Hippies (singular hippie or sometimes hippy) were members of the 1960s counterculture movement who adopted a communal or nomadic lifestyle, renounced corporate nationalism and the Vietnam War, embraced aspects of Buddhism or Native American religious culture, and were otherwise at odds with traditional middle-class Western values. They saw paternalistic government, corporate industry, and traditional social mores as part of a unified Establishment that had no authentic legitimacy.
The term derived from hipster which referred to white people in the US who were 'hip' or became involved with Black culture, e.g. Harry "The Hipster" Gibson. September 6, 1965, marked the first San Francisco newspaper story, by Michael Fellon, that used the word 'hippie' to refer to the younger bohemians (as opposed to the older Beat Generation). The name did not catch on with the establishment press until almost two years later. (Cf. Haight-Ashbury timeline).
The hippie movement was at its height in the late 1960s. The July 7, 1967 issue of Time magazine had for its cover story: 'The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture.'
The touristic influx that accompanied the highly-publicized San Francisco Summer of love did nothing to intensify counterculture. By the end of 1968 the real "hippie" movement was dispersed. The last publication of the Diggers was the anthology of street news, manifestoes and articles titled The Digger Papers, that came out in August 1968. Co-published as an edition of The Realist, the Diggers distributed 40,000 free copies.
By 1970 a lot of the style had passed into mainstream culture, but little of the substance. The mainstream press lost interest in the hippie subculture as such, though many hippies made and continue to maintain a long-term commitment to their subculture. Because the hippies have tended to avoid publicity since the Summer of Love/Woodstock era, a popular myth has arisen that hippies no longer exist. Even this article sometimes refers to the hippie subculture as if it had been limited to the 1960s.
Other traits associated with Hippies include:
- Clothes having bright colors, or certain unusual styles (such as bell-bottom pants and tie-dyed shirts)
- Listening to certain styles of music (the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, etc.)
- Performing music casually, in friends' homes, or for free at outdoor fairs such as San Francisco's legendary "Human Be-In" of January 1967 and Woodstock (a famous gathering attended mostly by hippies)
- Free love (see also: Sexual revolution)
- Communal living
- Using recreational drugs (particularly marijuana, hashish, LSD, and Psilocybin). Marijuana was prized as much for its iconoclastic, illicit nature as for its psychopharmaceutical effect.
The term is sometimes also associated with participation in peace movements, including peace marches such as the USA marches on Washington and civil rights marches. However, hippies were normally not antiwar protesters, since they were traditionally apolitical, preferring to drop out from society rather than change it. Philosophically, hippie thought drew upon the earlier Beat Generation.
Often, the term "hippie" is loosely used with the pejorative connotation that the subject participates in recreational drug use (at least to the extent of using marijuana) and does not think or care much about work, responsibility, or personal hygiene.