My Life As A Quasi-Hipster
What is a hipster? Urban Dictionary tells us that “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.” Or that “they are all cynical assholes who refuse to shower and like to feed on the souls of the innocent.” One of the two.
The popular conception of a hipster is displayed here. Basically, people tend to think of them as skinny-jean-wearing, coffee-drinking, hippies who frown upon anything “mainstream.” They are seen as pretentious, overly intellectual, and not afraid to show it. If some fad seems to be popular, then the classic hipster will tend to immediately dislike it solely for its general popularity.
All that being said, I have been called a hipster on numerous occasions. I promise that I shower. And eat normal food. Maybe it’s the teal mirrored wayfarers, or the TOMs, or the skinny jeans, or the fact that I like almost anything “indie” and dislike most songs played on the radio… It could be any one or a combination of those. To clarify and to dispel more hipster rumours, I do shave, I do not have an overpriced camera, I do NOT use Instagram, and my head is decidedly on top of my neck as it should be and not somewhere else (thanks, though, Urban Dictionary).
Here’s the difference. The stereotypical hipster does exist. It’s a fashion more than anything else (not including the ACTUAL hipster clothing fashion). It’s people out to prove that they’re sentient human beings, which is not necessarily something bad. Where we must draw the line is when they become pretentious, lording it over other people that they know of something before everybody else does, or where they do something simply to stay in line with a label. That makes them just as bad as the “mainstream,” who wear the same clothes as everyone else to fit in.
In my defense of my quasi-hipster-ness, I’d like to explain why I don’t like to follow the norm. It’s not so I can be “cooler” than you. Most of the time, it’s because I genuinely like whatever it is that I’m listening to, buying, or wearing. I own a Mac because I like its ease of use, its look, and its features, not because everyone else has them or because it’s the most expensive. I’m vegetarian because I’m not a huge meat fan and it forces me to be healthier (…..sometimes……). I listen to the bands I do because I find they general have more feeling and soul to them than what’s played on the radio these days. I wear skinny jeans because they’re supposed to slim and lengthen your legs, limbs I don’t have very much of, at 4’11”. I consider myself progressive/liberal because of what my parents taught me and because those ideals fit in with my own the most.
This is not to say I never follow fads, or that my “independent choices” are completely uninfluenced by other people, because that would be untrue. Everything we do is influenced by others. To some degree, I do follow the “hipster” culture, I guess, but it’s not just so I can call myself a label, nor is it to piss people off by displaying my superior intellect or whatever. I really just want to be different, to distinguish myself from scores of other people, to have unique facets of myself, and I can do that by not wearing the same clothes everyone else does, by liking what I like as opposed to what’s popular.
Of course, by all means, if you legitimately like pop music because it’s what appeals to you, then go ahead. We all have different opinions and tastes. But Hipster Me says that if you’re following a fad just because everyone else is, you might want to reexamine your values. Do what makes you you and swim against the current. Be a little nerdy if you want to. Wear whatever the hell you want to, not just what they’re selling in the most expensive, popular stores. Hell, dye your hair green, if that’s what floats your boat (disclaimer: I’ve never actually done this, although one time I tried to dye my hair dark red and it turned an unfortunate purplish-blue colour).
I’m not entirely sure if I’ve made a point here, but I think basically what I’m trying to say is that (a) you can be whoever or whatever you want to, and anyone who talks down to you about it isn’t worth your time, (b) I don’t want you to think I’m a pretentious arse, and (c) I don’t think trying to be different (read: being a hipster) is necessarily bad. Also, I still don’t eat souls. I just want to make that very clear. We all know it’s gingers that do that (jk jk jk).