What is it about the term “hippie”? It seems to be such a derogatory statement, in so much that if you are a “hippie” you probably self label as “crunchy.”
I will be honest, I’m a bit crunchy, and grew up in a homesteading/hobby farm type environment. I wear my babies, ec, cloth diaper, exclusively breast feed for a year or more, make nearly everything we need myself, and if I could afford it I would buy everything fair trade, sustainable, and organic. I also enjoy art and culture, music, dance, and the theater. I love opera, and believe that if you are going to take part in that culture you should be dressed accordingly, I wear formal attire. I just bought my daughter a tablet, own a smartphone, shop at Target, and GASP eat fast food once a week. Some of the things I do make me more crunchy then others, and I don’t mind that, but it does make me wonder why some people label me “hippie” as if it’s a bad thing.
Here are my examples:
My father in-law was trying to find the words to describe me in a nice way, he really wasn’t trying to be hurtful, but he commented that my husband and I give our children “hippie dippy” type names, because I’m the “eccentric hippie type.” Most people don’t perceive our children’s name as that out of the ordinary, but because I am so very different from my in-laws I have at times been seen as uneducated, and for lack of a better term, a bit country bumpkin. Now I am not upset about this incident, my father in-law was not being mean spirited, and I didn’t take it that way. However, to my in-laws, who grew up during the “hippie era” but were not really hippies themselves, a girl who spins wool, names her children based on the deep meaning of the words and not just because I like them, and would prefer to have a garden over a lawn appears to be a hippie.
Another incident that comes to mind happened a few months ago. I was walking down the street wearing my toddler on my back and my baby on my front and my oldest was prancing about beside me. I was wearing cargo pants and a tank top, my oldest child was wearing a twirl skirt and woven top, comfortable clothing. A truck coming the opposite direction slowed down, rolled down his window, spit and called me a hippie and then drove off. I was perplexed,what did I do wrong? A few similar things have happened, wearing babies is not very popular here.
The last incident happened this weekend, I went to a fair trade clothing shop and found a fabulous pair of pants for my husband and they were only $10. They fit him well, and honestly he looks good in them, but he kept making jokes about his hippie pants. “I can fit in with the hippies now” and when I said “If only your parents could see you, they flipped over you not drinking soda, and now look fair trade pants!” he responded “We won’t tell them, they couldn’t deal with all the hippie.” My husband really likes the pants, but sometimes he gets caught up by the connotation it all brings. I asked him if there was a problem with the pants, and that it wasn’t like I was demanding he only wear fair trade bamboo blend balloon pants, these were straight legged nice looking pants. He assured me that it was simply the remnants of his preconceived notions about “hippie,” the left over fragments of prejudiced against something for no real reason other then the uneducated feelings of his social click.
What am I getting at with all this hippie talk?
Honestly I’m not entirely sure. A part of me wonders why it would be good or bad to be identified as hippie? Another part of me sees all this as symptoms of an even greater problem that has to do with upbringing and social class. Growing up I felt the term hippie was used to describe someone who was a drifter, one who mooched off the system, someone uneducated. It strikes me as odd that now I am often referred to as hippie, I am educated, middle class, and well spoken. I enjoy a lovely meal with perfect place settings and the proper wine to match the food just as much as I enjoy a bonfire and BBQ. Can’t we be well rounded individuals, blurring the lines of “social class” without being “uneducated”, “hippie”, or any other term? Can’t we live in the world without living in one singular “click” within the world? It is often said that the world has many things to offer, yet it appears that the costly things are too snooty and the small earthy things are too poor and trashy…maybe the whole thing is a bunch of bologna.