Processual Flower

This is the image that comes to mind when with the thought of flower children. With the vibrant colors and long hair, promoting peace and happiness has always been their goal. Members of the Hog Farm commune celebrating the 4th of July, 1968.[6]
Protesting with a flower? Sounds pretty funny, but the peaceful image of a flower is a very strong representation of the peace, general acceptance, and love people were trying to convey. This revolution of using a flower opened up a new era in protest techniques. Instead of violently pushing, this soothing “tool” supported the cause more than violence possibly could. This act was originated by the “flower children”, another word for hippies, and has been recreated through the memory incorporated dating to the late 1960s. These “flower children” mainly consisted of the middle-class American teens that were the result of the “baby boom” in the 1950s. These teens didn’t necessarily abide by the norms set by their parents. [1]

The term “flower power” was originated with a film called The Time Machine. This film’s main point included the way problems were solved: through anti-war themes. Alongside the film, some American political activists advocated the symbol of a flower to promote peace, thus leading to this general acceptance of a peaceful protest. This growing trend was ultimately embraced by hippies, where they dressed in clothes with flowers and really advocated bright and vibrant colors, alongside distributing flowers as a means of peace. Another action that eventually led to the coining of the term “flower children”, was due to the American poet Allen Ginsberg, who was trying “to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles.” [7]The use of vibrant colors was embraced here through the shirts, glasses, and necklaces.[4]

“Flower Child” :(especially in the 1960s) a young person, especially a hippie, rejecting conventional society and advocating love, peace, and simple, idealistic values. [5]

The growing hippie movement affected 1968 as much as any other controversial issue. Although this movement was fairly different from the arguably more important current events at that time (anti-war movement and the civil rights movement), the hippie movement intertwined to accompany those other events. For example, hippies were directly involved with the anti-war movement, where they attended protests. [7]


The mixing of protests and hippies led to a juxtaposition of ideas; since hippies were peace seekers and protests were generally violent, the combination led to the famous photography Flower Power. This piece that was later nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, emphasizes the enormous gap between the representation of guns and flowers. As in the video, the upheaval and the unrest of the protestors are mildly calmed with flowers. Although wanting immediate results through not-

The “Make Love Not War” was a slogan mainly incorporated with hippies that was a direct message towards anti-war movements. [11]
so-pretty images during the protests, the flowers act as a soothing touch that resembles the memory of peace and happiness. This memory of peace is further structured with the hippie slogan “Make love, not war”.


After the first use of flowers in protests, there have been many other examples that followed. From cartoon shows to actual protests, the usage of flowers and other “tools” that resemble peace and quiet (i.e. music) has become a source of usable memory and processual memory. Usable memory, as defined by Zellizer, is portrayed through the simplicity and how peaceful protests have been recreated over the years. Flowers also became a processual memory as well, through the ever-growing way that peace and love have been shown during protests. [8]

This is an example of a protest in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013. The literal use of flowers to combat with the polices’ riot shields. [9]
An example from Egypt in 2011. The processual memory that the flower contained- peace and love- is translated from the people to the policemen in the form of a kiss. [9]

Music takes a calm and soothing effect on our bodies. This image from Kiev, Ukraine in 2013 brings to life the processual memory of the message that flowers transmitted in protests. The transmission formed through musical notes. [9]
All in all, the repetition of the meaning behind the use of flowers in protests have been “processed” over the span of about 50 years. Although the hippie group was behind the primary use of conveyance through flowers, the remaining form of the complete memory only includes the visual representation of peace and love: hippies are almost completely freed from the lasting memory. Also, the conveyance of the meaning in the late 1960s was a more passive action compared with some of the more pushing protests that make use of flowers or any other objects that try to blossom the meaning of peace and love. The example picture above with the older lady kissing the younger soldier is a heart-shattering picture because of the depicted love that is being transmitted from the people to the government.


  1. “Flower Child.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Feb. 2018,
  2. MyTuBeWeToBe. “They Can’t Kill Us All! Flower Vs Power.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Dec. 2013,
  3. Robinson, James. “When Violence Is Acceptable.” Elephant Journal, Elephant Journal, 4 Feb. 2016,
  4. Ryan, and Awesome Jelly. “How To Create Awesome, Vibrant Tie-Dye Pieces Using Ice! •”, 6 June 2016,
  5. “Flower Child.”,,
  6. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Hippie.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Dec. 2017,
  7. “Flower Power.”, Independence Hall Association,
  8. Zellizer, Barbie. Reading the Past Against the Grain: The Shape of Memory Studies.
  9. “35 Images of Kindness Found Within Conflict.” Kindness Blog, 19 May 2017,
  10. “Make Love Not War.” The Hippie Movement, 30 Apr. 2015,

5 thoughts on “Processual Flower”

  1. I think this was a solid post, and I think your ideas about the flower as a processual form of memory is really interesting. Your post looks good and uses exciting images and videos, which definitely adds to the appeal. There are a few grammatical errors throughout, so I would just read through and make sure it sounds like you want it to, and if you have time I would develop your argument about the Flower Power image a bit because if you could flesh it out I think it would be really compelling. Awesome job!

  2. Really interesting to learn more about the use of flowers in protests. My site of memory, the raid and protest of a gay bar in Los Angeles, involved a flower protest, so it was interesting to be able to make that connection.

  3. I really like your post, and felt that the video as well as the images really enhanced your argument, especially because the ‘flower power’ is perhaps best described as a visual phenomenon. With that being said, I found your comment on the usability of the memory interesting. What was once a simple flower is now a symbol of peace and love, and with the rise of media (as seen in your video and photos), these images can have very powerful, politically-charged messages much larger than the actions being completed in the photographs themselves. The use of flowers in protests in the last fifty years has come to reference, indirectly, the same ideas that the Hippie Movement conveyed. All in all, I think it was a cool site of 1968 memory to examine. My only question would be maybe was ‘flower power’ effective, or was it just a retrospective nominalization of the Hippie Movement that gave meaning to something that at the time, was not regarded as nearly as significant?

  4. I think your post was interesting because it provided the story between the vibrant colors of flowers and hippies that I hadn’t thought about. I also enjoyed reading your connection that you made with the use of flowers for peace back in the 1960’s and the examples of peace from today. I think we forget that things that happen today have deep roots in history.
    My post is also about hippies and counterculture but the ugly side of it, so this post is a nice contrast.

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