The Hippies with the Long Hair


Why do they grow their hair long?

I was reading a book where the little boy asked his dad about the hippie's long hair.

My first thought- why wouldn't they?

But then I thought about how nearly all hippies have long hair and how almost all Rastafarians have dreads and how most gay people dress nicely. How we think tattooed people are tougher and how if girls wear leggings and tall boots, they are 'normal' (even though there may be no need for boots when they're wearing them).

A few years ago, my sociology teacher told me she knew her son was gay because he "liked pink and dress up" very early on. I had the gall to raise my hand and say 'what if kids just like the color pink and just like dressing up?' And she said that no, little gay boys observe how they can convey their gayness, and then they dress and play in a way that shows this to others.

I, on the other hand, just think children are really good at liking what they like (until someone tells them otherwise).

See, if a boy plays with trains, the parents say he is a 'real boy'. But trains- with the outer edges and the engine and the tracks they fall on - are no more masculine than the color pink, which shows in the sunset or in cotton candy. Pink- in itself- is not girly. But we've told people that represents femininity, so now it does.

Just as hippies have heard that long hair represents hippie-ness... so now they do it.

I'm glad children are uninhibited by most of these rules we set. Most kids get the pink and blue rule quite early and it makes me sad that liking the color of the clear sky can render a girl a tomboy. But until their teachers tell them that long hair represents laid-backness or that tucked in shirts represent formality, they don't know. Their precious exploration of what they like - outside of the messages we are told of representation- is pure and beautiful.

Now, I am beginning to hate our world. It's hard to tell what we like anymore. We think we like certain trends, but maybe we just like what they say about us. Maybe I don't like my Thai pants, but I like that they make me look more cultured. Maybe my slightly curled hair is an attempt to make me look normal and beautiful, just like crimped hair was the same attempt in the 80s. And I suppose people could look at these efforts, just as we look at theirs, with embarrassment.

Mainly I write this to ask,

How beautiful would it be if hippies all looked different? After all, being a hippie is probably more about beliefs. And yes, I know they want to be recognized as a hippie, so they wear loose tye-dye and those slip on shoes, but man, what if?

Because I don't believe we need to become clones of a movement to portray that we hold some of the same beliefs. It's as if we enjoy fitting into systems that confine us to hair styles and behaviors.

And worse off, we force children into roles they never decided on. We tell the girl who likes sports that she is a tomboy because of it... and then she plays into that role. While sports have no gender, we have told her that they do. Children that play Japanese (Chinese? Those Pokémon, yogioh) card games, we've told are nerds, and then perhaps they start wearing different things and doing better in school because they think they should live up to their reputations.

I mean to say that I wish people did what they liked more often and believed what they believe still. I suppose we'll never be able to tell these people- these individual minds- apart from others, but maybe it will look like a little bit of freedom. It'd be beautiful if we let men like clothes without telling them they are gay. Or theater! When did the interest of singing and dancing represent the desire to sleep with the same sex? Why does this correlate AS much as it does? David danced and played music in the Bible for crying out loud.

So, just like me and my sociology teacher spoke about- it's either one of the two:

-People pick the activities and interests in order to portray who they are.

-Or people pick the interests and activities that appeal to them and then people tell them who they are and they buy in.

Perhaps it's both and more of one for some and more of the other for others.

But for cases with children, i think we should protect them from the ways we want to shape them when they are purely expressing interest. Children have a unique ability to be free until others confine them and tell them they shouldn't or can't or dare not.

I want a world of free people... and I want to be more in the world , not of it, when I make decisions about my favorite color or my career or my clothes. I want to choose based on what I enjoy, not based on what it says about me. Because that system that has been set, was set by people (just like me) which means that people (just like me) also have the power to break it.