Women Hippies

June 16, 2009
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In 1969, over 500,000 people, mainly hippies gathered in New York for one of the greatest concerts ever to occur in the world- Woodstock. For three days these people sang music and spread peace and love. Many people disagreed with this massive event, and one man even said, “Do you want a fifteen year old girl sleeping on a field in a tent? They’re all high on pot. It never should have happened.”

This mans reaction to Woodstock showed a common misconception about hippies. Originally appearing in the 1960’s, hippie is a term used to describe the youth counterculture that embraced peace, love, and happiness. Hippies were mainly white youth from the middle class who went against the norms of society. The word hippie is derived from the word “hipster”, which was used to describe beatniks of the fifties as hip or up-to-date. Many people looked past all of the good qualities of a hippie and just saw a dirty, smelly druggie. President Ronald Regan even said “Hippies dress like Tarzan, have hair like Jane, and smell like Cheetah.”

These false impressions of hippies were a shame because hippies, especially woman hippies, immensely impacted society and still have an impact on today’s society. Woman hippies helped advance the woman’s rights movement greatly and changed fashion forever.

In efforts to accept all, hippies began questioning sex roles, which evolved to the beginning of the women’s rights movement. Barry Miles said, “Hippies were notorious in their treatment of women, who were regarded as chicks or old ladies.” They questioned whether it was right for the woman to do all of the housework.

On September 7, 1968 thousands of people were gathered in Atlantic City for the Miss America Pageant, broadcasted live to millions more people. During the show, about twenty women started chanting “Freedom for women,” and soon the rest of the crowd joined in. A huge banner was hung that read “Women’s Liberation.” This event was known as the start of the women’s rights movement, which was directed mainly by women hippies.

The hippie’s also brought new clothing styles. The attitude of the hippies was that one could wear whatever one wanted, or even nothing at all. However, there were definitely particular styles that distinguished the hippie look. Women hippies started to wear flowing dresses and skirts, men’s clothing, hand-strung beads, flowers, tie-dye, and no shoes. Women hippies brought the idea of individuality in fashion into America. Many currently famous designers are influenced by the styles of women hippies. Chanel featured a hippie look on the Spring 2008 runway, highlighting flowing dresses and bands around foreheads. Barney’s winter catalogue presented many new hippie looks and read “Barney’s New York wishes you a Happy Hippy Holiday”.

Above all, hippies were themselves. They did not try to fit stereotypes and stuck to their beliefs. Hippies wanted peace for everyone, and they greatly advanced the women’s rights movement. Also with their unique style, women hippies impacted the fashion world forever. The most important lesson taught by hippies, however, was to be yourself no matter what.





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