Rise of the Innerpreneur

What Does the Word ‘hippie’ Mean?

photo credit: jdebner

I keep getting called a ‘hippie‘. It seems to be the only word some people can think of to describe me and my husband’s way of life and values. I know I should correct them and say that I am actually a ‘Cultural Creative‘ but I don’t.

What I’m wondering is, what do people mean when they use the word ‘hippie‘? Is it for lack of a better term? Or are they mocking?

It makes me sad to think that people feel the need to outwardly mock conscious living. What makes it so funny? And why does it make people react in a hostile way?

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Related Read:  Reaching for Perfection

About Tara Joyce

Hello! I'm Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me. I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

16 Thoughts on “What Does the Word ‘hippie’ Mean?

  1. Whenever people ask me if I'm a hippie, I politely smile and say “I'm-a-happy”!

  2. Stephen,

    That is a great answer. My usual response is to joke back. I give the peace sign and say “peace and love”. I not sure why I do it, perhaps to turn the situation around as I feel that the person is already making fun of me.

    Is that really all being a hippie means to people? That it is someone who is happy with a more simple existence? I wonder…

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,


  3. @briney001 commented on Twitter

    People use the most available label for what they don't understand. So hippie sounds like a mildly pejorative 'alternative'

  4. To me, a “hippie” is someone that not only values human rights (“peace & love, baby” is right!) but also someone who will fight for them. Also, a free spirit and follows her own path. Not too bad!

    Except they're also thought of as smelly & maybe a bit slutty. But I wouldn't take that personally – it doesn't sound like you at all.

  5. Haha, thanks for the vote of confidence, Michelle. And for the insight into what 'hippie' means to you.

    I'm glad to know I don't come off as neither slutty nor stinky! Though my hygiene is often questioned by my husband (I prefer to shower every other day).


  6. deborahbeatty on November 7, 2008 at 2:18 PM said:

    My husband and I also run a business doing hand-dyed clothing. On nice weekends, we're likely to pack up the canopy and set up on a street corner (yes we have the appropriate licenses). It always tickles me to have the local 16-25 year olds who are obviously driving Daddy's truck going by and yelling “Hippie”! at the top of their lungs.

    I personally take it as a compliment since I've never known a hippie to start a war or turn their backs on someone less fortunate than they are. I'll take the compliment.

  7. Deborah,

    I like your attitude. I agree that it is up to us to interpret the meaning of the statement. Even though it is often meant maliciously I think we must look at it as a compliment as there is little that the 'hippie' culture has done to hurt humanity. In fact, we have done the opposite, which to me is the saddest thing about people thinking we are jokes.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Deborah.


  8. deborahbeatty on November 9, 2008 at 9:27 PM said:

    And what most people don't realize when they're poking fun at some of the tiedyed “Berserkley” attendees is that there are a lot of those folks who have gone on to make some major contributions to the human mind as well as the human condition. It's amazing to me that one of the reasons people “drop out” is that they see how ridiculous the rest of society is with all the rules and should-nots and they have a bigger dream of doing things a different way.

  9. I couldn't have said it better. The world idolizes change makers such as John Lennon, Albert Einstein and Nelson Mandella for their contributions to humanity and thought, yet at the same time mocks other, less famous individuals for those very same ideals.

    What, in the modern mind, turns a 'hippie' into someone to be idolized and revered? When does consciousness stop being a joke to them? I wonder.


  10. Funny, I was just thinking over the past few days that some people would probably consider me and my fiancé hippies, also for lack of a better word. For lack of a better word I sometimes thought of myself using that word, and then immediately knowing that this is not exactly what I mean…

  11. Cobus, I did the same. Previous to learning about Cultural Creativity the only word I knew that best described my values was 'hippie'. For a while I thought, I guess that is what I am, though I always knew that I was so much more to me than that simple definition and stereotype.


  12. claudia1234 on October 30, 2009 at 10:12 PM said:

    Hippie is someone who rejects the established culture; advocates extreme liberalism in politics and lifestyle

  13. Hi Claudia, thanks for sharing your perspective. I agree that extreme
    liberalism in politics and lifestyle is an important distinction of
    hippies. It actually fits quite nicely into my post on why
    Innerpreneuring is not hippie business… http://www.elasticmind.ca/innerpreneur/index.ph
    . In my mind, to run a sustainable business, one needs to accept that
    extreme left views are no less harmful than extreme right views. It's
    still either/or, black and white thinking, and that'll kill you every

  14. sedaandneda on December 29, 2009 at 4:33 PM said:

    A better choice of word to describe you or your life style is: Bohemian. It means someone who is intellectual and creative, and someone who does not see the need to dress or act like everyone else. You are an original!

  15. I like that. Bohemian. Thank you, sedaandneda!

  16. You know, I am from India and I am the first person who wears a T-Shit printed with ‘HIPPIE NO 1″. I feel myself happy to be called hippie and make people shake by looking at my T-shirts..so enjoy the life nothing is wrong

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What Does the Word ‘hippie’ Mean?

By Tara Joyce Time to Read: <1 min