United States

The Impact of Counterculture

Counter culture has been a big idea since the 1960s that is still present now. Being apart of our young society, it is important to discuss this topic as it has had a big impact on our lives today. Without this massive revolution that took place involving the unjust issues of the 1960s, many people would not have the rights that they do today. The youth of the 60s brought on new ideas through counterculture that would bring us to a more free less repressed society.

Since the counterculture revolution of America the trend of popular culture has been changing and influencing our young society. The strong influences of these changes still remain to be media and music. One if the main topics of this era that came along with this revolution was the protest of the Vietnam war, and going against the idea of conformity to the conservative ideas of society. A song by Phil Ochs reflects the feelings people had during this time, with lyrics like; “The young land started growing, The young blood started flowing, But I ain’t marching anymore”, representing the begging of a revolution by the people.

Without the counterculture movement, many groups like women and the LGBT community would not have the rights they do today. The 1960s was a time when it was uncommon for girls to play sports and when women were not considered equal to men. They did not have the same job opportunities or social standing as men did. Now, women are able to obtain high position jobs, make a stable income and support themselves. There were also many songs coming out at this time with a message to empower women. This idea was a huge deal because giving women power went against all aspects of this society and the basic family dynamic. “And don’t tell me what to do. Don’t tell me what to say. And please, when I go out with you, don’t put me on display”, are lyrics from the song  “You Don’t Own Me”, by Lesley Gore. This song is another example of how music was used to spread countercultural ideas and a way for people to be heard.

As for the Lgbt community, their fight for their rights has come a long way too and the message continues to expand. Although there is earlier history of the homosexuality starting to surface the civil rights movement for the LGBT community really took off in the 1960’s. During an era when everyone was concerned with the uprising of communists and the need for conformity was at its highest, sexuality became a huge issue. In 1953, an executive order was passed banning homosexuals from the federal government due to the overwhelming fear of nonconformists posing risks to the system. Although the goal was to exclude this minority group all together, it ended up creating discussion among citizens to rise up against these restrictions. For the first time homosexuals started forming communities that were becoming increasingly powerful. The first success among this group was in 1961 when Illinois became the first state to decriminalize homosexuality. Later on in 1969, was the big event when a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn was raided by police in New York. This incident pushed tension levels over the edge, leading to a rebellious break out. Protesting took place over six days and became famously known as the Stonewall Riots. This had a major impact on society and is one of the prime examples of how counterculture sparked some of the most important ideas and aspects of the world we live in today. The Stonewall Riots changed history forever as push towards LGBT civil rights, and is considered the beginning of the gay pride movement.

The 1960s were such an important time in history for many people as it has rewritten rules and shaped our society into what it is today. Its impact is everlasting in so many things that we see and are able to experience now.

People should be more open of this idea of counterculture and acceptance. Rebellion against unfair treatment and judgement has become the way of Americans, in standing up for what is right. Our outspoken communities rooting from the 60s era has created an outlet for so many people to openly express themselves, and be able to create a more free social environment in our world. Although our society today has improved so much from what it was 60 years ago there are still many people that need to be more open minded. Discrimination and of minority groups is still present today. Which is why people should pay attention to this movement and the history of it to continue the efforts of becoming a more accepting and equal society.

Article by Nina Ecaterinis

Works Cited

“Phil Ochs – I Ain’t Marching Anymore.” Genius, 1 Jan. 1965, genius.com/Phil-ochs-i-aint-marching-anymore-lyrics.

Bologna, Caroline. “17 Feminist Songs That Were Ahead Of Their Time.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 5 Dec. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/17-feminist-songs-that-were-ahead-of-their-time_us_56fc6b46e4b0daf53aeeaf5a.

GBMNews, 21 Dec. 2014, gbmnews.com/wp/archives/8638.

“Gay Liberation Movement – 60s E Period 2012.” Google Sites, sites.google.com/a/peddie.org/60s-e-period-2012/fighting-for-our-rights/the-sexual-revolution/gay-liberation-movement-1.

Study.com, Study.com, study.com/academy/lesson/lgbt-civil-rights-movements-in-the-1960s-1970s.html.

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