Bridging the Generation Gap Between Teens in the ‘60s and Teens in the ‘90s
Throughout history many generations have been named after something that describes them in every way. The decade from 1960 to 1970 is definitely one of those eras and it became known as the Counter Culture Era (The Hippie Generation). It was known as the Counter Culture Era because the young people involved in it rejected the old-fashioned American values and lifestyles. The youth was no longer satisfied with being replicas of the generation that preceded them. Instead, young people longed for change. The changes affected lifestyles, values, laws, education, and entertainment. The dream of love, peace, happiness, and freedom was what many young Americans longed for. Although a few of the Counter Culture’s ideas still live on today, the ‘90s teen generation has adopted what the hippies started and evolved their ideas to match their needs. Though the generations represent two totally different aspects of American culture and history, their revolutions with sex, clothes, and music will serve as foundations for future generations to come.
As the years go by between generation and generation, one facet has remained a controversial topic, sex. The invention of the birth control pill allowed women in the ‘60s to feel a sense of sexual freedom and allowed them the opportunity to be with anyone they pleased. With this new found freedom, women and men were able to enjoy each others company and not have to worry about the risks of child birth as well as the spread of diseases. This helped the ‘60s to become known as the sexual revolution. In those times it was the thing to do, and with the newly added birth control pill, there was hardly any worry of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and babies. Whether it’s on TV shows, movies, or even music videos, sex has become commercialized in the ‘90s generation. Unlike the hippie generation, who only had access to the birth control pill, the ‘90s generation has access to tons of contraceptives for the prevention of childbirth and the spread of diseases. I feel that in regards to sex and sexual freedom, the ‘90s generation is just like the Hippies. In fact, the ‘90s generation has the Hippies to thank for paving the road for them to where it is now. Because without the ideas of the ‘60s, sex would not be on TV everyday, sex would not be in movies, and sex would definitely not be discussed as openly as it can be now.
To some Hippies, music was the most important aspect of their life. Hippies were notorious for there out of the ordinary music. Many Hippies were actually musicians themselves. Hippies used music as a way to get their thoughts and ideas out. One of the most influential musicians of the time was Bob Dylan. The lyrics of the song “Like Rolling Stone” express the thoughts of many Hippies. “Once upon a time you dressed so fine, threw the bums a dime, in your prime, didn’t you? You used to talk about everybody that was hanging out. But now you don’t talk so loud, and now you don’t look so proud
about having to be scrounging for your next meal…How does it feel, to be without a home, a complete unknown? With no direction home, just like a Rolling Stone…” Dylan’s lyrics expressed his personal thoughts to what was happening to him and what was happening around him. His simple but meaningful lyrics are what made him so popular and successful. Many Hippies considered Dylan as a spokesman for their beliefs. Two of the most significant singers of the sixties were Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, whom one of the New York Times critics labeled “the king and queen of gloriously self-expressive music”. Just as the Hippies had their musical icons, the ‘90s generation has musical icons such as: Wu-Tang Clan, N.W.A, Tupac, and The Notorious B.I.G. The only difference between these groups and the ones of the ‘60s is the type of music. The ‘60s was all about rock and roll, whereas the ‘90s is about hip-hop and rap. The two controversial types of music define the generations and represent them for what they stood for.
The way Hippies dressed was a distinctive characteristic of how they rejected traditional lifestyles. For the Hippie look, young Americans wore patched and torn blue jeans, funky dresses, beaded headbands, fringed jackets, ragged T-shirts, shirts made of scrap material, and mod boots or sandals. Some just went barefoot. The basis of the hippie wardrobe was faded and dusty bell-bottom jeans. Unlike the Hippies, the ‘90s generation enjoys fashion and does not wear clothing to go against traditional lifestyles. The teens in the ‘90s wear clothes that they think look good and feel comfortable. They really do care about how they look. Although the ‘90s teens will wear anything from Gap to Kenneth Cole, the tradition rejecting hippie style has started to make a come back among the youth. This goes to show that no matter how old or ugly the style, it will eventually resurface and become popular amongst the youth.
During the 1960’s a radical crowd called the hippies stunned America with their unusual lifestyle and radical beliefs. They were young people who enjoyed life and lived it to its fullest. They used illegal drugs and listened to rock and roll music. With their different beliefs and practices they bewildered America’s traditional middle class. Concerned primarily in protesting the Vietnam War and civil rights they made a huge impact on America and the world. Even today the effects of the Hippie movement are still felt. They made huge advantages and set examples for the youth of today for years to come.