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The Hippie Culture Essay

2352 words - 10 pages

Culture, a concept created by Anthropologist, relates to the way human beings are taught to behave, feel, and think from the time they are born. (Eicher, Evenson & Lutz, 2008) Anthropologists suggest that large societies are composed of smaller groups, called subcultures. The people in each of these groups do not always agree with members of other groups about values, meaning and cultural forms. (Eicher, Evenson & Lutz, 2008)

In society people dress themselves for varied reasons, including protection of the body, extension of the body’s abilities, beautification and nonverbal communication. (Eicher, Evenson & Lutz, 2008) Dressing is a process that involves actions undertaken to modify and supplement the body in order to address physical needs and to meet social and cultural expectations about how individuals should look. The process includes all five senses; seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. This process exists regardless of the society and culture into which the individual was born. (Eicher, Evenson & Lutz, 2008)

In the late 1960’s, a subculture was created that rejected the formalities of mainstream American society. It originated on college campuses in the United States, while eventually spreading to Canada and Great Britain. (Roskind, 2002) This subculture felt alienated from middle-class society, who they saw as dominated by materialism and repression, thus developing their own distinctive lifestyle. The subculture named themselves, Hippies, derived from “hip” a term used by the Beats, a group of American post-World War II writers, of the 1950s. (Roskind, 2002)

In order to study the products and processes of dress within a specific culture, without bringing cultural bias, a classification system of culturally neutral concepts was developed. The classification system for dress is based upon the assemblage of body modifications and body supplements, which are together displayed by a person and worn at a particular time. (Eicher, Evenson & Lutz, 2008)

To understand lifestyle of the ‘Hippy’, it is necessary to look at those circumstances that preceded the birth of the movement. The 1960's were a time of social and cultural change, due in large part, to population demographics. According to the US Census Bureau, 36% of the US population was under 18 in 1960. (Roskind, 2002) A new affluence, combined with affordable tuition, allowed more kids than ever to attend college. The egalitarian influence of the newly educated lower class, mixed with the concept of the shared hardships during and following World War II, led to a youth movement no longer led by the elite. Young people rejected the snobbery of couture and the restrictive conservation of the post war years. (Roskind, 2002)
Important events changed the lives of Americans, resulting in frustration with society. A philosophy was developed through spiritual maturation; you must believe in peace as the way to resolve differences among peoples, ideologies and...

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