The hippies in America loved the English Invasion rock groups, and they
wore the "swinging London" style mini-skirts and Beatles haircuts, and they also raided the thrift stores for Victorian and
Edwardian clothing. Their look was completely different than the dominant culture of America, so they clearly stood out as
hippies. Their clothes outraged the conservative members of the population, which in America was just about everyone.
Before the 60s men's hair and sideburns in America were styled in a crew
cut, in keeping with World War II military hygiene. By the end of the 60s, jeans and t-shirts or worn work-shirts
and ex-army jackets were the new uniform in the States, but the hippie revolution meant you could wear anything you wanted.
And the hair, of course, was long, and by the end of the 60s men also grew moustached and beards as well.
For women, the early 60s was a time of skirts and dresses; trouser-suits
did not come in until the late 60s and caused a sensation when they did. Hair was permed and sprayed and thick ipstick and
make-up made even teenage girls look like they were in their mid-30s. The hippies and the influence of their fashion did away
with the rollers and long natural hair took over; pony tails were now only for the boys and both sexes wore headbands. Girls
looked for old-fashioned, second-hand dresses in thrift stores, favoring worn, soft fabrics like lace and velvet and often
wearing long granny-esque dresses. They wore handmade clothes, often tie dyed in bright colors and psychedelic rainbows, hand-strung
beads, and sometimes bare feet. Some did wear flowers in their hair, giving them the name Flower Child. The women were no
longer told how high the hem of their skirt had to be anymore. After the hippie movement it could be anywhere you wanted it
The hippie scene also changed the sound of music. The 60s transformed pop
music into rock music, from entertainment to art. Rock groups, generally speaking, returned to the blues or rhythm and blues
for inspiration. It took the British Invasion, led by the Beatles, to reawaken the American musicians interest in their own
blues originals. Before they became known as the Grateful Dead, they were known as the Warlocks and specialized in extended
blues jams. Canned Heat was a popular blues band, and Janis Joplin was a blues singer.
Another great change was the Beatles, whoes new sound paved the way of
turning music from just pop music to a new form of art. The Jefferson Airplane were very pop-oriented, but it was really
their lyrics that set them apart from other bands. Jimi Hendrix combined R&B and pop to forge a new art form.
In these beginnings, a new sound emerged from the hippie culture.
The counterculture of hippies also questioned sexual morality and proposed
many different models: extended sexual families, sex orgies, sex-therapy groups, acceptance of homosexuality, and most important
of all, a positive, joyful delebration of sexuality, as opposed to the uptight morality of the previous generation. In mid-60s
America, television situation-comedy shows could only depict a married couple in twin-beds, and unmarried couples were not
allowed to be shown in bed at all. This was why the Hippies were so shocking to people, with their sex-orgies and acceptance
of homosexuality, in a generation where those things were kept behind closed doors, and not mentioned at all.
In this questioning of sex roles, the women's movement began. Hippies were known
for their treatment of women, calling them "chicks" or "old ladies" and expected to do all the chores, and look after
the children. But after the introduction of the contraceptive pill, women were given freedom of choice in sexual
partners for the first time. The loose sexuality morality gave rise to a questioning of all gender roles, including if
it was right for wmoen to do all the housework, the cooking and washing, while her husband listened to a rock band on his
headphones. Out of all this, the women's movement was born.
Another important aspect of the Hippie movement was the drugs, mainly marijuana,
LSD, and ecstasy. LSD, or Acid, was still legal at the beginning of the Hippie movement, and many Hippies and rock bands engaged
in it. Though it was legal, use was still kept a secret. Many Hippies took hit after hit of acid, going on a continual psychedlic
"trip". Marijuana use was illegal, though use of it was also high in America. Many Hippies could be seen smoking a joint
between each other anywhere they were, though it also was kept away from authorities, for obvious illegal reasons. in the
late sixties though, hardly anyone smoked pot anymore, and Speed, STP, and Heroine were overcoming Acid as the drugs of choice.
From all these aspects emerged one of the most influential countercultures
of our lifetime, the Hippie generation. Though it originated in the 60s, its influence is still seen in our society today.