We didn’t always think of hipsters like this. Urban Dictionary, Webster failed me, gives a pretty good working definition: “Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter . . . [rejecting] the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers.”
I guess I could call myself a hipster. I wear clothes from thrift stores, listen to independent bands, shop at health food stores and read “artsy” books. I don’t watch TV or associate myself with mainstream American culture, but am I really hipster? I just do things that make me a happier and better person. I don’t reject mainstream attitudes and wear mismatched clothing because it’s fashionable; I do those things because that’s a reflection of how I view the world and who I am.
The term is no longer a description of someone who values independent, forward thinking, art and pushing social limits to find where they are comfortable. Being “hipster” has boiled down to merely a description of what you wear and your attitude. This is just a fashion movement; you don’t really have to understand it.
Wikihow even has a page “9 Ways to be a Hipster.” The article reads like it was written for Cosmo, which is incredibly ironic. In a section about accessories, they say, “A simple and cheap way to achieve the eyeglasses look is to pop out the lenses of the thick, 3D glasses that theaters give out for 3D movies. Put on the glasses and you’ve got your eyeglasses! Plus, there won’t be any lenses to get in your way.”
Listen, if you’re trying that hard to look like a hipster, you’ve missed the point. Professor Phil Gordon once said, “If you’re shopping at ‘Hot Topic’ to stick it it to the man, you’ve already failed.”
The principle is the same here. Being hipster isn’t about what you wear or what music you listen to, just like being a nerd isn’t about how many times you’ve seen “The Avengers.”
Hipster is just the latest casualty of fashion mutilating a sub-culture. We see it everyday with other things: Wear a tie-dye, you’re now a hippie; wear boots, you’re a cowboy; sag the pants, you’re a gangster; wear button-up pastels, you’re a hipster.
A true hipster listens to fringe music and shies away from anything you would hear on the local pop radio station. They might know the band and want to support local grassroots artists. They will tell you they honestly like and appreciate the unique style of music, but if you listen to something else, that’s fine too. A fake hipster gets on Pitchfork.com, downloads something from The Strokes, Muse or Mumford & Sons and then scoffs at you for buying into consumerist culture. Everything they listen to is infinitely superior than your pathetic music collection.
To the fake hipsters: Please stop, you’re embarrassing yourselves and irritating everyone.
To real hipsters: Just be patient. The world will get bored of trying to emulate you and eventually go back to USA Today and Justin Bieber.
To everyone else: Allow me to suggest the next fashion trend. Let’s bring back top hats and long white gloves. That would be awesome and hilarious.
Joshua Wartena is a student at Utah Valley University and copyeditor/Assistant News Editor for the UVU Review. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org