In the 1950’s we had the beat, in the 1970’s we had hippies, and in 2000’s we have hipsters; all alike in their progressive ways hipsters are just a modern spin off of beatniks and hippies of their representing eras. In discovering this contemporary subculture, there are many negative conations to being called hipster, but their ideals have become something to admire of modern society.
Over the last few weeks I have observed and asked around for a definition on what a hipster is. Depending on who you asked, a hipster is “hipster scum. Like, ‘Die hipster scum,’”; when I asked why “scum,” he replied, “Because they’re dirty. They are like the 2000 version of a hippie, just not clean.” Then there was a definition that pointed me in the right direction, “A hipster as a step up from a scene kid: a little trendier, bold attitude, shops at Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, has a pair of those ridiculous nerd glasses, wears a lot of plaid…,”; although the definition did not paint the picture I wanted it too, at least it provided a description of the people I am looking for. Hipsters tend to gather in the more progressive parts of the city, so with that in mind I headed to the most progressive city in Colorado- Boulder. There I found that the stereotypical description fit most the occupants on the Pearl Street Mall, but most of the hipsters I found there did not have the attitude of scum.
I could see the lack in appeal of hipsters; they tend to be extremely liberal, well educated, pretentious, and pretend like they do not care about the world around them. Our society throughout history has always been resistant to change, and the social aspect of hipsters will not settle with the general public. According to UrbanDictionary.com, “Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers,” (Parasuco, 2007); this perfectly describes the mind-set of hipsters. Their ideal of rejecting mainstream commercialism and ignorance, which is hard to find in a society that recycles cultures of regurgitated material and call it new. The whole idea behind hipsterism is individuality; having the balls to stand up for what you believe in, making a difference, and fighting gravity are what being a hipster is all about.
There are some guiding forces in being a hipster and the most dominant of them is music. Hipsters listen to music that no one else would listen to. This sound will not be heard on the radio or a show advertised on a commercial, because the audience of Top 40 radio will not react well with it. When listening to hipster bands you would hear similar sounds that sound like they came out of their toy box. Another guiding force will be the attitude. A hipster projects an “effortless cool,” (Parasuco, 2007); this just adds to the stereotypical descriptions of a hipster, but stands for something much more beyond vanity. The “effortless cool,” is part of being a hipster because in our society people try so hard to look good; we pay $50 dollars to get our hair done, we spend $5 for a cup of coffee because of where it came from, and we spend hundreds of dollars on clothing that in a year or two will throw away because it is out of style. The “effortless cool,” comes natural in hipsters, because they know that there are better issues to focus on in this world than vanity.
Hipsters are people who do wear lots of plaid, nerdy glasses, and have pretentiously bold attitudes, but they are also a people who care very deeply about the world around them and do not give a damn about ignorance.