Proclaimed “Hippie” Culture Today is Not Similar to the Sixties

We all know those people. The self-proclaimed hippies of today (or sometimes referred to as hipsters) that walk around in overpriced clothes from Urban Outfitters, listen to Sublime, and have some affiliation with weed. They claim to be hippies and channel their ancestors of the sixties and seventies but in reality they don’t know the first thing about what it meant to be a hippie fifty years ago.

In every decade you can see a rebel group that comes to fruition. There were the flappers, the beatniks, the punks, and the slackers. The rebels of these generations were more than the music they listened to or the clothes they wore. We think we know what hippies are because we’ve seen the pictures and watched the movies. Hollywood has preached to us all our lives just how cool the hippies were.

It’s easy to listen to the Beatles, wear round glasses, throw flowers in your hair at a rave and get tattoos of Sanskrit. What is not quite as easy to share is the ideology and the passion the hippies of the yesteryears had. Sixties hippies wanted to remove capitalism and an American political system they saw as authoritarian and unrepresentative.

It bothers me that these people channel the cool of the sixties but think it can be bought at a store. The same type of stores those hippies once fought against. Not only did hippies fight commercialism but they also fought an American government system that they did not believe in. Back then, hippies were protesting the Vietnam War and the draft that sent their brothers and neighbors off to fight and ruin their lives. It was a confusing time, and nothing in society today has the same sense of urgency.

In today’s day and age, we adopt causes the same way we adopt trends. For example, the ALS ice bucket challenge, it was cool for a week or two, but now it is over and no one remembers it anymore. The same can be said for Kony 2012. In this fast moving technological world, we tend to forget the meaning behind what it is to be passionate for a cause, rather than jumping on the latest bandwagon.

Hippies fought day in and day out against a cause they believed and wanted with all their hearts. They did not dress unconventionally for the times, and dance around the streets because they wanted people to think they were cool. They did it because they wanted to be heard.

I do not see any modern day hippies standing up or fighting for anything. They may talk about how they think weed should be legal, but that is hardly as pressing a matter as war. Some people try to compare the Iraq War and the Vietnam War. Although both take place in a time of uncertainty, hippies felt it was their duty to express their grievances by any means.

They wanted their voice to be heard; today posting a status on Facebook is supposed to be equivalent to the protests of the sixties. Well it’s not. Hiding behind a computer and expressing opinions does nothing.

Millennials are aware. We know our lives are watched and we know we are judged based on what people see. It is why so much of our life is not authentic. Millennials are constantly searching for validation from people and try to convince onlookers that their life is more authentic than the others.

Today’s “hippies” will post “cool” photo after “cool” photo; trying desperately to get the message across that their life is more eclectic and meaningful than the next person. By doing just that, however, the exact opposite happens.

The difference between this generation and the sixties’ hippies is that back in the day, these people were not concerned with the validation of outside source. Everything they did was for themselves or those that the war was negatively effecting. No like or comment was needed to tell them that what they were doing was unique and meaningful. The point is, they didn’t care if someone thought it was rad. If they truly believed in it, that was validating enough.

So who is the modern day hippie? I think it is the people who truly live their lives for them. You simply will not see a true hippie posting tons of pictures online, waiting for some sort of validation from other people as to whether or not they are accepted.

In a world that is telling us to conform and put our lives out there for everyone to see, a true hippie, in my opinion, will rebel against that. During a time that is filled with uncertainty, real hippies are sure of one aspect in life which is their happiness. Self fulfillment to these so-called hippies is all that really matters. At the end of the day, their identity definitely cannot be validated by a like, comment, or retweet.