Topic Selection by Vanessa Tshionyi-Hipsters

Vanessa Tshionyi


UNST 254

Topic Selection Paper

For this assignment I had many different ideas for topics to choose, but when it came down to pick I had a hard time. I finally decided that I think it would be interesting to study hipster culture, because Portland is a mecca for hipsters. It seems like everywhere you turn you run into a hipster or you hear someone talking about hipsters. Well I think it would be interesting to see what exactly a hipster is and what it means to participate in hipster culture.

I am unsure of when the hipster phenomenon started, but it seems like within the last couple of years everyone either has become a hipster or despises hipsters. There is a lot more to the hipster culture than skinny jeans and flannels.  One term that comes to my mind when thinking about hipster culture is appropriation. Hipsters seem to take certain aspects of popular culture and appropriate them into their own. Hipsters would say that they do not participate in popular culture, but they often take certain aspects, whether it be music or a fashion trend and make it popular among their cultural group. A hipster is someone who rejects the norm, or popular culture and values individuality. Hipsters are a counter-culture and often participate in progressive politics. I think that many people are labeled hipsters because of the way they dress, when in actuality being a hipster is more of a lifestyle. Hipsters often shop second hand or at thrift stores, and express their creativity through their clothes.

I think a misconception of hipsters is that they are stuck up and rude, and not very inclusive, but I think if we looked more in depth at the culture, we would find what actually defines one as a hipster. I know that hipsters would defiantly not call themselves hipsters; it is more of a label that society puts on them. It would also be interesting to look at how hipster culture has influenced brands and stores on marketing towards the masses, with stores like Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. I think that studying a subculture that is so close to home, as Portland has big hipster population would be interesting and something that can be related to the class itself.

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