Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hipster: the new mainstream

It is my observation that the current "hipster" trend, an alleged counter-culture movement is in fact it's own version of mainstream. Urban dictionary defines hipsters as: "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." The last bit is great: "witty banter." However, the portion of the definition that pertains to my thesis is that of counter-culture. My thesis is by no means original or earth-shattering, but I think it's relevant. I find it amusing, being a wanna-be-hipster myself, the lack of originality that I see amongst my "hipster" peers, who's intent is the very opposite of conformity, yet have attained just that. Myself included.

The next part of the Urban dictionary definition goes like this: "Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses." As I sit in Starbucks blogging away on my MacBook, my iphone & a moleskin journal at my side, sporting a flannel shirt and wearing a pair of skinny jeans, I sadly conform to the stereotypical image of "hipster," or so I believe. And my favorite part is the girl sitting across from me who's wearing and doing essentially the same thing, MacBook, flannel shirt, skinny jeans, moleskin and all, except she's got her "hipster" glasses on; I left mine at home today in favor of the contacts. Thus, I help prove my own thesis, sad isn't it?

Again, these observations are not revelatory, but they are, I believe, relevant concepts and ones which I've been stewing over for some time. The more "hipsters" I hang around, the more I realize we are all stereotypically stereotypical, and we like it! But, than again, this shouldn't astound me. It resonates with the very fiber of what it means to be human--to want to belong. i.e. A group. It's the same with any select group or subculture; it's a place to belong, to find identity. I do believe such groups, or subcultures begin as a reaction to what a specific group considers "mainstream;" however, over time, coupled with growing popularity and appeal that same group or subculture inevitably becomes it's own version of mainstream. It happened with the hippies and it's happening with the hipsters. Beware all hipsters: you're not as original as you thought. And neither am I.

I purport that the valuable, core principles of a movement can remain intact despite growing popular appeal and general conformity, but if such principles are to be retained there must be some smaller culture within the subculture itself that remembers and lives what those values are. I may not be a real hipster, per say, but I hope I can aspire, at least somewhat, to the principle that just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean I have to do it too...oh wait, I already did. So much for counter-culture.

1 comment:

Subtle Things said...

I think you've got the soul of a hipster. :-)