Hipsters of Today and Tomorrow

By: Zack O

“Hipster” has been an interesting term to me since I first started hearing it in high school no more than 4 years ago. I wasn’t sure what it meant then and am still not exactly positive on what it really means. But I guess the beauty of being human is being able to create one’s own meaning. I couldn’t pinpoint why, but every time the term hipster found its way into my conversations, my peers would find negative connotations behind it. I’d like to think that I’m not very judgmental; therefore I look for the character of the individual rather than group multiple people together that may have no more in common than they wear skinny jeans and thick-rimmed glasses. It seems to me that the fastest way to find a hipster is to look at what they’re wearing, which in reality is one of the first things we notice when we see someone. But fashion only accounts for one element of a person. I mean, I owned an American Apparel hoodie before I had even heard “hipster”, so I may have inadvertently been a hipster whenever I wore it.

It’s interesting to me that Hipster is a term that people are so hesitant to label themselves as. I guess it sort of goes against their ideology of individualism, and once they admit that they belong to a certain group they lose that individualism. While I support the idea of being an independent thinker and an individual, why is it so bad to be part of a group? This week’s readings online speaks of B-boys and B-girls, hippies, and the anti-capitalism punk rock era. All subcultures created decade after decade, though the difference is that the people in these groups were loud and proud of their involvement with the group and weren’t ashamed to admit it. I’m not saying everyone is ashamed to say they are a hipster, I read a fellow blogger’s post that read “Hipsters are everywhere and nowhere”. It contradicts the hipster’s ideology to say that you belong, so I feel that they don’t want to admit to any type of conformity just for the sake of being on the “other side”.

I’ve never lived anywhere but Portland, so the quantity of hipsters I see, as pop culture has taught me to point out, is always high. Portland has always been an eco-friendly city as long as I can remember, and there were environmentally conscious people here before hipsters came to be. But once there was this fancy new term to categorize people, it became the hip thing to do to label someone a hipster. So what that they ride bicycles and don’t drink out of plastic water bottles, people have been doing so for years, but it’s the job of language to make categorizing those people easier.

This whole open-ended discussion of hipsters has really made me reflect on pop culture’s past and its future. If hipsters today are just appropriating trends from previous generations, and are really just a regurgitation of over 50 years of pop culture, I wonder what will be the product of the hipsters of pop culture in 2030.

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