The Woodstock arts and music festivals took place in the summer of 1969. This festival was overwhelmingly attended in that the organizers of this event had to take down the fences in order to allow for the huge number of people who were willing to attend. The main themes of the Woodstock festivals included unconventional sexual practices, freedom, music, different religions and alternative living arrangements. The sexual revolution played a big role in the Woodstock festivals. This concert played a significant role, in the American counterculture in the 60s. This music festival promoted the idea of using the pill and also the idea of free love.
In order to examine the effects caused by Woodstock music festivities in 1969, it is vital to tone that the American culture was highly restricted in terms of how sex was done, and the legitimacy of sex had always been in question. The Woodstock was seen by many people as the crowning moment of the many changes that had been made in the sixties. The many traditional ties that had been ingrained in the American culture were broken at these festivals. This festival legitimized the idea of free love, smoking of dope and the performance of many activities that according to government was illegal. This pitted the huge young population against the government.
A new generation had been epitomized that favored the new rock and roll music that was not popular with their parents. Most of the teens at the time confessed that they stopped wearing underwear’s after the festivities and began smoking dope and the use of the dropping acid.
The Woodstock and the sexual revolution changed the American culture in many aspects. Fashion of the American culture was heavily affected. The mode of dressing of many Americans changed drastically. For many young people at the time, the mode of dressing epitomized the change in culture. Clothes were no longer worn for the purpose of keeping warm and preventing one from being nude, clothes were seen as a personal statement of intent. The young people wore ‘outrageous’ clothes in order to have the attention of their peers. These outrageous clothes were made of silk, paisley and embroidered robes.
The main choice of the young people at the time was purple bell- bottoms and tops that had blooming flowers all over. The hats that the populations wore had feathers. This had not been seen prior to the 1960s. Apart from the ‘outrageous’ clothes, the Woodstock festivities brought the change in how the general population presented itself. The idea of the ‘natural look’ came into existence. Men and women loved the initiative to discard brassieres. Courtney (2012), argues that all the caution that the women had prior to this festivities in America had been thrown into the wind. The men loved the idea of women who dressed without brassieres. These festivities also became a turning point in the use of cosmetics. Most of the women opposed the idea of using makeup, and when interviewed, the women said that they liked the idea of being natural.
Research conducted showed that three quarters of women abandoned the use of makeup. This general natural physical appearance by the men and the women was seen as defiance towards the government and the parents and the proponents of these ideas were generally anti-establishment. Prior to the Woodstock, festivals, there had been events that had led the teens to see themselves as being victimized. According to Irvine (2004), one student had been arrested and charged on suspicion on disrupting fellow students in the class and violating the rules of education because he had a Beatle haircut. Two other boys were also arrested after they got into a fight because of the difference in their hairdos. In an act of defiance, a student staged a hunger strike to protest being disallowed to have his meals in the students’ cafeteria because of his refusal to cut his hair and to maintain an afro.
Hair in the 1960s had a major significance in the population. People with short hair were seen as dull. In fact women preferred men with long hair. Men also grew mustaches and beards. This led to stereotyping by the police who viewed the people with long hair, uncut beards and mustaches as political activists or drug users. In many instances, the police just made the assumption that individuals with those characteristics were trouble makers. The American culture was also changed by the Woodstock festivals in that the middle class kids from the white families started emulating the black culture. These middle class kids began enacting rituals and attending jazz music concerts that were synonymous with the black culture. The white kids also used long hairs and outrageous clothing designs so as to alienate them from the general society. The white kid also began using drugs as a show of defiance and became outlaws.
The sexual revolution also represented a huge change in the American culture. Many families that had been morally upright were destroyed. Though many proponents who supported the revolution of free love found it justifiable, the free love had a negative impact on the American culture. The results of the free love were devastating to the American culture. Many homeless children were born. The society had to condone with the massive welfares for the illegitimate children that were born as a result of the free love. Outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases affected the general population and in some cases it led to deaths. Lots of fatherless children were born, and this led to the high rates of divorce in families. The security of the children in terms of education was no longer guaranteed in the American culture as was the norm prior to the sexual revolution. The breakdown in the families enabled the children to involve themselves in vices such as teen pornography and prostitution.
It is in the Woodstock concert that lasted for three days that public orgies were performed for the first time in America. According to Kelly (2012), the vice of homosexuality was also evident where many gay people came out openly and changed the way in which people viewed sex in the American culture. The change was proposed as the people attending the concert believed in the right of free sexual choice and the idea that an individual does not have to hide his or her sexual orientation. Woodstock thus catapulted the lifestyles of the hippie movement into the society and the idea of free love. It is important to note that the concert held was peaceful epitomizing the peaceful nature of the hippie movement and the promotion of what one prefers.
Irvine, J. M. (2004). Talk about sex: The battles over sex education in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Courtney, V. (2012). Your girl: raising a godly daughter in an ungodly world. Nashville, Tenn: B & H Books.
Kelly, G. F. (2012). America's sexual transformation: How the sexual revolution's legacy is shaping our society, our youth, and our future. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.