Monday, May 20, 2013

What it means to be a Hippie

What does it mean to be a hippie these days? I get a lot of mixed responses when I tell people that I am a hippie. From "you do drugs?" to "I thought hippies don't wear bras?" and everywhere in between. Even had someone tell me "Christians can't be hippies!"
So, I want to talk about what being a hippie means in 2013. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this, and I want to set the record straight.
Being a hippie does not mean the same thing as it did in 1962. Arguably, a person who does drugs may live a hippie lifestyle, but doing drugs is not one of the qualifications to being a hippie. (I think druggies are called a "stoners" now, or "smack heads" or, as I like to call them "idiots". Note: I don't do drugs, and I never have. Not my thing.)

So what is a hippie? From my perspective, a hippie identifies with three or more categories on the following list:
  • Affinity for dressing in a bohemian manner. Might wear only organic clothes.
  • Choosing to eat a diet of organic foods, or mostly organic. Can be dairy free, gluten free, vegan or vegetarian, or just consume naturally grown food only.
  • Makes tactful decisions about how they use resources. Tries to buy products that can be recycled and make Earth-friendly decisions about their waste.
  • Usually wears organic makeup, free of chemicals, or does not wear makeup at all. Same for hair. Does not use chemical dyes.  
  • Likes to go barefoot.
  • Loves nature. Truly loves nature. Not the I-don't-want-to-get-muddy or dirty or I-only-like-cultivated-nature--but just nature. Respects that nature can be dangerous, but beautiful.  I'm not talking about socialists, I'm talking about a respect for nature that realizes we can't live without it, and understands that its okay cut down trees sometimes, and to plant them in other times. Nature and mans interaction with it is like a seesaw--there is a balance. This can be a hot topic, because everyone has a really strong view on it. Especially hippies. 
  • Love to grow their own food. 
  • Usually listens to bluegrass or folk music.  
  • Accepts others for who they are. Can be friends with people of different ideals, different backgrounds.
  • Usually home schools.
  • Loves to DIY. Makes their own clothes, diapers, toys, carpets...likes to dabble in making anything.  
  • Is very charitable through their lifestyle. Does not see the attainment of possessions as a life goal.
If you only identify with one of the above, you are something different. If you dress only in hippie clothes, you are a bohemian. If you only eat organic food, you are a Foodie. If you always recycle, you are an environmentalist, and so forth.

Last but not least, a hippie is not to be confused with a hipster. A hipster wears skinny jeans, has an iphone, usually is up to date on all the latest technologies (where a hippie likes to "take it back to the source") A hipster usually listens to indie rock, and wears thick glasses. They can be termed an "Urban bohemian" of sorts.

For example, a hipster right now would probably wear geometric earrings, skinny jeans, a hat, sneakers, and a peter pan collared shirt. They would have an iphone with a matching geometric cover and would go to a coffee shop and discuss the meaning of life with friends and strangers while simultaneously updating their facebook status and tagging their location on foursquare.

A hippie on the other hand, would probably wear a flowing skirt with a lace top, have their long hair down their back, and would go to a coffee shop and read a book, knit, and smile across the room at someone. I've found hippies to be less outgoing, more introverted then hipsters. Many are not as prevalent users of facebook and other social media devices. 
Hippies sometimes wear tie dye?
Anyway, the lines can be blurred a little from person to person. These aren't strict guidelines, but more of a loose definition of what is to call yourself a hippie in 2013. Feel free to let me know if I missed anything, or if you have any thoughts on the subject!

A blog I read regularly, ModaMama, also talks about what it means to be a hippie mom here :)


Rachel said...

I can definitely see that you are a hippie. I think the reason people might not understand your interpretation of the term is because "hippie" has often been used to describe people who don't respect the country's laws in some form or another.

I've yet to figure out what category of person I could possibly be characterized as....

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

i don't know what i would be categorized as either. i own skinny jeans and wear thick glasses (but i need them.) i don't have an iphone though. i think i'm :) but i do go more towards the boho style.

Kristin said...

I've never thought of myself as a hippie, but going by your list, apparently I am! :) You know, lately I have been realizing that I'm becoming more and more of...I guess the way I was phrasing it in my mind was "a nature/granola person." Ha. Maybe hippie *is* the best word for it.

Let's see...I mostly eat natural foods grown/raised on our farm, my family recycles, I'm trying not to buy new store-bought clothes because of the awful overseas factory conditions for most of the workers, I don't wear makeup and try to use only natural beauty products, I'm learning how to grow things, I listen to bluegrass/folk music, I love to make things, and I was homeschooled (and will homeschool my future kids someday). I guess the most un-hippie thing about me is the way I dress (but I don't dress like a hipster, either).

Sabrina said...

according to your list, i still got it.

hippie-ness, that is. :)

Frances said...

Well I love to go barefoot, hate makeup and like to buy my clothes at the thrift store. I also was home schooled and plan on the same for my future children. I enjoy nature---except maybe ticks! I guess I have "hippie" tendencies. Honestly I think I do not fit in any "box" and I actually dislike labels.
But very insightful post!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the shout out! I really appreciate it. And I can't tell you how much it means to me that you read my blog. Warms my heart.

Go Hippies!!!!


Unknown said...

Well I've never self-proclaimed to being one, but according to your list, I'm the biggest hippie around! The only one that doesn't fit; I was not home schooled. If I decide to have children, I'd like to think I would home school them, though.

xx Emorie @ohwhimsicalme

katie terry said...

I'm sure your intent is benign, but it is inappropriate & patronizing to assert for someone else what their identity ought to be. Sure, maybe it seems like no big deal when it's a "superficial" identity, like hippie or hipster or techie, but do you see the issue if you were to tell someone they're not really Latino because they speak English, or that they're not really feminist because they wear lipstick and lingerie, or that they're not a real man because they appreciate fine art? Identity needs to arise from within the group represented, anything else tends to be patronizing -- look at nearly every major culture clash in history, and you find one group saying to another "We get to define what you are, and what you aren't, and you're not as good as us." You can describe yourself and those you know who hold a similar perspective on their identity, but you *cannot* tell someone else that their identity is wrong, because that invalidates their experience, and that is not your place.

I think most people would agree with many of the characteristics of hippies that you've listed -- but also, living in Berkeley (a mecca of hippies both original and modern if there ever was one!), I see many differences: smoking weed is a thing (not so much other drugs, though), musical tastes tend to be much broader (more world, rave, and experimental), and there's a *huge* social justice movement -- which also involves specifically not homeschooling. I don't consider myself a hippie, though, so these are observations of cultural trends rather than definitions.

I *do* consider myself a foodie, and would propose that eating organic is an odd way to characterize. At least in those I know with similar perspectives, it's more about getting enjoyment & an adrenaline rush from really, really quality things, whether at the farmers' market or high-brow restaurants or foraged off public land or discovered in tiny mom-and-pop cafes. Having an environmental conscience and promoting locavore consumption are not uncommon attributes, but I think too narrow on their own to adequately define a subculture.

katie terry said...

Sorry, this was me. When did you start using Disqus? Wasn't it always Blogger log-ins before? I got confused...

AL said...

Thank you for pointing this out! I was about to, but then I saw your comment. One person cannot define "Hippie." Just be who you are!