Three Questions About Hipsters: Defining Hipster Culture, the Origins of the Sub-Culture and Why Many People Do Not Like Hipsters
Who and where are they?
The Millennial generation seems to divide themselves between hipsters and non-hipsters. I see hipster culture as having a large influence Millennial culture and values. While many people do not consider themselves a hipster, many commercials targeting Millennials, portray people in the commercials who look like hipsters. I've seen one Barcardi commercial over and over with a bunch of people partying in this mobile house who all fit the description. The clear message is: "Look at all these Millennials hanging out, while you are at home watcing TV."
Yet few people will talk admiringly of hipsters or self-identify as one without qualifying it in some way. Do Millennials live by the Kiekegaard's words of "Once you label me, you negate me?" I've asked 3 questions here that I am curious about discussing. I would love to hear your opinion and stories about hipsters in the comment section below or by email.
1. What is a hipster?
I've included below a photo that was included in Paste Magazine in December of 2009. This photo was in Paste Magazine's "Decade in Review" issue that looked at the entire decade from 2000-2010. Here we see "evolution of the hipster" identifying trends of emo and "scene" kids which influenced hipster culture. What I like about the photo is that it characterizes the style of hipsters. The photo is a visual definition of what a hipster looks like.
In the summer of 2013, I visited my friends Brian and Melissa who live in downtown Denver, Colorado. I considered Denver a city full of hippies, hipsters and other Millennials like myself. That's why I went, I figured I would meet people like myself. However one day Melissa said "Yea, well I like Denver a lot, but I don't know how I feel about the hipsters here in Denver. Hipsters don't like children. They judge parents of young children." When she said this, I said "But, aren't you and Brian hipsters?" In my opinion, I thought Brian and Melissa were hipsters by the way they dressed and their way of life. Melissa's statement implied that she did not consider herself part of hipster culture, yet knowing my friend Brian, his music, style and movie tastes seemed to align with hipster culture.
Perhaps there was an elite Denver tribe of hipsters that Brian and Melissa compared themselves to. This wasn't the only time I've heard people say "I don't like hipsters," but at the same time seem to be hipsters themselves. Hippies seemed to be identified by their environmentalism, music and their nonconformity. Yet hipsters may be defined in their cultural tastes than their beliefs or being seen as a "movement."
What are the core characteristics that define a hipster? If you could name three characteristics of hipster culture, what would they be? In comparison to the values of hippies what are the beliefs and values of hipsters?
2. What created hipster culture?
The first time I saw a hipster was in 2001 when I saw the Strokes play live on MTV. I saw the way the band dressed, the way they carried themselves on stage and was like "What is this?" "Who is this guy?" Julian Casablancas, the lead singer, gave an intense vibe of coolness and this kind of apathetic, lack of self-consciousness that many rock stars naturally have. As an 18 year old I could not help but think "Man I want to be those guys. I want to be that confident." I eagerly waited the name of the band and song title, which was the song "Last Nite."
Many people listened to band such as Dashboard Confessional or Something Corporate in 2001 to 2003, but as the decade went forward, emo unfortunately faded out. If you ask a hipster today if they liked emo in 2002 (high school), they would probably deny it or explain how their musical tastes evolved. If you compared the incredible "coolness" of Julian Casablancas from the Strokes, with utter sincerity of Chris Carraba from Dashboard Confessional, you would see two contrasting values of hipsterdom. Who doesn't want to be cool (and admired) by others yet also be considered authentic and taken seriously? Yet in the end, I think the authenticity shown in emo was thrown aside for the sake of appearance of "being cool," not to say some music could have both. The desire to be both authentic (or vulnerable) and cool (or confident) are two characteristics I think that mark hipster culture.
I've focused on musical influences of hipsters. There are other categories of culture to consider as well. What cultural movements or historical events shaped hipster culture in terms of beliefs and values? What cause and effect relationships exist? Do you agree or disagree that authenticity and the appearce of confidence are core hipster characteristics?
3. Why do people hate hipsters?
This is the question I am most interested in because I admire parts of hipster culture. I often feel a need to defend them, not always sure why. Hipsters are a large part of music culture today and as you can tell from my analysis above, I love music. I want to see musicians thrive and make excellent music so I can listen to it. In a way, if hipsters cannot make music, then I cannot listen to it. I cannot dismiss or hate something that I admire. I think answering questions 1 and 2 will only help the discussion on why some people do not like hipsters. I've included a more recently photo from a 2015 issue of Paste Magazine, identifying more recent types of hipsters.
Do you love or hate hipsters? What are the strengths and flaws of hipster culture? Are people turned-off by this subculture because of personal experiences? Internet culture? Television and movies? Which are better: hippies or hipsters?