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20 April 2014

Hippies, hipsters similar for right reasons

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Graduating seniors will soon face the uncertainty of the job market in the technological age.

History is cyclical, and this metamorphic era is reminiscent of another transitional period – the 1960s.

Elite Daily, a publication that caters to Generation Y, recently published an article that compares the aforementioned generation, also known as the Millennial Generation, to the hippies of the ‘60s.

The problem with Elite Daily’s analysis is that it glosses over many of the real similarities that connect these two eras.

Lauren Miller, who wrote the article, compares contemporary fashion trends to the hippie movement.

This assumption does not, however, take into account the social climate that ‘60s fashion trends attempted to protest.

Back then, hippies were protesting the Vietnam War and the draft that infiltrated the lives of 18-year-old American men. Certain modern concerns, though still pressing, lack that sense of urgency. In today’s society, we seem to adopt a cause the way we adopted flowy shirts and high-waisted pants: as a trend, rather than a true issue that needs to be addressed.

Hipsters, portrayed as reacting against mainstream society, have instead become the norm – and not for the right reasons. Clothing stores capitalize on this hipster look, and people adopt the ideology tied to being a hipster without understanding what they are protesting.

Unlike hipsters, hippies reacted against a conformist age. But, they lived in a time of uncertainty not too different from our own.

Today’s youth face a world of political, economic and social transition. We are on the cusp of another civil rights movement – only this time, it’s focused on gay rights and who has the right to marry.

Some people also acknowledge connections between the Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the former, hippies felt a duty to express their grievances by any means.

They had marches, while we’re engaging in virtual protests. They had grassroots, and we have Gawker.com.

Truthfully, Generation Y is far more concerned with an unpredictable economy, and the job hunt has become an overwhelming issue for the next round of post-graduates.

Yes, we millennials are like the hippies. But it’s more over our concerns of blossoming in an uncertain age than about still choosing to wear flower headbands.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.