How The Media Portrayed The 1967 Summer Of Love

1679 words - 7 pages

What was known as the ‘Summer of Love’ occurred in 1967 in San Francisco. Considered to be the climax of the hippie movement occurring all over the world in the sixties, it was a time of rebellion against conformity, a desire for peace, and a soaring sense of individualism. However the media were responsible for the negative portrayal of the Summer of Love and still to this day, the media plays an important role in forming the attitudes of outsiders towards the ‘Hippie’ movement, commenting on their appearance, behaviour and beliefs. In the end this came to have a negative impact on how others viewed the movement, creating an incorrect portrayal of 1967.

The year was 1967. The Vietnam War ...view middle of the document...

” The term ‘hippie’ branded those who decided that societal perceptions of how an individual should live their life was not a way they would like to live. They took it upon themselves to make a statement and dress, look, think, and live how they wanted. All participants of this way of life were different individuals. A majority of them found that their way of thinking, dressing and music and life style was similar to others but that is not to say that they all wore the same tie die clothing, accessorised by long beards, unwashed hair and drug-fried brains. Instead, they gathered in all their individualism and came together to express their similar views on society's branding and conformity. The media saw this major change in lifestyle and decided they needed to brand and stereotype ‘hippies’ to allow outsiders to understand their way of living. Through the media’s creation of the term ‘hippie’, it put all these followers of the counter culture into the one category that grew to be frowned upon and resented for their free way of life, ultimately initiating the negative role the media played in the portrayal of 1967.

As approximately 30 000 people flocked to San Francisco in early 1967, they were inspired by the song that defined the decade; Scott Mackenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in your Hair)”, a song that came to epitomise the way of life these flower children wished to live. Lyrics “If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. If you’re going to San Francisco you’re going to meet some gentle people there” described the gentle, free and loving scene that took over California. This was a positive way of calling upon the event, unlike the way it was describe in the media. Like any major event in history, a positive and negative side can be seen. Although drug use was present in the Summer of Love for those who took to psychedelic drugs to explore and expand their finding of a new life, the overall humble, good-natured and positive vibe that the event expelled cancelled out the negative decisions of some. However, like the portrayal of a ‘hippie’, the media saw the negative side of the event and decided to explore it. Glenn W. Smith recalls on the media portrayal of the Summer of Love on the 40 year anniversary of the event in his article ‘What the media is missing about the Summer of Love’, in which he states “The media look to find lost keys wherever their cameras are already pointing. They seldom hunt in those places the keys are most likely to be found.” By this, Smith reflects upon the way the media took to find all the negative qualities of the scene because in the end they knew it would get their stories the most attention. By manipulating what was really going on for their own benefit, the media continued to develop their negative role they played in portraying the event.

Many of those still in school during 1967 rebelled against their parents by dropping out of school to participate in the...

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