Lawrence of Arabia is one of the most beloved and inspiring movies of all time, and was immensly popular when in came out in the 60s. One of the main reasons why it stands as one of the best films to this date is due to the audience admiration at the freedom that Lawrence had in his life, at the choices he was given, and at the way he protected the Arabians, whom the audience connected with, from the Turks, whom the audience identified as the big bully goverment.
Jimi Hendrix was a very symbolic man in the 60's and for the Hippie movement. Playing whatever came out of him, smoking weed, and being willing to pop at stuff like Woodstock, the man lived life free from the any restrictions, a major factor in why he was so popular.
The band to most effectively represent the 90's struggle for freedom was Nirvana. They made music because they wanted to, and wrote what ever they were thinking, not what others wanted from them. The song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is their embodiment as it contains lyrics such as "It was hard to find Oh, well, whatever, nevermind." give the feel that the music is just free and flowing through them as opposed to being forced by a record company.
The 50's also saw Mr. Elvis Presley's rise to fame. With his music, Mr. Presley and all his listners strove to free themselves from the sexually repressed society of the 50's. Look at his hips whenever he sings, and you'll clearly see it his struggle in action.
Hippies rebelled against the drug laws, being famously known for advocating the use of "Natural Drugs" like weed, or just doing whatever made them feel alive.
They protested the Vietnam War drafts, coming up with slogans like "Make love, not War," "Never trust the Man, man!", and "Power to the people!" all to show that they wanted the freedom to make their own choices and have their own opinions without the goverments intervention.
The 80's saw the rise of the Punk era. This movement made popular towering, colorful, and spiky hairstyles accompanied by lucrative, ripped up clothing. Most of the extravagence of the era were to free the individual from the notion that everybody should look the same of dress in the same style, or look the same. Everyone was striving to free themselves from being sheep in the flock.
The 90's Grunge movement was personification of that decade's struggle for freedom. Fighting against the notion that you should need to dress ridiculous to make free your self from societal pressure; if you wear clothes, you wear it cause its comfortable, you make music because you want to, and you live the way you want cause that's what YOU want. A person should make their own decisions, or essentialy stay true to your own ideals.
The Hippies were the 60's version of rebelling against authority, as like Elvis and the teens inspired by "The Wild One." The Hippies were the first to openly rebel against the "Big Brother" goverment and society in general for the right to the many human freedoms
Artist that sing about being young and free quickly rise to popularity. One example of such an artist is Nicki Minaj, who's single, "Starships" has become immensely successful, staying in the Billboard Top 10 for several months now. The reasons it and songs similar to it are so popular are that it talks of everybody listening (though mostly aimed at young adults) being "Meant to fly," or to be free, and it encourages the listeners to go and dance rather then chastise them to not do something.
Artist like Mac Miller have been very successful in making music of going against authority figures. Most of his music is explaining that "we're just kids," and that teens should just have fun while they can because you might not get any other chances later on in life.
Teens these days have become ever the more adventurous in exploring the experinces unknown to them. From drinking beer, to smoking weed, to having sex, young adults are increasingly experimenting with these experinces no matter what adults say or think.
YOLO, or "You Only Live Once", has begun to become a slogan for the youth of today. Even shown in the 2000 era movie "Finding Nemo," young adults would rather make their own decisions and get hurt by them then be told what to do, what to think, and how to feel by parents.
The song "Young, Wild and Free," by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Kalifa has recently boomed into being the anthem for all kids who want to do what they want. It simply states that being young means you're entitiled to be wild, make mistakes, have fun, and overall be free from anyone else who says otherwise.
The fact is, the more an authority figure says "No," the more Americans of any era said "YES." American's hate when people tell us what to do without knowing what'll happen or not having a choice in the matter, so their drawn to fight against authority, society, and everyone else who's holding them back. It's in our nature as the inheritors of the sense of freedom of our fore-fathers of the Revolutionary period; we fight for freedom, no matter who we have to fight against.
No matter how powerful, influencial, or even intellectual the figure, today's American youth would go against it if they told them something they can't do. The fact kids these days grow up knowing that their own parents or authority figures grew up doing the exact things they tell their kids not to do is maddening. Due to this fact, kids feel entitled to go on their own adventures and have their own experinces, no matter the danger or number of consequences, such as in the picture above.
The need for the young to stand against societal norms has been taken up by "Hipsters". They opt to listen to obscure music, combine random articles of clothing, such as the trademark thick rimmed glasses, whether or not they have bad eye sight, skin tight jeans, whether or not they're comfortable, and a jacket and scarf, whether its cold or not, and will like things before they became popular. Simply put, they aim to be free of the societal norm via extravagence.