If you live in Portland, it is highly unlikely that you have never heard the word “Hipster”: but what does this word really mean, what really is a hipster? Many people take the “title” as an insult, with negative connotations tied to shallowness and trendiness. Hipsters don’t tend to like to be called hipsters, nor will they admit that they are part of the “movement”. But what ties the person to the word? What is the essence of a hipster, if there is an essence at all? Is it a counter culture? Is it a sub-culture? Is it pop-culture? Is it a style? I think that everybody has a different idea about what it means to be a hipster, and
The first thing that I think of when I think of the word hipster is the fashion. Hipsters tend to frequent used clothing and thrift stores. The style is modern, but uses inspiration from past generations. Generally what I visualize in a hipster is skinny pants (probably rolled up a couple times), maybe a band tee shirt or plaid button up, sneakers, some sort of edgy haircut, and maybe retro glasses. I think that the whole thrift store shopping comes from a general dislike of mainstream culture and corporate structure. Hipsters are known to be individual thinkers, and against the stupidity that mainstream culture tends to advertise. I think the epitome of stupidity in mainstream culture is something like Jersey Shore, which has become a major part of pop culture. Hipsters tend to want to be seen as individuals; with individual fashion, thoughts, activities, etc. – so they don’t care to take part in mainstream media. I think that hipsters are against consumerism and more specifically capitalism. This is all sort of shown in what they choose to wear I think, they don’t want to indulge in corporate clothing brands, and would rather buy somebody’s old clothes.
So why is it that the term hipster has grown negative connotations? I think that the TV show Portlandia really shows the ideas that are projected on hipsters. The idea mainly being: these people aren’t realistic, these people follow stupid trends, and these people are something to be laughed at in a way. This really falls along the lines of Psuedo-individualization, but not by corporations, by the hipsters themselves. The idea of “these people” is something that bothers me, because I really don’t like the idea of stereotypes. Grouping people together and judging them as a group, based on sort of external and silly assumptions, is unfair in my opinion. This is true for any sort of stereotype, but the hipster stereotype – while certain aspects like aesthetic sense in clothes are true – seems to run really deeply in society and the act of stereotyping is highly prevalent. I think that it has become a major stereotype like a “Hick”, or a “Bro” – and while certain things run true in both of those as well, the grouping and creating ideas about the group instead of the people is negative in my opinion. It makes these people objects, and in my opinion leads to great divisions in society. There is not a common understanding between “groups” because everybody has these ideas not about individual people, but about what they think that person represents. These “opposing” groups tend to have negative or laughable ideas of the other groups, when the actual people they are judging may not have any sort of connection to the ideas being created. Like not all “hicks” are unintelligent, twangy speaking, farmers – but that seems to be something people think of when they think of the south. Why is it that people tend to get grouped together like that? The media probably has a huge part in this. When stereotypes are portrayed in the media, they are often seen as objects to ridicule, and are easily identifiable. Does the media try to create separations between people on purpose? That would be a really interesting study, I’m sure.
The hipster sub culture, to me, is one that is generally good. While there are trends, sure, they have roots in positive ideas. Hipsters are probably good for this Earth, better than the Jersey Shore people, I think.
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