With Flowers in Their Hair?:
Remembering Countercultural Masculinity

In the sixties . . . [hippie] men weren't supposed to look "buff"; they looked scrawny and poetic.
—Eve Babitz

Braves, White Knights, and Outlaws at the Human Be-In

1Early one warm Saturday morning in January 1967, people strolling near the polo field in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park might have been roused from their reverie by the sight of two shaggy, bearded men in white clothing walking slowly in a clockwise direction around the field. Or perhaps not. After all, the Haight-Ashbury district lay just beyond the park's eastern boundaries, and, with all the strange goings-on in that part of town over the past eighteen months, perhaps the sight of unkempt men chanting in strange languages and occasionally sounding cymbals and bells was no longer arresting. If passers-by paid little notice that morning, stories in the next day's newspapers would have informed them that a Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In had taken place the previous afternoon, with thousands of hippies in attendance. Earlier that morning, the perambulating, chanting pair, Beat poets Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg, had performed pradakshina, a Hindu ritual of purification, in preparation for the event.1

2thumbMany of the "tribes" who gathered at the Be-In that day were much younger than Ginsberg, Snyder, and other Beat luminaries who occupied a small stage at the center of the field. The Be-In had been organized by Allen Cohen, publisher of the psychedelic San Francisco Oracle; his close associate and self-styled "Psychedelic Ranger," Michael Bowen; and Richard Alpert, colleague of Harvard-researcher-turned-LSD-guru Timothy Leary. They hoped that the gathering would reduce mistrust between two populations who frequently disagreed on the proper means and ends to social change. In order that the politicos of Berkeley might mingle with the hippies of the Haight-Ashbury, they scheduled a speech by Jerry Rubin, as well as appearances by Leary and a number of acid-rock bands.2

3It seems, in hindsight, that the Be-In did little to bridge the gulf between hippies and Berkeley radicals. But it is certain that many thousands more attended the event than the organizers had anticipated. The balky and underpowered public-address system proved entirely inadequate to make the luminaries' speeches a consistent focus of the gathering. Instead, the hip residents of "Psychedelphia" (or the Hashbury, or the New Community, as some called the burgeoning hippie enclave in the Haight-Ashbury district) reveled in their own numbers, basked in the unseasonably warm sun, and struck up conversations with psychedelically attired fellow "freaks." Some declared their bohemian affiliation through bright costuming and the carrying of eye-catching objects. They dotted the crowd with colorful cloaks, flags, capes, embroidery, and feathers, and perfumed the air with incense—and, of course, with the "sacred herb." The legendary Augustus Owsley Stanley had produced a particularly potent batch of LSD in anticipation of the occasion, and samples made their way through the crowd.3

4Steve Levine's account of the event for the Oracle offers us a glimpse of gender distinctions among the hippie pilgrims. He recorded the presence of "bare foot girls in priest's cloaks, madras saris, and corduroy," whose ethereal femininity contrasted sharply with the dynamic, manly demeanor of the shirtless "braves" at their side. One of the latter neutralized the fulminations of a fundamentalist preacher by means of a "baptis[m] in bubbles"—a renunciation of forceful confrontation, consonant with what Levine held to be the most admirable characteristics of the Noble Savage who had once roamed freely on the North American continent. Levine declared that the Be-In's spirit of transcendent love and harmony promised national redemption, as the great-grandsons of the white men who had slaughtered the buffalo of the Plains now seemed to be retracing their steps, this time admiring the Indian way of life rather than undermining it.4

5It is partly because of writing such as Levine's that we now tend to remember hippies as long-haired, flower-bedecked pacifists who sought spiritual ecstasy—or just plain fun—through drug experiences and the formation of communities in which human relationships mattered more than material possessions. Moreover, we may recall hippies as seekers of the forgotten knowledge of preindustrial peoples who had lived in harmony with Nature.5 In this perspective, hippies were—and, for many today, still are—the "gentle people with flowers in their hair" lauded in a song that became popular not long after the Be-In took place.6 Yet the stereotype of the Flower Child embodied only one dimension of the mass-mediated image of the hippie. Belief that the counterculture was populated by thousands of menacing drug fiends struck terror into the hearts of many parents as their children traversed the new hip bohemia. Less dramatically, the scruffy, hedonistic, and purportedly shiftless longhair also became a stock figure in American media, and still persists alongside the Flower Child and the Drug Fiend in American popular memory.

6I hope to problematize these popular images of the counterculture in order to tell a much more nuanced story about hippies, the 1960s, and American manhood in the late twentieth century. If, as Nancy Cott suggests, historians "influence the future by naming the past," then I hope that a more complex account will ground our choices about the American future in a critical awareness of the assumptions we make about the 1960s counterculture.7 A first step toward such an account is to examine, briefly, some of the ongoing conflicts among hip men present at the Be-In, which Levine either did not notice or chose to elide. This brief sketch will serve to frame the subject of this book's investigation.

7One of those who attended that day was Stephen Gaskin, who until shortly before had been an instructor at San Francisco State College. Years later, he recalled that day vividly, saying that as he approached the polo field the concentration of psychic energy there quite literally made his knees buckle; it took some time for him to steady himself and join the gathering.8 Gaskin had become deeply involved in the LSD subculture in 1965. "Acid," as it was commonly called, was a powerful, experimental drug; neither scientists nor the religious and civic authorities of the mid-twentieth century United States could have offered its youthful devotees much guidance on how to interpret the intense hallucinations it induced, even if they had wanted to. In any event, most "freaks" moved beyond scientific interpretations of the drug's effects to improvise their own ontologies, epistemologies, and phenomenologies of LSD.9 These proliferated on a new, Wild-West frontier of psychic experimentation.

8Gaskin, for his part, became convinced that this drug, and other hallucinogenics, gave users access to a metaphysical dimension of reality, the so-called astral plane. In this realm, "acid heads" gained direct experience of the Infinite that, heretofore, had been available only to those willing to travel the long, difficult path of the yogi or the Buddhist monk. On the astral plane, one could learn the true nature of a universe that operated on divine principles; in this realm of pure energy, one could perform feats that, from the limited perspective of the material plane, seemed magical. But Gaskin had also observed, during his time in the Haight, that the unscrupulous often abused this power and knowledge. Amid the crowd on the polo field that day, he encountered a young woman whose psyche lay wide open due to a heavy dose of LSD. Before her stood a man making hypnotic gestures with a stick of incense. To Gaskin, it seemed that the man was trying to rob the woman of her free will. He says that he stepped forward to offer assistance; she agreed to be rescued. In the coming years, Gaskin became an increasingly visible advocate of the ethical use of the power of the astral plane. He later told his followers, "I was minding my own business on Haight Street, quietly trying to blow my mind," but "superstitious and . . . destructive" tendencies there had made silence impossible. He became a self-described preacher of ethical spirituality, in opposition to those whom he called the "black magicians" of LSD.10

9In Gaskin's story, one psychedelic "brave" waved incense with sinister intent and the white knight, Gaskin, interceded, whereas Levine's bare-chested warrior might have seen fit simply to blow bubbles. By intervening, Gaskin rejected the presumption implicit in Levine's account, that the individual's public manifestation of faith in the ultimately benign character of the universe was sufficient, of itself, to bring about change in a violent, industrialized, and secular world. Instead, a deep conviction—that faith could only become manifest in good works—motivated his chivalrous rescue. As we will see in part 2 of this book, in an effort to return the human race to the path of spiritual evolution, Gaskin prescribed sweeping changes in men's character and behavior. The chivalrous, "tantric" manhood ideal that he and his followers developed—first in the Haight-Ashbury, and then at The Farm, a commune in Tennessee—was far too richly idiosyncratic to be fully encapsulated in the mass-mediated image of the Flower Child. But some of the features preserved in that image—the pacifistic renunciation of redemptive violence as a manly birthright, and the reverence for Nature as an abundant, fertile provider—characterized Gaskin and his followers far better than they did certain other hippies present at the Be-In.11

10"Flower power" did not even begin to capture the outlook of the group known as the Diggers, for example. They offered a highly principled resistance to what they regarded as the illegitimate authority of all hierarchical institutions grounded in the ownership of private property. Anarchists in all but name, they set up tables on the polo field to distribute thousands of sandwiches they had made from turkeys donated by the acid chemist, Owsley Stanley. The Diggers had seemingly burst upon the scene in the Haight-Ashbury the previous September, distributing provocative handbills, staging colorful street theater, and giving away food in Golden Gate Park in the afternoons. Their free food was not an act of charity to the destitute, but a declaration that, if private property cohered in the illegitimate hoarding of resources, then the food that they scrounged (and, sometimes, stole) already belonged to whomever would join them in partaking of it. "It's free," one of their handbills declared, "because it's yours."12

11Like many hippies in the Haight-Ashbury,13 the Diggers were artists: most of their number had left the San Francisco Mime Troupe after a dispute with its founder and director, R. G. Davis, over how best to transform theater into a vehicle for political subversion. The Diggers had coalesced, in part, around Mime Trouper Peter Berg's concept of the "life-actor": the revolutionary artist who rejected the stage as a venue for subversive artistry because it separated actor from audience. That separation, said Berg, rendered audiences passive, since as nonparticipants, they could compartmentalize even the most subversive theatrical message as merely a performance, requiring no action on their part beyond appreciation of the actors' talents. Furthermore, the stage encouraged actors' complicity in the notion that the bearers of high culture stood in superior relation to those who merely watched and applauded. The artist who wished to make revolution, Berg argued, should first engage in a self-imposed, systematic derepression by seeking out "hard kicks"—extreme experiences that would reveal the authentic self that lay buried beneath layers of deference to authority. Then, the life-actor should create from that authentic self a heroic persona and manifest it in guerrilla theater staged in everyday situations, drawing passers-by into a living, breathing alternative to "respectable" life choices. The Diggers took to the streets of the Haight-Ashbury with the faith that a revolutionary transformation of individual consciousness could undermine the illegitimate American society. When enough people chose freedom, the status quo would simply collapse for lack of support.14

12The Diggers were reluctant participants in the Be-In. The elevation of dignitaries on a stage clashed with their revolutionary praxis. Furthermore, as mordant critics of the New Left's efforts to lead the masses, they saw the invitation extended to Jerry Rubin as the aggrandizement of a flawed strategy. But perhaps most vexing for the Diggers was the legitimacy that the event conferred on its organizers. Cohen's psychedelic newspaper, the Oracle, was one constituent of the Haight Independent Proprietors (HIP), a group of merchants and artisans whose shops sold crafts, drug paraphernalia, books, posters, and recorded music to the New Community—and to anyone else who wished to buy. From the merchants' perspective, sale of these articles not only provided a livelihood, but also spread consciousness of a nonconfrontational "third way" toward human brotherhood, involving neither silent acquiescence to oppressive behavior, nor the use of force against it; hence their preference for blowing bubbles rather than active intervention. The Be-In served the same purpose: Cohen and his confreres believed that the more peaceful and nonthreatening such mass gatherings were, the more readily would Americans embrace the possibility of social change accomplished through love and transcendence. But for the Diggers, the merchants' sales of accoutrements represented nothing less than the commercialization and co-optation of the New Community.15

13The Diggers had done what they could to derail plans for the Be-In. They had met with Snyder and Ginsberg, hoping to convince them that augmenting the legitimacy of HIP would result in less social change, not more. Failing there, they decided that distributing food at such a well-attended function would serve their interests better than would a boycott. Yet they could not resist the urge to make a public statement of their opposition. In concert with some members of the Mime Troupe, the Diggers entered Golden Gate Park the night before the Be-In to assemble a "sculpture" consisting of chain-link fencing draped with animal entrails: a symbolic representation of the destructiveness of the then-raging Vietnam war. Unfortunately for the saboteurs, they chose the wrong site for their sculpture, erecting it on a nearby rugby pitch, not on the polo field. Still, the monument did cause a stir; the next day, rumors circulated in the Haight that Satanists had attempted to hex the gathering.16

14If Levine and his fellows admired the man who responded to provocation by placidly blowing soap bubbles, and if Gaskin modeled a pacifistic but chivalrous and proactive masculinity as the best way to make metaphysical faith manifest, the Diggers valorized the manliness of the principled outlaw, who, if circumstances required, would fight for his freedom and dignity. Months later, they circulated a handbill declaring that "an armed man is a free man." A year after the Be-In, they produced an icon of the masculine outlaw in a poster designed by Berg and graphic artist Mike McKibbon. Starting with a turn-of-the century photograph of two Chinese tong members lounging on a street corner, they rendered the dark-clad men's features, and the street corner they occupied, in minimal detail. Above the figures, they emblazoned Chinese ideographs for "revolution." At the bottom of the page, they inscribed the motto of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang: "1% Free." That same year, one of their number argued that "flower power smothers."17

15Our brief examination of events surrounding the Human Be-In locates some of the sharp conflicts that beset the San Francisco counterculture even as it gained national notoriety. Given those divisions, it is not surprising that there never existed a common male sex role—no generic "hippie manhood" to which all countercultural men subscribed. Instead, the various kinds of countercultural masculinity formed a continuum of perspectives and practices. All of the continuum's nodes deserve scholarly investigation. Here, I can hope to do justice to only two: in part 1, the "outlaw" masculinity of the Diggers, and in part 2, the "tantric," chivalrous, mystically inflected manhood ideal of Gaskin and his followers. I caution readers that the conclusions I reach in the following pages are merely a first word on hip masculinity, not the last, because these two forms fell at opposite extremes of the continuum. Thus, although my conclusions may help scholars tell the stories of other forms of hip masculinity, they do not necessarily apply beyond these two groups. Before we can make broader generalizations about countercultural manhood, much more research remains to be completed.

16Why study these particular groups, and not others? My choice was shaped in part by practical considerations. The Diggers, and the self-styled Farmies who eventually accompanied Gaskin to Tennessee, left more substantial bodies of documentary evidence than did most other hippies. That evidence includes not only hundreds of Digger handbills, but also more than a dozen published works: collective biographies, memoirs, handbooks on communal living, manuals on midwifery, and spiritual teachings. Furthermore, given the difficulty of demarcating the counterculture from the rest of American society, it seemed wise to begin the study of hip manhood with groups regarded by their peers as exemplars of commitment. The boldness of the Farmies and the Diggers (the latter renamed themselves the Free City Collective, then the Free Families) stirred controversy within the counterculture. At times, both became targets of heated criticism, and even denunciation, by other hippies. Nevertheless, their dedication and perseverance made it difficult for rivals to question their commitment, and this made them strong candidates for study, even as it also made them, in a sense, atypical among counterculturalists. This is not a study of the "typical" hippie man—if such a figure ever existed.

17The sharply, almost diametrically opposed approaches to manhood enacted by these exemplary groups prove relatively easy to describe, but explaining why and how they emerged requires a careful sifting of the evidence. In order to understand the counterculture's shaping of new forms of masculinity, we must recall the historical context within which hippies tried to create an alternative culture, beginning with a consideration of the mid-twentieth-century climate of opinion regarding social relations between the sexes.


Setting Hip Manhood in Historical Context

Hippies and the Postwar "Crisis of Masculinity"

18I did not realize until this project was well underway how fortunate I was to have chosen two groups that exemplified such sharply opposed approaches to countercultural change. The Diggers' anarchist approach and the Farmies' mystical propensities threw the strengths and limitations of each into mutual relief. Both groups generated powerful ideas from which other groups borrowed eclectically. Furthermore, the existence of these contrasting forms of praxis helped me to place the 1960s counterculture within the history of American cultural radicalism. Laurence Veysey argues that for two centuries, anarchism and mysticism have constituted the cardinal directions of American utopianism.18

19The counterculture emerged in various locations within the United States around 1965, before the women's liberation movement began to problematize the system of social relations that today we call gender. Beginning in 1968, and with steadily increasing sophistication thereafter, radical feminists proclaimed that the personal was political, and that relations between the sexes were therefore profoundly political in ways heretofore unimagined.19 Both the counterculture and the radical-feminist articulation of sexual politics emerged in the context of—and partly in resistance to the limits of—a broadly based, post–World War Two dialogue on women's participation in workplace and civic culture.20 Although less well-remembered today, scholars and media pundits at the time also pondered what they saw as a "crisis of masculinity." Most commentators on the latter proposed reforms to the male sex role, believing that the same society that had relieved middle-class men of the burdens of manual labor nevertheless retained a standard of masculinity better suited to the rough-and-tumble of the frontier West. They sought ways to alleviate the sense of emasculation that appeared to accompany modern demands that men become more responsive emotionally within marriage and that they practice teamwork as members of complex corporate hierarchies.21

20Participants in both conversations drew upon scientific knowledge about the sexes. Mid-century sexual science held, in the main, that men and women belonged to "opposite sexes"—that anatomical sexual difference implicated not only the body but the psyche as well, and that these categorical differences of body, mind, and personality were products of nature, not culture—even if, as functionalist sociologists argued at the time, these essential differences manifested as temporally and culturally specific sex roles.22 Thus, prior to feminist assertions of gender as a political arrangement, informed opinion held that masculinity and femininity formed part of the bedrock of human nature. This meant that while the social problems encapsulated in the catchphrase "battle of the sexes" might, in the end, prove inevitable, the dialogues on both women's civic participation and the "crisis of masculinity" proceeded from the conviction that much needless conflict between the sexes derived from sex roles that lagged behind economic and scientific progress.

21In light of this common presumption, it comes as no surprise that in the formative years of the counterculture neither the Diggers, nor Gaskin's followers, nor any other hippie entity regarded questions concerning relations between the sexes as paramount in their efforts to create a new social order. Even though their experiments with new cultural forms touched on gender at every turn, they, like "straight" (conventional) Americans, simply presumed that manhood and womanhood, distorted by the weight of the sex roles imposed by industrialized civilization, would spontaneously resume their "natural" form—the harmonious complementarity of yin and yang—once relieved of that repressive weight.23 Thus, the Diggers and the Farmies saw no need to elaborate their thinking about masculinity to the same degree that they detailed the economic, religious, sexual, and environmentalist dimensions of their utopianism. The choice between anarchist and mystical means and ends for the revolutionary transformation of human consciousness occupied the foreground of their analyses. Therefore, I argue that the Diggers' and Farmies' distinctive forms of countercultural manhood emerged in consonance with, and in response to, their respective primary commitments to anarchist or mystical ideology and praxis.

22Scholarly examination of each of the many sides of the postwar dialogue on the "crisis of masculinity" contributes to our understanding of mid-twentieth-century American gender relations, and inquiry into hip masculinity yields particularly significant insights. Incisive, ingenious, and even impish social critics of their own society, hippies nevertheless replicated its deepest assumptions about gender, even as they deliberately transgressed the prevailing, hegemonic standards of decency and civilized morality. Thus the counterculture offers historians the opportunity to study the foundational gender assumptions of American society at that time closest to our own when men articulated their sexual politics absent the kind of circumspection that radical-feminist criticism now inspires in some circles.24

23The study of hippie masculinity offers historians the further opportunity to evaluate this outspoken and inventive cohort's adaptation and resistance to the radical-feminist analysis of masculinity as a political construct, a critique that emerged soon after the coalescence of the counterculture. Hippie men's valorization of what most members (both men and women) regarded as the repressed, animalistic, authentic side of human nature outraged conventional moralists, but also, for very different reasons, troubled some of the women of the counterculture as well. Some of them concluded that the counterculture's promise of equality among brothers and sisters fell disappointingly short of the mark in everyday practice.25 Most chose to regard this as an individual (or even collective) failing by their brothers, to be remedied through low-key appeals to radical men's better selves. But by 1971, increasing numbers of countercultural women had begun drawing on the analysis of male supremacy developed by a burgeoning women's liberation movement in support of efforts to confront hip men's sexism.26 Thus, men's efforts to restore the "natural" harmony of the sexes quite unwittingly contributed to the emergence of a sustained, feminist critique of hippie masculinity.

The Counterculture and the American Tradition of Cultural Radicalism

24To many Americans in the mid-1960s—including many Psychedelphians—the counterculture seemed an utter novelty. If it had a history, surely it was the history of a series of inexplicable, unprecedented strokes of genius (or decadence, depending on one's perspective). Journalist Charles Perry, writing two decades later, still found it difficult to explain the context that gave rise to the 1960s counterculture: he titled his chapter on its origins "Strange Clouds Gather," and hypothesized that experimentation with LSD had been the only way to excise the "cut-and-dried feeling . . . of desolation" that gripped American youth in the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis and the assassination of John Kennedy.27

25From the vantage point of four decades and with the aid of accumulated scholarship, however, it is clear that the counterculture did not arise sui generis. Hippiedom was a mosaic assembled mostly from inherited pieces. "Freaks" created a counterculture by choosing eclectically from the wealth of bohemian and subcultural traditions available to them, and by infusing those traditions with new meaning.28

26The precursors of the counterculture included Depression-era experiments with collective living and economic self-sufficiency, such as the Catholic Worker movement, which emphasized the importance of identification with the socially marginal in efforts for radical change. According to historian Timothy Miller, a number of Catholic Workers participated in the Tolstoy Farm communal experiment founded in Davenport, Washington, in 1963. Tolstoy welcomed all comers, as did the earliest hippie communes, Morning Star Ranch and Wheeler Ranch, which were known in the Haight as "the Digger farms." Another precursor, the School for Living, founded in 1936 as an experiment in intentional community and independence from the depressed consumer economy, offered training in economic self-sufficiency. Several leading figures in the back-to-the-land movement of the 1960s and 1970s corresponded with the School's founders, while others knew of its work. From his survey of these and other influences, Miller concludes that "the urban hippies did not create the first hip communes; it would be closer to the truth to say that the earliest communes helped create the hippies."29

27Through the mediation of these predecessors, hippies also became heirs to still older traditions of intentional community in the United States. In the nineteenth century, communards at New Harmony, Brook Farm, Oneida, the Amana Colonies, and the various Icarian communities, among many others, variously developed alternatives to the nuclear family, collectivized ownership of productive resources, reorganized sexual expression, or infused daily life with spiritual ecstasy. Commentary on these earlier experiments circulated via the various communications networks among Movement30 radicals of the 1960s and 1970s, including their underground newspapers.31

28The United States has long served as an incubator of new religious movements, and interest in the mystical traditions of other cultures has often informed American bohemianism and experiments in intentional community. The initiation of the Columbian exchange had given rise to European and then American utopian imaginings of how human society might be remade. Buddhism was a particularly important influence that came to the United States through multiple routes, beginning with the diffusion of nineteenth-century translations of Buddhist scriptures through the clipper trade that connected New England to the British colonial administrator-scholars of south Asia. The "discovery" of Buddhism offered grist for the utopian mill to American Transcendentalists, Theosophists, Beats, and then hippies. Successive bohemian generations hoped that Buddhist metaphysics might humanize American capitalism, as the recovery of Greek and Roman letters was believed to have humanized Renaissance Europe.32

29At a less conscious level, hippies also drew on the white mythology of the American West, imagining it as a place where unfettered men had been free to remake themselves. The myth of the frontier as the place where Euro-Americans experienced a regeneration of moral character through violence and contact with wilderness had come to them through popular media: fiction, the influence of Frederick Jackson Turner on American history text­books, and the television genre of the adult Western.33 But hippies' paeans to the frontier were not the old Whig histories of the triumph of progress; they were steeped in the faith, descended from Rousseau, in the essential goodness of the natural man repressed within the rational, self-possessed, striving individual, and valorized in the notion of the Native American (or, less often, the African American) as Noble Savage.34 However, theirs was not a purely Rousseauvian "West of the imagination." Hip men's long hair, for example, certainly invoked the Noble Savage, but also echoed the clash between the predominantly male and lawless population of trappers, rustlers, bandits, speculators, miners, and squatters of what one nineteenth-century observer called the "Hairy Nation," and the forces of American gentility who came after.35

30If some aspects of the counterculture sprang from deep roots, contemporary influences served as the immediate models for hippie bohemianism—and thus, for hip masculinity—during the counterculture's formative years. Although it is tempting today to presume that hippies categorically rejected technology as the chief agent of humankind's alienation from nature, the historical record shows otherwise. Some elements of the counterculture—including the Diggers studied here—drew on media theorist Marshall McLuhan's notion of industrial pastoralism, adopting his prediction that the citizens of the cybernetic society, freed by "machines of loving grace" from the necessity to labor, would cultivate their hitherto untapped artistic potential in order to find meaning in a leisured existence.36

31The child-rearing practices of parents of the baby-boom generation represented another set of contemporary influences on the counterculture. Historian Dominick Cavallo argues that hippies, like other primarily Euro-American, middle-class youth radicals of the 1960s, sought to actualize deeply internalized standards of independence, moral autonomy, and the individual assumption of risk through competition for power and status. Middle-class parents, says Cavallo, imparted these standards primarily through child-centered strategies of care popularized by Benjamin Spock. A minority of these children took this training in a direction that parents neither expected nor welcomed: as young adults, this minority rejected the upward mobility toward which their elders had hoped to guide them.37

32Still, the most immediate and concrete contemporary influences on core members of the counterculture were the models provided by the artistic avant-garde. Historian Richard Cándida Smith writes that two deep convictions characterized California's twentieth-century artistic social criticism. One was a belief that inspired art—created for transcendent purpose, rather than in the pursuit of artistic fame—could infuse everyday life with a much-needed sense of mystery, reconnecting the individual to the cosmos. At the same time, inspired art would illuminate the problems of modern social structure by transgressing the conventional boundaries of privacy and propriety that caused isolation and alienation, encouraging individuals to claim their differences with pride.38

33One strand of the postwar avant-garde, the Beats, says historian David McBride, took a defiant stance toward cultural and political authority, "scorn[ing] all repression and limits," and developing a penchant for "identif[ying] themselves with . . . disenfranchised social groups . . . including blacks [and] gays." Furthermore, they espoused "free love and pacifism," contrary to the hegemonic middle class's prescription of companionate marriage and fervent anticommunism. Hippies furthered the Beats' critique of suburbia and mass culture.39

34New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, cities with significant Beat enclaves, became major sites in the evolution of hippiedom. These enclaves had arisen in part from the same wartime population movements that had fostered the development of modern gay subcultures.40 The Beats' influence on the counterculture emerges quite strongly in any consideration of the latter's coalescence in dozens of locations in the mid-1960s. But this florescence of mass bohemianism did not occur in a political vacuum; the counterculture, with its half-conscious invention of new forms of masculinity, was one element of the thriving social-movement sector of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.


The Counterculture and Twentieth-Century American Radicalism

35Like other youthful white radicals of the 1960s, the most dedicated hippies, including the subjects of this book, offered a comprehensive analysis of the ills of American society and a utopian vision of how human beings ought to live together. Although the counterculture never comprised more than a tiny fraction of the American populace, its bold pronouncements exerted considerable influence, as the American mass media and networks of radical communication diffused them through the population.

The Counterculture, the 1960s, and the New Deal Order

36Before the 1990s, the prevailing view among scholars was that the counterculture constituted an apolitical tendency that had inhibited (or even derailed) the New Left's efforts for social change.41 Or, less dismissively, the counterculture was said to have consisted of a well-intentioned cultural radicalism that, lacking a Marxist-materialist analysis of power and socialism's commitment to disciplined mass organization, was readily commercialized and absorbed by a media-saturated liberal order.42 Since the late 1980s, however, a growing literature credits the counterculture with a far more positive contribution.43 I argue that the counterculture numbered among those movements that contributed to both "the world the sixties made" and the declining legitimacy of what historians Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle call the New Deal order. An examination of manhood among the Farmies, Diggers, and Free Families against the backdrop of the postwar dialogue on a "crisis" of masculinity affords an opportunity to understand the corrosive influence they exerted on institutions that legitimized that order.44

37Before the appearance of Fraser and Gerstle's analysis, historians of the 1960s frequently wrote of a youth rebellion against a cold-war consensus. This consensus was said to have grown out of a longstanding belief in American exceptionalism, given new life by victory in World War Two and the nation's subsequent preeminence among global powers. Cold-war ideologues argued that the United States, by virtue of its recent frontier past, its democratic traditions and religious liberty, and its melting-pot amalgamation of races and ethnicities, stood in a unique position to lead the world away from European-style colonialism, Nazism, and communism to a liberal-democratic, prosperous future.45

38Fraser and Gerstle push this analysis further, arguing that the American political class succeeded in marginalizing the divisive "labor question" during the New Deal era. The Democratic party successfully mobilized a multiracial, multiethnic coalition of workers and leading figures in the nascent consumer industries in support of an expanded role for government in the stabilization of the economy. Among unionized, industrial workers, particularly second-generation immigrants of eastern and southern European ancestry, support for the New Deal grew from the hope that a democratized workplace would guarantee a living wage, safety on the job, shorter hours, and the legal right to collective bargaining. Their confidence that they could negotiate these reforms through the union movement and electoral politics, and thus avoid the perils of class warfare, demonstrates political elites' success in absorbing and redirecting dissent during the crisis of the Depression. In the process of bolstering the legitimacy of political institutions, says Fraser, reformers recast the social contract in terms of a class-neutral standard of living.46 Roosevelt's election effected a realignment of voter loyalties in American politics that endured until 1980. Fraser and Gerstle have led the way in arguing for the broader social and cultural consequences of this realignment, redefining the amorphous postwar "consensus" as a more historically specific New Deal order.47

39Although the two authors leave it for others to investigate the implications of the rise of the New Deal order for modern masculinity, those implications are clear. This political formation took shape during, and contributed to, the layering of consumerist masculinity atop older producerist forms—a shift noted by historians well before the appearance of Fraser and Gerstle's analysis.48 My work draws on both streams of inquiry. The emergence of consumerist masculine identity carried specific racial and class presumptions, which set the historical stage for hip men's questioning of particular forms of white manhood—and their questioning of the faith in industrial, political, and scientific progress that lay at the heart of the New Deal order as well. For male Euro-American workers employed in the unionized, industrial core, the New Deal delivered on its promises to a considerable degree. Yet even the rising tide of postwar prosperity did not lift other boats in the Democratic coalition. Broadly speaking, from the inception of the New Deal through the era of the Great Society, most workers of color languished in the secondary labor market. Race remained a powerful delimiter of access to the status and resources that marked both full citizenship and masculine achievement.49 Euro-American women also enjoyed consistently greater entrée to white-collar work than did women of color during this period. Nevertheless, the gender segmentation and stratification of the workplace and the widespread practice of restricting the family wage to men imposed formidable barriers even to Euro-American women's economic independence.50

40In the postwar years, African American, Mexican American, and Native American movements for civil rights protested the marginalization of people of color, making a powerful moral case that such exclusion flew in the face of America's self-proclaimed exceptionalism and the promises of inclusion that had forged the New Deal coalition. This moral appeal resonated not only among the excluded. It also touched the consciences of some relatively privileged Euro-American youths. They found attractive not only the prospect of participation in just causes, but also in movements that, by linking the personal to the political, helped to explain the cognitive dissonances arising between America's expansive, exceptionalist ideals and the alienated substance of everyday life. This concern with private life gave the New Left its distinctive, humanistic character.51

41As Cándida Smith's work shows, bohemian artists articulated similar concerns about private life throughout the postwar era, albeit in poetic language that decried pressure toward conformity, the repression of sexuality, and the confinement of artistic and religious rapture to the rarified, highbrow worlds of the gallery, museum, and church. Hippies were the youthful heirs to this legacy of cultural radicalism. Where New Leftists sought to link the personal and the political through instrumentalism (the organization of mass movements of the oppressed), hippies pursued a parallel revolution in consciousness, seeking to close the distance between alienated individuals by dissolving conventional distinctions between life and art, and suffusing daily life with religious ecstasy.52 Leftist and hip approaches shared a concern with overcoming alienation through the cultivation of personal authenticity.

42All members of the counterculture shared in this bohemian and avant-garde legacy of art as a medium for raised consciousness and rehumanization. However, as is clear from the conflicts churning below the surface at the Human Be-In, hip radicals interpreted that legacy from disparate perspectives. In order to understand the divergent forms of masculinity within the counterculture, we must investigate the structural conditions contributing to countercultural heterogeneity.

Countercultural Heterogeneity and Hip Masculinity

43As David McBride has observed, the counterculture of the 1960s came into being when white youths embraced bohemianism on a mass scale for the first time in American history. How many people participated in the counterculture? A precise number proves elusive. Still, one historian estimates that by the early 1970s, the population of countercultural communes numbered somewhere around 750,000—and not all hippies lived communally.53

44If accurate, this figure suggests that the counterculture represented less than one-half of one percent of the American population in 1970. Nevertheless, a group of that size encompassed great diversity of individual background and belief, and its heterogeneity far outweighed the group's collective divergence from a similar sample of the society as a whole.54 Put simply, individual hippies differed more from one another than they did, collectively, from the conventional society that they opposed. In fact, it is fair to say that in terms of their ideology and cultural politics, their oppositional stance—what hippies stood against—did more to distinguish them within American society than what they stood for, which varied considerably from group to group and individual to individual. The question for the historian of hip masculinity, then, is not, What was the hippie-masculine sex role? but rather, How did diverse groups of countercultural men engage with manhood?55 Further complicating the picture is the fact that countercultures evolved in diverse localities. The hippie community that arose in the Haight-Ashbury, where the Diggers and Farmies coalesced, bore similarities to that which evolved in enclaves in Los Angeles, New York City, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Lawrence, Kansas—but our knowledge of counterculture still suffers from overemphasis on the Haight as the "birthplace" of hip cultural radicalism. Future studies of countercultural masculinity must account for the particularities of local communities.56

45Another reason to ask after the diversity of forms of hip masculinity is that one can draw no bright line dividing "the hippie population" from the rest of American society. First of all, hippies interacted so intensively with the New Left by 1968 that the two cannot be neatly separated. Each began as a distinct entity but merged, thereafter constituting important tendencies within a larger entity (known at the time as the Movement), and not discrete populations.57

46Furthermore, as suggested earlier, hippies differed markedly among themselves in their degree of commitment to cultural radicalism. A minority, including the subjects of this book, plunged into the counterculture with both feet for an extended period, leaving behind previous ties to regular employment and educational pursuits. They formed the deeply committed core population of the counterculture.58 Many more, however, kept one foot firmly planted in work or advanced education, while taking countercultural values and practices seriously. Core members sometimes called these less committed persons "weekenders." One social-scientific survey found that they comprised more than ninety percent of the Los Angeles counterculture.59

47thumbThe weekenders shaded imperceptibly into an even greater number of people for whom the counterculture counted less as an entity with which they had direct contact and more as a matter of style and fantasy identification—one answer to the eternal search for ways to stand out from the crowd in twentieth-century youth culture.60 The enormous commercial popularity of psychedelically inflected rock music in the late 1960s counts as only one of the cultural circuits connecting the counterculture to the "over-the-counter culture" that grew up in its shadow. Entrepreneurial drug dealers capitalized, rationalized, and professionalized what had been a casual hippie trade in LSD and marijuana, and the fashion industry quickly appropriated countercultural aesthetics. Many a committed hippie railed in vain against such commercialization of countercultural forms.61

48Thus, from the time that Psychedelphia took root in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, its denizens displayed the great diversity that one might expect to find in a highly mobile, modern culture. Idealistic Euro-American youths from elite universities mingled with those whose education came from the streets; middle-aged Beats traversed sidewalks crowded with teenaged runaways; committed cultural radicals moved through a sea of weekenders and the many tourists, sociologists, and journalists who visited enclaves like the Haight-Ashbury or Morning Star Ranch to stare, take photos, or collect data. There was, however, one highly significant exception to this diversity: people of color seldom joined with Euro-American hippies in the search for alternatives to the status quo, despite the fact that the urban hip enclaves frequently bordered their neighborhoods. People of color forged their own bohemias in the postwar era, from which sprang forms of cultural radicalism such as the Black Arts movement and the politically inspired art of El Teatro Campesino.62

49The countercultural heterogeneity of the Haight-Ashbury sorted itself into a rudimentary order. The most committed cultural radicals gravitated toward their like-minded fellows, and these nodes of commitment branched outward through personal networks of acquaintance, cooperation, communication, recruitment, and resource distribution. Participants and outside observers identified several such nodes in the New Community. One consisted of the HIP merchants. Their storefronts, interspersed among the neighborhood's conventional businesses, constituted the physical core of the Haight-Ashbury enclave.63 The Thelin brothers, whose father had once managed the neighborhood Woolworth's, opened the Psychedelic Shop in January 1966 and strongly influenced the direction of the enclave's first newspaper, the Oracle. That newspaper's staff also formed a node of dedicated countercultural radicalism. Numerous groups formed around gurus. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, headquartered in New York City, opened a temple in the Haight in late 1966.64 Stephen Gaskin's Monday Night Class took shape gradually and later than most core groups, remaining in San Francisco until 1970. Many more such nodes, no doubt, remain to be identified.

50These nodes of the most committed hippies coalesced in a manner consistent with the bifurcated tradition of American cultural radicalism described by Veysey. Advocates of anarchism and of mysticism competed strenuously for preeminence within the Haight, each seeking to lead the countercultural masses not simply away from the ways of the dominant society, but toward commitment to a particular path to utopia.

51The rudimentary countercultural order served as the context within which divergent commitments to Digger anarchism or Farmie mysticism gave rise to varieties of hip masculinity. How did competing groups influence one another? How did they approach the task of creating utopian communities in which to rediscover what they saw as "authentic" manliness? How did the interplay of ideology and experience change their conception of authentic manhood over time? Sociologist R. W. Connell's "critical-realist" understanding of masculinity guides me in the pursuit of these questions.


Connell's Critical-Realist Theory of Gender

52Connell's approach derives from an insightful synthesis of disparate feminist criticisms of sex-role theory, a wide-ranging exploration of both materialist and idealist theories of gender, an ongoing personal engagement with movements for gender justice, and—not least—a thoroughgoing appreciation of gender as a historical phenomenon. "Gender," he writes, "exists precisely to the extent that biology does not determine the social. It marks one of those points of transition where historical process supersedes biological evolution as the form of change."65

53Masculinity and femininity derive from what Connell calls "gender configurations of practice" in relation to "the reproductive arena." Bodily difference between the sexes does not strictly determine human reproductive strategies; rather, sexual reproduction is, for Connell, part of the human cultural adaptation to diverse environments, involving the interaction of biological, historical, and material contingencies with human intelligence: the making and enacting of gendered meaning. Masculinity and femininity are thus not discrete social phenomena that can be studied separately, but emergent relational patterns, the content of which can vary from one context to another. From this perspective, for example, the sexual division of labor of a given hip community consisted less in the assignment of particular tasks to members of a given sex (the understanding promoted by sex-role theory), but rather, in the assignment of a generalized, gendered function to each sex, the task content of which might vary from situation to situation, and over time, without destabilizing the hierarchical relationship between men and women.66

54The implications of a relational definition of masculinity become apparent when applied to complex, modern societies like our own. Multiple perspectives on masculinity compete for dominance in the United States because differently situated social groups possess markedly different access to power and resources, necessitating distinctive strategies of social and sexual reproduction. Thus, Connell speaks routinely of "masculinities." I will modify this usage. The plural form, in my view, tends to suggest absolute gender relativism, partly because some theorists use it in that sense. Therefore, I will refer to variants of, or perspectives on masculinity in this work.

55One further dimension of Connell's theorization of gender deserves notice here. Men, he argues, understand themselves as masculine not only in relation to women, but also to other men.67 In chapters 2 and 4, we will see that many hippies sought to distinguish themselves from the "straight" men of the Establishment by identifying with men of color—or at least with their romanticized notions about men of color. They regarded Native American men as possessing a more authentic masculinity, as a consequence of what they imagined was Native Americans' closer relationship to Nature. The Diggers also identified closely with some African American men, valorizing the outlaw swagger of the Black Panthers.

56Hippie men defined themselves in relation to other hip men as well, sometimes by deprecating the manhood of rivals for countercultural leadership. This rivalry, treated in chapter 2, gave the counterculture a competitive, hierarchical quality that mass-mediated images of the Flower Child do not preserve. Connell argues that such competitiveness among men promotes the development of masculine hierarchies, which interact with other forms of social hierarchy. Borrowing Gramsci's concept of hegemony, he argues that a particular perspective on masculinity will occupy a place of dominance in a given social locale—within or between classes, races, or other salient social divisions. In chapter 2, we will find that there was no clear winner in the competition for countercultural leadership, and that hip factions in the Haight-Ashbury kept their competition within limits that appear to have been self-imposed, in recognition of the potential for mutual destruction.

57With the historical context of hippiedom and the nature of masculinity as an emergent characteristic of gender in mind, let us turn to the Diggers' efforts to reshape the countercultural order of the Haight-Ashbury. These hard-nosed outlaws consistently equated flower power with effeminacy and believed that, as real men, they deserved to lead the psychedelic revolution. They said so bluntly, from the very beginning.



Note 1: Charles Perry, The Haight-Ashbury: A History (New York: Vintage, 1985), 124. back

Note 2: Ibid., 120–25. On the sequence of events by which the organizers conceived the Be-In, see Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (New York: Perennial Library, 1988), 329–30. back

Note 3: Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 125–27; Steve Levine, "Notes from the San Andreas Fault" [column]: "Be-In: A Gathering of the Tribes; The First American Mehla; A Baptism," San Francisco Oracle 1, no. 6 (14 February 1967): 9; [Chester Anderson], "The Pow-Wow," 14 January 1967, transcription by Eric Noble of original document in Bancroft Library, no Bancroft location cited, CC-221a, Digger Archives; formerly available online at (accessed 16 May 2005). The Oracle varied the form of its title at whim, beginning publication as P. O. [Psychedelphic Oracle] San Francisco in September 1966. I will refer to it as the Oracle in text and as the San Francisco Oracle in notes, except that I will cite the first issue as P. O. San Francisco 1, no. 1, in order to distinguish it from Oracle 1, no. 1. back

Note 4: Levine, "San Andreas Fault," 24, 9. back

Note 5: Throughout this work, I write Nature with a capital letter, as a reminder that the Romantics and participants in the 1960s counterculture associated the concept with Edenic benevolence. Before the Romantic era, nature and wilderness were predominantly associated with lawless wasteland. See William Cronon, "The Trouble With Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature," in Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature, ed. William Cronon (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995), 69–90. My thanks to Andrew Fischer, Adam Sowards, and Doug Seefeldt for pointing me toward this important source. back

Note 6: John Phillips, "San Francisco: Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair," in New York Times Great Songs of the Sixties, ed. Milton Okun (New York: Quadrangle, Random House, 1970), 230. back

Note 7: Nancy F. Cott, "What's In a Name? The Limits of 'Social Feminism'; or, Expanding the Vocabulary of Women's History," Journal of American History 76 (December 1989): 829. back

Note 8: Stephen Gaskin, Haight-Ashbury Flashbacks (Berkeley, Calif.: Ronin, 1990), 46–47. back

Note 9: Gaskin provides a useful example: when Dr. David Smith of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, speaking from a scientific standpoint, said that LSD reduced one's ability to discriminate concepts and objects from one another, making all seem equally important, Gaskin, speaking on the authority of his own experience, shot back from the audience that the drug increased one's ability to integrate concepts and observations until all were equally important (ibid., 51). back

Note 10: Ibid., 47; Stephen Gaskin, Mind at Play (Summertown, Tenn.: Book Publishing Co., 1980), 11. back

Note 11: On redemptive violence, see Richard Slotkin, Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (New York: Atheneum, 1992). The term tantra has taken on explicitly sexual meanings in popular American usage, and Gaskin's tantric approach to masculinity did involve prescriptions for men's sexual behavior. However, he used this term in its broader sense, as the disciplined manipulation of psychic energy for magical purposes. back

Note 12: Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 125; the handbill is replicated in Emmett Grogan, Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps, (Boston: Little, Brown, 1972), 247. The Diggers began this distribution in October 1966; see Michael William Doyle, "The Haight-Ashbury Diggers and the Cultural Politics of Utopia, 1965–1968" (Ph.D. diss., Cornell Univ., 1997), 119. back

Note 13: Doyle, relying on the Diggers' 1967 rejection of the term hippie as a fabrication of the mass media, argues against scholarly application of the term to the Diggers ("Diggers," 2, 112). By so doing, he rightly foregrounds important distinctions that the Diggers made between their anarchist cultural radicalism and what they regarded as the ersatz activism of Cohen, Bowen, Levine, and others. I note, however, that my colleague experiences some difficulty in maintaining this opposition. At 5–6, he notes an important continuity between the Diggers and others in the Haight-Ashbury—that in conflicts with New Leftists, the Diggers' position merged with that of other hippies: that change would come through the transformation of consciousness, not the organization of hierarchical mass movements. In my view, this philosophically idealist stance of shared opposition to the materialist movement-building of the New Left defined the Diggers as hippies as surely as their conflicts with mystically inclined Hashburians defined them as anarchists. That they shared the stance of philosophical idealism with their mystical opponents explains why the Diggers chose the Haight-Ashbury as the most promising ground for the propagation of guerrilla theater in 1966–67, and why they felt it worthwhile to compete with prominent mystics for leadership of the New Community. Therefore, I find it appropriate to classify the Diggers as hippies, while also noting their eventual rejection of the term and their intense rivalries with mystics. back

Note 14: For a retrospective summary of these ideas, see Peter Coyote, Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1998), 33, 69–72; for scholarly analysis, see Michael William Doyle, "Staging the Revolution: Guerrilla Theater as a Countercultural Practice, 1965–68," in Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s and '70s, ed. Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle (New York: Routledge, 2002). (This edited collection is cited hereafter as Braunstein and Doyle, Imagine Nation.) Berg's expression of these ideas can be seen in "Free City Bloodlight," Realist, no. 81 (August 1968): 22; Judy [Goldhaft] Berg and Peter Berg, "The Diggers," in The History of Collectivity in the San Francisco Bay Area, ed. John Curl, Judy [Goldhaft] Berg, and Allen Cohen (San Francisco: Homeward Press, 1982), 34; and Peter Berg and Judy Goldhaft, interview with Marty Lee and Eric Noble, San Francisco, 29 April 1982, San Francisco; Digger Archives; partial transcript available online at (accessed 9 January 2007), pars. [16–21]. On "hard kicks" as "deprogramming," see Peter Coyote, interview with Etan Ben-Ami, Mill Valley, Calif., 12 January 1989; transcript online at (accessed 9 January 2007), pars. [60–61]; and Peter Berg, interview with Lee and Noble, pars. [12–13]. back

Note 15: Coyote, Sleeping, 76. back

Note 16: Doyle, "Diggers," 164–66; Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 124–25. Perry reported these rumors, apparently unaware of the Diggers' claim of involvement. back

Note 17: On "an armed man," see Doyle, "Diggers," 214–17. See also Peter Cohon, interview with Leonard Wolf, n.d., in Voices from the Love Generation, ed. Leonard Wolf (Boston: Little, Brown, 1968), 135; Coyote, Sleeping, 98–99; Grogan, Ringolevio, 349, 457–58; Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 197; Nicholas von Hoffman, We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1968), 101–2, 119, 146–47. On the "1% Free" poster, see Coyote, Sleeping, 81; Doyle, "Diggers," 294–96. (Coyote credits McKibbon as the graphic artist; Doyle, following Emmett Grogan, credits a "Red-Cock Dan" at n269.) "Flower Power Smothers," San Francisco Express Times 1, no. 6 (29 February 1968): 8. back

Note 18: Laurence Veysey, The Communal Experience: Anarchist and Mystical Counter-Cultures in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1973). back

Note 19: Ruth Rosen, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America (New York: Viking, 2000); Alice Echols, Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–1975 (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1989). Following Verta Taylor and Leila J. Rupp, "Women's Culture and Lesbian Feminist Activism: A Reconsideration of Cultural Feminism," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 19, no. 1 (Autumn 1993): 32–61, I use the term radical feminism somewhat differently than does Echols—to denote those who initially applied the principles of identity politics and the New Left's humanistic Marxism to the project of raising consciousness about women's oppression, and subsequently embraced the lesbian-feminist concept of woman-identification. Of course, within radical feminism thus defined, interpretations of the term gender have varied considerably, with some considering it wholly a social construction, and others qualifying that assessment. Space considerations prevent a more nuanced discussion of those differences here. back

Note 20: Joanne Meyerowitz has done much to problematize Betty Friedan's formulation of the "feminine mystique"; see her "Beyond the Feminine Mystique: A Reassessment of Postwar Mass Culture, 1946–1958," in Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945–1960, ed. Joanne Meyerowitz (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1994), 229–62. See also Ruth Rosen, "The Female Generation Gap: Daughters of the Fifties and the Origins of Contemporary American Feminism," in U.S. History as Women's History: New Feminist Essays, ed. Linda K. Kerber, Alice Kessler-Harris, and Kathryn Kish Sklar (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1997), 313–34. back

Note 21: See, for example, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., "The Crisis of American Masculinity," Esquire: The Magazine for Men 50, no. 5 (November 1958): 65. For scholarly interpretation, see Jesse Isaac Berrett, "The Secret Lives of Consumer Culture: Masculinity and Consumption in Postwar America" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1996), and Michael Kimmel, "'Temporary about Myself': White-Collar Conformists and Suburban Playboys, 1945–1960," chap. 7 in Manhood in America: A Cultural History (New York: Free Press, 1996), 223–58. back

Note 22: For the history of the modern understanding of incommensurable, opposite sexes, see Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: The Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1990). In the late 1950s, some researchers began to question the orthodox understanding of sex roles as the social elaboration of biological sexual identity; in 1964, psychiatrist Robert J. Stoller argued that the individual's sense of being a man or woman was learned, although the capacity to learn was in some sense biological, in a manner analogous to human language acquisition. See Joanne Meyerowitz, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2002), 113–17. As far as I know, no historian has studied the possible connections between these developments and radical feminists' eventual adoption of the term gender. For an early feminist inquiry into the inadequacy of sex-role analysis, see Brooke [Williams], "What's Wrong with Sex Role Theory," in Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement, Feminist Revolution: An Abridged Edition with Additional Writings (New York: Random House, 1978), 84. back

Note 23: American bohemians have long found the Chinese concepts of yin and yang useful in critiquing conventional American systems of gendered social organization and thought. However, a good deal of complexity has been lost in translation. See Charlotte Furth, A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China's Medical History (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1999). back

Note 24: Kenneth Cmiel, "The Politics of Civility," in The Sixties: From Memory to History, ed. David Farber (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994), 263–90. back

Note 25: For example, Shirly Wise told interviewer Leonard Wolf in 1968 that "along the street" in the Haight-Ashbury, "the attitude has been that women were going to be treated as equal human beings with men, but that wasn't true, that was a shuck"; interview in Voices of the Love Generation, ed. Leonard Wolf (Boston: Little, Brown, 1968), 244. On the emergence of feminist consciousness among women of the New Left, see Sara Evans, Personal Politics: The Roots of Women's Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left (New York: Vintage, 1980), and the early chapters of Echols, Daring to Be Bad. For an inquiry seeking to expand historians' account of the roots of the women's liberation movement to include the counterculture, see chap. 2 of Lauri Umansky, Motherhood Reconceived: Feminism and the Legacies of the Sixties (New York Univ. Press, 1996), and Debra Michals, "From 'Consciousness Expansion' to 'Consciousness Raising': Feminism and the Countercultural Politics of the Self," in Braunstein and Doyle, Imagine Nation, 41–68. back

Note 26: Bennet M. Berger, The Survival of a Counterculture: Ideological Work and Everyday Life among Rural Communards (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1981), 152–53; Tim Hodgdon, "'The Male Work Ethic was Busted': Manhood, Feminism, and the Sexual Division of Labor at Black Bear Ranch," Communal Societies: Journal of the Communal Studies Association 23 (2003): 95–120. For an example of feminist invective against hip sexism, see Leni Wildflower [Sinclair], foreword to Paul Potter, A Name for Ourselves: Feelings about Authentic Identity, Love, Intuitive Politics, Us (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971). Wildflower, former wife of countercultural rock impresario and White Panther party leader John Sinclair, had been deeply involved in both the counterculture and the New Left in Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan. back

Note 27: Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 4–5. back

Note 28: Drawing on the new immigration history, students of multicultural interaction in the American West have pointed to the syncretic, if also at times conflictual character of cultural change. In "Dead Ends or Gold Mines? Using Missionary Records in Mexican American Women's History," Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 12, no. 1 (1991): 33–56, Vicki L. Ruiz argues that relatively few Mexican and Mexican American women who interacted with the Houchen Mission in El Paso embraced Protestantism; they drew on the cognitive and material resources of the mission that they found useful, while otherwise deflecting missionaries' efforts at conversion. She calls the process cultural coalescence (50). See also Peggy Pascoe, Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874–1939 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990), and Valerie J. Matsumoto, Farming the Home Place: A Japanese-American Community in California, 1919–1982 (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1993). While allowing for the considerable differences between hippies' "dropping out" and marginalized populations' struggles in a context of white hegemony, the syncretic nature of cultural coalescence better captures the process by which white bohemians invented a counterculture than do the various explanations employed by contemporaries, such as the concept of "generation gap." back

Note 29: Timothy Miller, The 60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond (Syracuse Univ. Press, 1999), 7–12; quotation is from idem, "Roots of the 1960s Communal Revival," American Studies (Lawrence, Kan.) 33, no 2 (1992): 74. back

Note 30: Note that when I refer to the white youth radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s as a whole, I will use one of the contemporary terms for it: the Movement. back

Note 31: On American communalism generally, see the essays in Donald E. Pitzer, ed., America's Communal Utopias (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1997), and Veysey, Communal Experience. Timothy Miller has continued Veysey's project of unearthing the lines of succession from the "commune boom" of the 1840s to that of the 1960s. See his "The Continuing Tradition," chap. 1 in The Quest for Utopia in Twentieth-Century America (Syracuse Univ. Press, 1998). Earlier scholarship held that communalism had appeared only intermittently in the United States in response to crises of economic and social transition; see for example Everett Webber, Escape to Utopia: The Communal Movement in America (New York: Hastings House, 1959), and Arthur Bestor, Backwoods Utopias: The Sectarian Origins and the Owenite Phase of Communitarian Socialism in America, 1663–1829 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1950). More recently, Brian Berry attempted a statistical explanation for the two major waves of communalism in the United States, in America's Utopian Experiments: Communal Havens from Long-Wave Crises (Hanover, N.H.: Univ. of New England Press, 1992), but his model attempts to reduce communalism to a response to economic determinants. back

Note 32: Rick Fields, How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America, 3d ed. (Boston: Shambhala, 1992); see especially 31–34. back

Note 33: For a treatment of the frontier myth as an influence on the counterculture, see Slotkin, Gunfighter Nation, 628–33. On the adult Western as a television genre that influenced children who later joined the counterculture, see Dominick Cavallo, A Fiction of the Past: The Sixties in American History (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 36–42. On the persistence of the Turnerian frontier, see William Cronon, "Revisiting the Vanishing Frontier: The Legacy of Frederick Jackson Turner," Western Historical Quarterly 18 (1987): 157–76. For an overview of the importance of the imagined West in American culture, see chap. 21 of Richard White, It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A New History of the American West (Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1991), 613–32. back

Note 34: Marshall Berman, The Politics of Authenticity: Radical Individualism and the Emergence of Modern Society (New York: Atheneum, 1970); Cronon, "The Trouble with Wilderness," 76; Cavallo, A Fiction of the Past, 34–42. Perry treats the subject of hippies' fascination with Native Americans, as reflected in rock music, in Haight-Ashbury, passim. For an analysis of this phenomenon, see Philip Deloria, "Counterculture Indians and the New Age," in Braunstein and Doyle, Imagine Nation, 159–88. back

Note 35: Henry C. Ethell, The Rise and Progress of Civilization in the Hairy Nation (Bloomfield, Iowa: Republican Steam Print, 1883), cited in Timothy R. Mahoney, Provincial Lives: Middle-Class Experience in the Antebellum Middle West (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999), 74. My thanks to Susan E. Gray for bringing Mahoney to my attention. back

Note 36: Andrew Kirk, "'Machines of Loving Grace': Alternative Technology, Environment, and the Counterculture," in Braunstein and Doyle, Imagine Nation, 353–78; James W. Carey and John W. Quirk, "The Mythos of the Electronic Revolution," American Scholar 39, no. 2 (1970): 219–41, continued in no. 3 (1970): 395–424; Leonard Wolf, introduction to Voices from the Love Generation (Boston: Little, Brown, 1968), xxix. back

Note 37: Cavallo, A Fiction of the Past, 8. back

Note 38: Richard Cándida Smith, Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in California (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1995), xix. back

Note 39: David McBride, "On the Fault Line of Mass Culture and Counterculture: A Social History of the Hippie Counterculture in 1960s Los Angeles" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California, Los Angeles, 1998), 133. For the Beat influence on some young Euro-American women, see Wini Breines, Young, White, and Miserable: Growing Up Female in the Fifties (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992). For a portrait of the very sort of white youth culture from which the Beats sought to distance themselves, see William Graebner, Coming of Age in Buffalo: Youth and Authority in the Postwar Era (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1990). back

Note 40: John D'Emilio, "Forging a Group Identity: World War II and the Emergence of an Urban Gay Subculture," chap. 2 in Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940–1970 (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1983), 23–39. On the Haight-Ashbury as a gay enclave before the inception of the counterculture, see Sherri Cavan, Hippies of the Haight (St. Louis: New Critics Press, 1972), 45–46. back

Note 41: Perhaps the most widely known example is Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam, 1987). See also Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS (New York: Random House, 1973), 345. back

Note 42: See for example Edward P. Morgan, The Sixties Experience: Hard Lessons about Modern America (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1991), 173–75; David Burner, Making Peace with the 60s (Princeton Univ. Press, 1996), 127–30; and Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool: Counterculture, Business Culture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1997). back

Note 43: This shift in interpretation began with Jack Whalen and Richard Flacks, Beyond the Barricades: The Sixties Generation Grows Up (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1989) and W. J. Rorabaugh, Berkeley at War: The 1960s, paperbound ed. (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), with further contributions from Paul Lyons, New Left, New Right, and the Legacy of the Sixties (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1996); Doyle, "Diggers"; McBride, "Mass Culture and Counterculture"; Cavallo, A Fiction of the Past; and Braunstein and Doyle, Imagine Nation. Both McBride, in "Mass Culture and Counterculture," and Doug Rossinow, in "The New Left in the Counterculture: Hypotheses and Evidence," Radical History Review, no. 67 (Winter 1997): 79–120, offer very useful historiography that informs the present work. back

Note 44: Van Gosse and Richard Moser, eds., The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 2003); Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle, eds., The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930–1980 (Princeton University Press, 1989). In their introductory essay in The World the Sixties Made, Gosse and Moser criticize Fraser and Gerstle's approach, arguing that its focus on the collapse of popular support for Rooseveltian "big government" occludes from scholarly view the enduring influences of 1960s radicalism on American society. However, I see no fundamental conflict between Gosse and Moser's emphasis on the persisting influences of 1960s radicalism and Gerstle and Fraser's efforts to understand the declining popularity of Rooseveltian liberalism. back

Note 45: Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988), chaps. 10–12. back

Note 46: Steve Fraser, "The 'Labor Question,'" in Fraser and Gerstle, New Deal Order, 55–84. See also Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919–1939 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990), and Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995). back

Note 47: Fraser and Gerstle, introduction to New Deal Order. back

Note 48: Fraser and Gerstle rely on Elaine Tyler May, "Cold War, Warm Hearth: Politics and the Family in Postwar America," in New Deal Order, 159–81, to develop some of the implications of the New Deal order for gender and the family. The literature delineating the shift from producerism to consumerism is substantial, and still growing. Landmark works include Warren I. Susman, Cul­ture as History: The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York: Pantheon, 1973, 1984), and Richard Wightman Fox and T. J. Jackson Lears, eds., The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880–1980 (New York: Pantheon, 1983). Kimmel, Manhood in America, and Berrett, "Secret Lives," draw on this body of work (although not on Fraser and Gerstle) to contextualize the historical transformation of masculine identity. back

Note 49: On the concept of the secondary labor market, see the essays in Richard C. Edwards, Michael Reich, and David M. Gordon, eds., Labor Market Segmentation (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath, 1975). On the consequences of intense competition between Euro-American workers and workers of color in the secondary labor market, see Scott Cummings, "White Ethnics, Racial Prejudice, and Labor Market Segmentation," American Journal of Sociology 85, no. 4 (January 1980): 938–50, and Denise A. Segura, "Chicana and Mexican Immigrant Women at Work: The Impact of Class, Race, and Gender on Occupational Mobility," Gender and Society 3, no. 1 (1989): 39–52. However, these tendencies were not absolute: on the formation of a modern middle class among African American professionals and skilled workers in the postwar period, see Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom, "The Rise of the Black Middle Class," chap. 7 in America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997); for a case study, see Paul Geib, "From Mississippi to Milwaukee: A Case Study of the Southern Migration to Milwaukee, 1940–1970," Journal of Negro History 83, no. 4 (1998): 229–48. back

Note 50: For a synthetic treatment of women's postwar employment, see William H. Chafe, The Paradox of Change: American Women in the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1991), 158–66. As noted by Vicki L. Ruiz in Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930–1950 (Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1987), unionized Mexican American women in the food-processing industry met with severe reversals in their aspirations to a dignified working life in the postwar era. This kind of retrenchment contributed to the larger pattern studied by Evelyn Nakano Glenn in "From Servitude to Service Work: Historical Continuities in the Racial Division of Paid Reproductive Labor," in Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women's History, ed. Vicki L. Ruiz and Ellen Carol DuBois, 2d ed. (New York: Routledge, 1994), 405–35. There were, of course, unionized women who took advantage of their relative security to pursue political and social activism: see Dorothy Sue Cobble, "Recapturing Working-Class Feminism: Union Women in the Postwar Era," in Meyerowitz, Not June Cleaver, 57–83. back

Note 51: Students for a Democratic Society, Port Huron Statement, reprinted in Takin' It to the Streets: A Sixties Reader, ed. Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines, 2d ed. (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2003), 50–61; Wini Breines, Community and Organization in the New Left, 1962–1968: The Great Refusal, reissue ed.(New Brunswick,.N. J.:Rutgers University Press, 1989); Gitlin, Sixties. back

Note 52: Cándida Smith, Utopia and Dissent. Lawrence Levine's Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1988) illuminates the origins of sharp class and racial distinctions in American culture; these made the postwar United States fertile ground for movements to restore to everyday life the experience that anthropologist Victor W. Turner, in The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (Chicago: Aldine, 1969), called communitas. back

Note 53: McBride, "Mass Culture and Counterculture," 12; Miller, 60s Communes, xviii–xx. back

Note 54: The field of sex-differences research offers a parallel case: there, social scientists frequently have interpreted slight psychological differences between the sexes as establishing them as categorically distinct, thus obscuring the overwhelming commonalities between the sexes. See R. W. Connell, Masculinities (Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press, 1995), 21. See also Carol Tavris, The Mismeasure of Woman: Why Women Are Not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex (New York: Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, 1992). back

Note 55: Indeed, the editors of the most recent addition to the historiography of the counterculture warn that "the term 'counterculture' falsely reifies what should never properly be construed as a social movement. It was an inherently unstable collection of . . . people who defined themselves first by what they were not, and then, only after having cleared that essential ground of identity, began to conceive anew what they were. What they were was what they might become—more a process than a product, and thus more a direction or a motion than a movement" (Braunstein and Doyle, introduction to Imagine Nation, 10). back

Note 56: For a study of the Los Angeles counterculture, see McBride, "Mass Culture and Counterculture"; on Lawrence, Kansas, see David Ohle, Roger Martin, and Susan Brosseau, eds., Cows Are Freaky When They Look at You: An Oral History of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers (Wichita, Kan.: Watermark Press, 1991). Doyle devotes a chapter to the study of the reception of Digger anarchism in New York City in "Diggers." On the blend of idealist and materialist radicalism evident in the White Panthers, see Jeff A. Hale, "The White Panthers' 'Total Assault on the Culture,'" in Braunstein and Doyle, Imagine Nation, 125–56. back

Note 57: Benjamin Zablocki, Alienation and Charisma: A Study of Contemporary American Communes (New York: Free Press, 1980), 100–102. Doug Rossinow argues persuasively that in addition to the constant flow of participants between the two tendencies, by 1969 many New Leftists, pressured to take sides during the splintering of the national Students for a Democratic Society, chose instead to develop the humanistic concern for the politics of daily life that had animated the early SDS, creating a "New Left counterculture" and hoping to mobilize "apolitical" hippies for mass politics (Doug Rossinow, "'The Revolution Is About Our Lives': The New Left's Counterculture," in Braunstein and Doyle, Imagine Nation, 99–124; for an earlier version, see Rossinow, "The New Left in the Counterculture." back

Note 58: On the usefulness of the concept of core group in social-movements theory, see Stephen M. Buechler, Women's Movements in the United States: Woman Suffrage, Equal Rights, and Beyond (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1990), 3. As one tendency within the Movement, the counterculture exhibited a core-periphery structure. back

Note 59: Paul Hyman and Robert Wallach, "The Hippies and the New Values," unpublished paper, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, 1969, 3; cited in McBride, "Mass Culture and Counterculture," 93. back

Note 60: This same sort of conception of the counterculture appears, in abbreviated form, in Braunstein and Doyle, introduction to sec. 5, Imagine Nation, 325. back

Note 61: Barbara Tischler, "Counter Culture and Over-the-Counter Culture: The 1960s and the Legacy of Protest," in The Legacy: The Vietnam War in the American Imagination, ed. D. Michael Shafer (Boston: Beacon Press, 1990), 280–302; Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 276–77; von Hoffman, We Are the People; Frank, Conquest of Cool. On countercultural disdain for straight cooptation of forms and styles, see Zapata, "In Search of a Frame," Barb (Berkeley, Calif.), 25 November 1966, 6; John Sinclair, "Motor City Music," in John Sinclair and Robert Levin, Music and Politics (New York: World, 1971), 24; Philip Schweitzer, "The Music Is the Message," in Voices from The Farm: Adventures in Community Living, ed. Rupert Fike (Summertown, Tenn.: Book Publishing Co., 1998), 26–28. back

Note 62: The commonplace explanation for the dearth of people of color in the counterculture given by white participants, and frequently repeated by scholars, is that those excluded from full participation in the American Dream wanted precisely the material goods and security that hippies regarded as inauthentic (Claude [Hayward], T memorandum to Warren [Hinckle], 23 May 1967, MS 3159, folder 1, NBL-CHS, 2; von Hoffman, We Are the People, 125; Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 138; Miller, 60s Communes, 171; Braunstein and Doyle, introduction to Imagine Nation, 12. For a more nuanced treatment, see McBride, "Mass Culture and Counterculture," 101–8). I urge historians of the counterculture to investigate the linkages and discontinuities between the counterculture and the efforts of people of color to create their own movements of cultural radicalism, in a quest not so much for the things that Euro-Americans had, as for the power to decide which things to have, and were worth having. This will require the continuation of work begun by William L. Van Deburg, New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965–1975 (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1992). For important documents concerning the Black Arts movement, see LeRoi Jones and Larry Neal, eds., Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing (New York: Morrow, 1968); on El Teatro Campesino, see Yolanda Broyles González, El Teatro Campesino: Theater of the Chicano Movement (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1994). Sociologist Benita Roth investigates the parallel question of why women of color chose not to join the white women's liberation movement in Separate Roads to Feminism: Black, Chicana, and White Feminist Movements in America's Second Wave (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004). back

Note 63: On the opening of the Psychedelic Shop, see Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 76. A hand-drawn map, n.d., of hip businesses survives in box 2, folder 9, HC-SFPL. For contemporary photographs of the enclave, see Barney Hoskyns, Beneath the Diamond Sky: Haight-Ashbury, 1965–1970 (New York: Simon and Schuster Editions, 1997), and Gene Anthony, The Summer of Love: Haight-Ashbury at Its Highest (Millbrae, Calif.: Celestial Arts, 1980). Many of Anthony's photographs are now accessible online: see the Gene Anthony Vault [catalogue], available online at
(accessed 9 January 2007). back

Note 64: The date of the founding of the Haight-Ashbury temple remains uncertain. The most precise source is Francine Jeanne Daner, The American Children of Krsna: A Study of the Hare Krsna Movement (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976), 17. For a time in early 1967, the Diggers occupied a garage at 520 Frederick Street, next to the Krishna temple. Voluminous foot traffic and loud music from the Digger quarters irritated the Krishna devotees, and relations between the two groups quickly soured (Perry, Haight-Ashbury, 130; Grogan, Ringolevio, 269). back

Note 65: Connell, Masculinities, 71–72; emphasis original. back

Note 66: Ibid., 71. Connell's work converges here with feminist materialism; see Anthony Mc­Mahon, Taking Care of Men: Sexual Politics in the Public Mind (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999). back

Note 67: Connell, Masculinities, 75–76. back