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Shaping American Cultures Essay

2532 words - 11 pages

Throughout the 1960s there was a cultural phenomenon that started in the United States and spread like wildfire to multiple other cultures in the world. This phenomenon was also known as countercultures. This decade raised the 76.4 million Americans born during the baby boom generation. The babies of this boom entered their teen years during the 1960s and they definitely embraced a multitude new standards, dramatically different from the way their parents were raised. While some encompassed new ideals in dress, music and movies others joined countercultures and rebelled against the social norms with poetry, novels and art. Three of the most altering countercultures were the Hippies, the Sexual Revolution and the Gay Liberation.
These three countercultures emerged around the same time, but had prominently different agendas and played huge roles in shaping the American culture. What effects did the Hippies, Sexual Revolution and the Gay Liberation countercultures have on American society, why did they emerge and what were their objectives?
One of the most distinctive countercultures of the very colorful decade of the 1960s were the hippies. The hippie’s counterculture developed during the 1960s in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. The hippies adopted the language and counterculture values from the Beats Generation. Their distinct style (bell bottom pants, brightly colored shirts and long loose hair on both men and women), their addictive use of LSD, and their psychedelic music was a clear reminder of their rejection to their parent’s values and why they emerged. Many young folks who took on the hippie lifestyle came from homes with parents who lived the conservative, prim and proper regime. According to an article in The Atlantic “When hippies first came to San Francisco they were an isolated minority, mistrustful, turned inward by drugs, lacking acquaintance beyond themselves. But they were spirited enough after all, to have fled from home, to have endured the discomforts of a cramped existence along Haight Street, proud enough to have endured the insults of the police, and alert enough to have identified the major calamities of their age.” It wasn’t before long the word of the hippies spread like wild fire and the hippie scene in Haight-Ashbury was the place to explore among college students and other young people. “By the summer of 1966, some 15,000 hippies had moved [to Haight-Ashbury], many of them “crashing” this is, sleeping together in shared apartments and some simply living on the or in local parks.” Hippie stores even opened selling psychedelic posters, drug paraphernalia and their clothing. The even established hippie newspapers and LSD rescue services. The hippie’s definitely caught the eye of the media and it wasn’t long before the whole nation was being educated about the hippies. Haight-Ashbury became the center of the so called Hippie movement, but little towns of hippies were popping up all over America. ...

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