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Counterculture of the 1960s

Anti-establishment cultural phenomenon / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The counterculture of the 1960s was an anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that developed in the Western world starting in the mid-1960s, and continued until the early 1970s.[3] The effects of the movement have been ongoing to the present day.[4] The aggregate movement gained momentum as the civil rights movement in the United States had made significant progress, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and with the intensification of the Vietnam War that same year, it became revolutionary to some.[5][6][7] As the movement progressed, widespread social tensions also developed concerning other issues, and tended to flow along generational lines regarding respect for the individual, human sexuality, women's rights, traditional modes of authority, rights of non-white people, end of racial segregation, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, and differing interpretations of the American Dream. Many key movements related to these issues were born or advanced within the counterculture of the 1960s.[8]

As the era unfolded, what emerged were new cultural forms and a dynamic subculture that celebrated experimentation, individuality,[9] modern incarnations of Bohemianism, and the rise of the hippie and other alternative lifestyles. This embrace of experimentation is particularly notable in the works of popular musical acts such as the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan, as well as of New Hollywood, French New Wave, and Japanese New Wave filmmakers, whose works became far less restricted by censorship. Within and across many disciplines, many other creative artists, authors, and thinkers helped define the counterculture movement. Everyday fashion experienced a decline of the suit and especially of the wearing of hats; other changes included the normalisation of long hair worn down for women (as well as many men at the time),[10] the popularisation of traditional African, Indian and Middle Eastern styles of dress (including the wearing of natural hair for those of African descent), the invention and popularisation of the miniskirt which raised hemlines above the knees, as well as the development of distinguished, youth-led fashion subcultures. Styles based around jeans, for both men and women, became an important fashion movement that has continued up to the present day.

Several factors distinguished the counterculture of the 1960s from the anti-authoritarian movements of previous eras. The post-World War II baby boom[11][12] generated an unprecedented number of potentially disaffected youth as prospective participants in a rethinking of the direction of the United States and other democratic societies.[13] Post-war affluence allowed much of the counterculture generation to move beyond the provision of the material necessities of life that had preoccupied their Depression-era parents.[14] The era was also notable in that a significant portion of the array of behaviors and "causes" within the larger movement were quickly assimilated within mainstream society, particularly in the US, even though counterculture participants numbered in the clear minority within their respective national populations.[15][16]