Ultimately, the hippies were all of the younger generation who argued that society needed to change and brought to the attention of American society these new, radical ideas that have affected American values today.
The generation gap, which has always been one of the biggest issues in every generation, led to this extreme protest of the American society; the adults perspective on society was waning and the younger generation was revolutionary ND argued that this change was looming no matter what. The ethics of drugs, sex, Rock n’ Roll and community are all issues brought to the attention of America by this group of Hippies in the sass and are still in effect in society today, nearly fifty years later. Undoubtedly, the most defining characteristic of this counterculture was drugs.
Timothy Miller explains in Hippies and American Values that dope was used to expand your consciousness such as marijuana, LSI, peyote and other psychedelics; these were good for their cause, but downers and dope that made those who took hem dumber were frowned upon by the hippie community. Hippies believed that the America society was confined by the government and the conservatives and those drugs were the way to break out of that societal confinement and become revolutionary. More and more hippies indicated that they had reached some new insight on life through drugs which led to a majority of American supporting the legalization of drugs.
It was a way to control their own bodies and minds, freedom as the hippies saw it, which was fundamental to American values. The more open use of dope and the expansion of the mind brought on a sexual evolution and the want of pleasure in everyday life. The idea was that no one would be forced into unwanted sexual activity, but also no person would try and inhibit others from following their sexual impulses. This was seen through the hippies belief that martial sex, and a legal document allowing sexual activity, was what was wrong with Western culture, sex was like eating and drink and breathing, it should be done whenever and with however.
The sexual revolution of the hippies opened the door to a more open, and public, homosexual community and a feminist movement focused n sexual rights to women, though many women in the hippie movement were seen as sexual property. Like drugs, nudity was a defining characteristic of the Hippies in the sass, as clothes hindered personal statement among each other and that it was completely natural for people to not burden themselves with clothing.
Though birth control and the pill became one of the symbols for sexual liberation, abortion was still illegal in the majority of the United States and this risk, along with the spread of a vast amount of sexual transmitted disease, were enough to fuel the arguments for hose opposing this sexual liberation. Rock was the music of rebellion. Music like folk, pop and rock were the music of the generation, crucial to their counterculture ideas. Rock n’ Roll was the language conflict, the increased use of drugs and the expanding sexual revolution.
It brought these issues into the homes of American who may not be singularly involved in the movement, but this music was now influencing a wide spread of people across the country. It was not the message alone people were listening to; this new genre was something the younger generation could dance too, mostly forms of dance which the elder generation did not approve of. Rock was a form of rebellion within itself; you did not have to be involved in the Hippie movement to rebel against the society norms.
Like other characteristics of the Hippies, rock embraced and accelerated the drug use vastly and these new groups of kids were starting to abuse drugs and alcohol in ways the Hippies disagreed with. As Timothy Miller states in Hippies and American Values, once this counterculture relaxed a generation later there was no more generational consciousness. Music stopped addressing major political and societal problems, and the government became much harsher on drug use and distribution. The fact that there were harmful drugs and drugs that would cause long term side effects led to this strict government involvement.
Sex was experiencing its most profound revolution but with many consequences. Women were seen as property and many of the male hippie leaders were womanliness. The sexual revolution would also lose its momentum to the outbreak of herpes and then completely came too halt by the emergence of AIDS. During this movement arose the question of conformity. Unlike those in the fifties who conformed to what society anted of them in order to avoid that idea of communism, the hippies used conformity as a meaner of collectivism and community.
They were a community of people who disagreed with society and the direction it was going, though they were not concerned with individualism. They needed to ban together to attract the attention of the media to expand their ideas across the world. It would not be until the sass’s and the “me” generation when people would start becoming more concerned with individualism. Bibliography Miller, Timothy. The Hippies and American Values. Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1991. Print.