My blog’s name is “Hipstercrite”.
I often write about hipsters for my website and others.
Those articles are often my most trafficked.
They’re also the ones that evoke the most wrath.
I can go off about our empathy-challenged Governor or how scared I am of the Republicans, but neither of these subjects compare to the flack I receive for writing about hipsters.
I recently wrote an article for CultureMap about the “10 Most Hipster-Inspired Restaurants, Food Trucks and Bars in Austin“.
It led to a slew of negative comments, though it’s currently one of the site’s most read articles.
My favorite comment being, “The worst part about hipsters is that they’ve led to the existence of Hipstercrite”.
People often comment on how much they dislike hipsters, how hipsters are ruining Austin, how smug hipsters are, etc.
I (not surprisingly) have people that simply won’t read me because of my writing moniker. They make sure to tell me this. They make sure to tell me how stupid my name is, how stupid I look with a mustache ring in my blog avatar and how stupid my pop culture content is.
They despise the word “hipster” and everything it stands for.
It surprises me how much anger the word can cause. How much bottled up hatred exists for young people who go against the norm. It is often the sort of aggression that I feel should be reserved for, oh, I don’t know, people who are actually bad in this world. I’m not talking about just making fun of hipsters (we all love doing that). I’m talking about full-fledged “Die Hipsters Die!” chanting.
Yes, Austin is filled with hipsters, as are many other popular cities. Yes, hipsters have non-conforming interests and tastes. Yes, sometimes they look too cool for school. Yes, sometimes they grow up to be yuppies and open themed bars and gastropubs.
So, with what I mentioned above, why all the hate?
How does a non-conforming person who dresses uniquely and who may or may not one day open a gastropub deserve so much ill will?
What is it about them that bothers you so much?
From what I can see, nothing. Did they run over your cat? Did they make fun of your hair? Did they take away your rights?
Hipsters are (sometimes) our city’s thinkers, innovators, movers and shakers. They may grow up to open a mustache-themed restaurant, or they may grow up to invent a smartphone app that donates money to starving children. They may sit around cafes for no apparent reason with holes in their jeans, or they may start a fair trade clothing line out of the back of their garage. They may be the ones to fight against old buildings being torn down, they may be the young person voting, they may be the one who actually concerns themselves with listening to NPR and the news and they’re probably the ones shopping locally and humanely.
We all have different definitions of the word hipster and the one I have really isn’t that bad (though I do enjoy making fun of people who wear frumpy vintage rompers). I don’t see where suggesting that a non-conforming young person is stupid or wrong is very conducive.
I’ll probably never stop writing about hipsters because people love hearing and talking about them.
And if you’re rolling your eyes at this post, I guess I’ve proved my point.
What you’ve written offers thoughtful discourse to the pushback against hipsters, though, real talk: hipsters aren’t loathed for their tastes or views. People have very valid reasons for hating them. google “hipster racism” “gentrification” or any other hot button topics that intersect w/ hipsterism and you’ll see it’s not simply a matter of shade and snark. Thoughtful discourse from outsiders has basically been reduced to shade because it hurts white hipster fee-fees.
This, this, this.
I agree with both of you, but I’d also like to point out that in Austin, hipsterdom isn’t necessarily color or class blind.
You should ask the people who *used to* live or own businesses in East Austin about that…
If you’re referring to yourself, I’d love to hear more.
What’s silly about this discussion, though, is that “hipster” is a term that almost no one self-applies. It describes someone who draws upon any of a couple hundred wildly different social identifiers, ranging from the utterly innocuous (cheap beer! skinny jeans! mustaches! an appreciation for certain musicians!) to the subtly or overtly pernicious (gentrification! “ironic” racism! a noxious sense of entitlement!) to the genuinely beneficial (caring that your products were built/grown/etc in an ethical manner! choosing not to drive a car!), and paints them all with the same brush.
And, you know, there’s no need to shed tears for the poor stereotyped kids who get branded a hipster for exhibiting any of these totally divergent behaviors — people with real problems get called much worse things all the time. But it does serve to highlight why any discussion of “are hipsters good or bad” is ultimately short-sighted: the word is an epithet used to shame people for things that may or may not be even remotely shameful, and so talking about it like it’s an actual group leaves out anyone who doesn’t look in the mirror and see a proud hipster staring back — which is to say, EVERYBODY.
(See also: http://www.theonion.com/articles/two-hipsters-angrily-call-each-other-hipster,5230/)
The only people who self-identify as hipsters are people who are responding to the fact that they exhibit some of those behaviors, and it’s always self-deprecating (or, like, a misguided attempt to “take back” the term, so they don’t feel ashamed) — no one anywhere proudly proclaims her- or himself a hipster and uses the term without baggage. It only ever means something in its context as an insult, which means that the group that it purports to describe doesn’t really exist. (Even whiteness is hardly a true identifier of hipsterism — there’s something problematic about pegging the hipster-behaviors to whiteness, as well, as it marginalizes non-white folks who like indie rock or rolling their own cigarettes or whatever.)
Of course it is reasonable to discuss gentrification, or supposedly-ironic racism, in the context of young, white, urbanites who tend to receive a cultural pass for those behaviors — that critique is both important and welcome. But focusing it on “hipsters” is a losing proposition, because no one you’re talking to or about views themselves that way. A group that does not have members who self-identify is a group that does not really exist.
This is pretty much everything I wanted to say and then some.
However, I would argue that it’s a group that most definitely exists, whether people identify that way or not.
Also, getting back to the post, I would not say that hipsters tastes and interests are “non-conforming”, since they conform with each other. I don’t have a good answer as to where all the hatred comes from, although arguments about privilege are definitely relevant. Maybe it’s just a bunch of olds getting mad that their barista, with her stupid glasses and ugly clothes, is judging them too harshly?
I think there’s also a level of disconnect too with the authenticity/sincerity of hipsters. (Their love of irony is definitely not helping.) Many hipsters are Gen-Y kids searching for connection and “real” experiences and come off seeming more phony and desperate than ever.
This post smells like hipster. What he failed to say was he doesnt identify with the term hipster in a manner so as to suggest “we defy description”. The funny thing is he described it to a t in about 8 or 10 descripters. Go to any somewhat large trendy area and you could give those same 8 or so descripters to a person whos never heard of hipsters and they could point one out if they were wearing camo skinny jeans standing behind a bush. And yes there are people that have never heard of you. To which you would roll your eyes and comment because they have no style. I think the reason people dislike hipsters is because they seem to act as if their somehow better that everyone else. Sad really they for the most part look like dumpster divers. I nearly prefer the grunge look. blick…
I would disagree. Hipsters aren’t “non-conforming” everything is Hipster these days! You can pick that mustache ring up at Target! Hipster is the norm now – from fashion, to music, to kombucha and biking and whatever else in between. I mean, am I right? I feel like the non-conforming are those who are still trying to be themselves and wear khakis if they want to, even though we all know colored pants with a french cuff are so much more in! Maybe that’s just my take of what I see out and about. Maybe I’m so hipster I only hang at hipster places so hipsters are all I see, but that’s the truth! Ha!
Love it. Also loved your 08/30 “I am not a girl” post. I’m almost 26 and a 5th generation Austinite…and it’s easy to shake a fist in the air and hate on hipsters, but for the fact that most of the people I know (including myself) probably identify more with the hipster mentality (but not those whacky vintage what-is-THAT? garmets). My Dad, also a native, was a 70’s almost-hippy with a beard…and he still is rocking the ‘stache today from Tarrytown.
Hey Aly! Thanks for stopping by! You should submit your pops to a Dad w/ Mustache tumblr page!
My boyfriend has such a disdain for hipsters, but I keep trying to tell him the fact that he hates them so means that he kind of is one. I hesitate to make some Jeff Foxworthy-esque “you might be a…” type joke, but everyone belongs to some stereotype whether they like it or not. No person exists inside of a vacuum, although how hipster would that be?
There’s no good or bad hipster, there are just hipsters and it’s the individual that’s the real asshole.
Being a hipster is far from being a non-conformist. If anything, being a hipster requires a cultivated sensibility. Hipster-dom is widespread and even mainstream. It’s another social category, like yuppies or jocks or whatever. It’s not particularly special to anyone other than hipsters. Hence the irritation that they cause – self satisfaction is not an admirable quality, even if someone starts a Fair Trade t-shirt biz in their garage.
And that hits on the final point I’ll make. Hipsters aren’t just offensive because they’re so darn pleased with their sunglasses/outfit combination. It’s also because of the inherent class issues. Hipsters are usually white, usually middle class, usually privileged in ways they don’t recognize. Starting a gastropub or a small t-shirt business isn’t something that people of all economic classes would be able to do, but hipsters fail to acknowledge their advantages in life, or even to see that they’re joining a trend. Self-obsession leads them to hyper focus on themselves and self-satisfaction takes it to the extent of snobbery and general ignorance about the ways in which other people may or may not express themselves.
Sure hipsters aren’t all terrible, but some of them are really making ya’ll look bad.
I could be wrong, but when I interpret that comment, I don’t think the person necessarily dislikes hipsters, it seems more like they just really dislike you.
Perhaps rather than defending hipsters, you should really be defending yourself and why you should even be an authority on the subject.
I don’t hate hipsters. I just hate being around them because they are all so much cooler than me and I come off as really lame in comparison. Also I am intimidated by all of their music knowledge and feel like I am always being judged for my boring outfit and lack of vinyl collection.
So really it’s not them – it’s just my own insecurities.
1) My main beef with Hipsters: They have stolen my family’s long tradition of having beards and mustaches. Why is my stache style suddenly ironic? Because some grad student in Portland with a fixed gear bike thought it would be neat to grow one a decade ago.
2) Hipster is the antithesis of non-conformity.
3) It paints too broad of stroke. Within Hipsterism itself there are so many – what I guess could be called- sub-genres. To me, we are all hipsters. If you are single(ish), go out on the town, between 17 and 35, like music, educated, wear (somewhat) today’s fashion and have access to the internet; you are probably considered a hipster by someone.
Oh man, do I have incoherent thoughts about this.
I think what bothers people who hate hipsters is their perceived attitude of superiority… and like every stereotype, there is a source for their anger. Some “hipsters” are smug and look down on people for their music taste and sense of fashion. And that sucks.
But… that’s not all hipsters. Not every person who lives in a place like Austin, Brooklyn, or Silver Lake judges people just because they’d rather see The Dark Knight Rises than Moonrise Kingdom (I prefer to see both). Not every hipster only listens to obscure indie rock bands… some of them love Neil Diamond as much as they love Animal Collective, and like him just as unironically as your mom and grandmother do.
And the idea of conformity vs. non-conformity… the “hipster look” of vintage T’s, flannel shirts, asymmetrical haircuts, thick glasses, beards, and mustaches has become sort of the norm for middle class and mostly white people in their early 20s- mid 30s in most big cities. People are conforming to a style and subculture that feels unique and non-conformist… but again, that’s nothing new. That’s just the history of subcultures and fashion trends.
And I do think a lot of the hatred and derision for hipsters comes from insecurity of people who worry they’re not cool enough. Plus most people who point out how much of a hipster other hipsters are usually turn out to be hipsters. It’s a feedback loop…
Check this out for further reading:
I’m making an anti-hipster movie.
Hmmmmm… something struck a chord here.
While I’m definitely not a hater, I have definite reservations about hipsters …and what they do to the economy. More precisely how they affect demand, particularly for things that are not in great supply, and thus create an inflationary effect.
I think Dan has an interesting point. “Hipster” is more often than not, a term that is assigned to a person, rather than claimed by them. As such, it’s pretty arbitrary to lump them all together and critique their behavior. I think that hipsters are cut from the same cloth as all the other counter-cultural movements we’ve seen, i.e. beatniks, hippies, punks, etc. Over time, the image gets distilled to something very identifiable, but hipsters aren’t there yet. For now, they are just the alt crowd. I, for one, don’t consider myself a hipster, but there are plenty of people who would disagree because of the bars I like and the music I listen to. I have a feeling this is the case with many people who’ve been assigned to that stereotype. I just like cheap drinks, facial hair, bicycles, and music that would never wind up on KISS-FM. As for smugness and self-satisfaction: welcome to Merica. That attitude will exist in every cross section of every social group in the country. I just don’t think personal taste has anything to do with how good or bad of a person you are. As an aside: I really do like the mustache ring… maybe I am a hipster…?
and here it is again I defy description. Honestly you dont youre a hipster. Its one of those either you are or your not.
Hilarious how bent out of shape people get over this subject. Aren’t hipsters just another subculture defined by their anti-mainstream choices of music, fashion, and popculture? It’s just the modern equivalent of hippies, punks or goths. The thing about all of them is that they take themselves (maybe too) seriously, look silly in photos a decade later, and instill a little unfounded fear in older generations.
I say cheers to the hipsters and to the cities where they thrive. And if people boycott based on your blog name, they might not be smart enough to be reading it anyway.
its real eccentrics that make things happen. People who are innovative and progressive, not some doucher wearing lensless glasses reading Proust. Its people who dont give a shit if they are called a hipster or not. That is why your whole website it pointless. Your article is full of irony, in the fact that you are identifying a group who in fact is completely exclusive, not “non conformist” at all!
Honestly I think the irritation is that really what “hipster” boils down to is passion. People have who a passion about something. People who suck the marrow out of life.
There are a lot of people who passionately don’t want to be reminded that they are do nothing more than sitting. Watching the clock on the wall of their life slowly spin towards their death.
I think that’s where the hatred of hipsters comes from. It’s a hatred of people who make us feel bad for not doing and expecting more from our lives.
“How does a non-conforming person who dresses uniquely and who may or may not one day open a gastropub deserve so much ill will?”
Because they are the worst kind of conformers: ones who smugly believe they are unique and non-conforming… as they all wear the exact same “unique” clothes, identical ironic facial hair, visit the same bars, etc, etc, etc.
They way they look and act is 100% dominated by what other people think. Which is the opposite of what they would like you to believe.
Hipsters are identified as spoiled white people who are being ironic merely for the sake of being ironic. This is neither funny, original, nor cute to anyone but themselves.
I think this overdose of irony seems to stunt them emotionally, as well. They do not know sincerity unless it is something that would advance their social status.
They are poseurs who stand for nothing. At least goths and punks had an identifiable music genre attached.
I agree that “hate” is a strong word. Let’s go with “really annoyed by.”
I think you are a terrific and funny writer by the way and this whole hipster-self-identification thing only weighs you down. It doesn’t feel right. You don’t need it and you are better than it. Besides, “hipster” won’t even be a popular word in 2 years and you don’t want to be permanently entangled with that for the rest of your life, do you?
Very interesting. Thanks for the feedback, Theresa. My question to you is, if I’ve been using this moniker for a few years and it seems to get my name around, how do I go about changing it?
Yes to everything Theresa said. Only two things I have to add:
1) “Hipster” as a term to get blog traffic is not going away any time soon. Even if it was “just a trend,” it was a trend that would have been fatal to ignore (for a young person writing about pop culture).
2) To add to Theresa’s reasons for why hipsters are so disliked, I think that many people are just disappointed with them. I, for one, moved to Brooklyn because I had visited the place and seen a lot of cool-looking people in cheap-looking apartments. But when I arrived, I discovered that, not only were the people far less cool than their clothes suggested, their apartments were also unaffordable, and clearly were paid for by other people’s money. Needless to say, it was a huge letdown.
I think people confuse “hipsters” with “elitists.” Elitists are assholes, and some of them are hipsters, but that doesn’t mean everyone rocking skinny jeans and a thrift store t-shirt is a smug jerk.
Your blog rocks 🙂
Thanks, Alexandra! 🙂
jesus was a hipster
If hipsters are non-conforming, I’m not sure what it is they’re not conforming to. There’s a certain echo-chamber quality within the culture (or perceived culture or whatever)that makes most hipsters oddly homogenous despite the different ways it manifests. And I think people chafe what comes across as a really intense need to be recognized as different. Like when a kid wants you to know about a talent they’ve been working on, but they want you to ask about it instead of just saying, “I can draw an awesome cat!”
Maybe it’s a regional thing, but hipsters here in the northeast do a lot of stuff, but it’s again kind of insular. Things that would be quirky are tired almost immediately because everyone gets all excited and wears out the novelty or loses interest before a project comes to fruition. The people doing really interesting, out-there, culture-enriching and/or community-changing stuff are people you’d be hard-pressed to pick out in a lineup. They do their thing and if other people are into it, it’s cool but there isn’t the sort of peacocking that often signals hipster.
I dunno. I’m glad for hipsters if only because I feel like they’ve made my lifelong style of dressing like a kindergartener whose mom let her pick out her own clothes socially acceptable.
I wish I could have read all the comments, but I do agree with Adam R and I hope that’s a genuine comment. I went to art school here in Austin, so even before the term hipster was abounding, I was surrounded by them. I identify with a lot of the same mentalities, enjoy a lot of the same music, but generally have a more mainstream way of dress and lifestyle — probably because I’m not as comfortable in my own skin as they are. So props to them. And they would probably never say “props,” so there you go.
As for your name, I never really identified with you as being a hipster. I took the merging of “hipster” and “hypocrite” to be more…like a hypocritical hipster? And now I’m just not making any sense at all.
Bottom line, you rock. Keep doing what you’re doing. To the haters, give em the old stroke ridden Anthony Hopkins from Legends of the Fall: “SCREW ‘EM!”
Hey, thanks, Leigh Ann! You’re right with the name, but most people just see the “hipster” part, I think? Or they just hate my writing voice. Who knows? I’m learning to deal with the fact that not everyone will jive with what I say. Like you mentioned on Twitter (sorry I haven’t responded yet), even the comments where people just simply don’t agree with you can be tough, even though there is nothing bad about it. Guess it’s a writer’s ego thing, maybe?
I do not call myself a hipster, but most people would.
I wear big glasses, and vintage clothes, I eat local and organic (usually). I recycle and donate to goodwill.
My husband has a lot of facial hair, also wears big glasses and vintage clothes.
we both have a lot of tattoos.
I grew up in Houston, but moved to Austin to better suit my life style…. This all probably makes me a hipster.
However, I am far from racist, I’m also not middle class (we don’t have a whole lot of money to get by on)I’m white and hispanic, my husband is white. I feel like I’m generally a good person with good morals, strong liberal political beliefs, and yes, a fantastic taste in music, film, and art.
I also think most hipsters are conforming non-conformist. I don’t think Lauren is wrong in saying non-conformist, especially in Texas. Austin is a town full of non-conformists, who are confirming to non-conformity…. did that make any sense? I think in general, the people who are classified as hipsters are people who are conforming to the idea of being different then the republican upper class.
I think most ‘hipsters’ would welcome an influx of more hipsters if that means: More people eating local and organic, more people leaning towards human rights, more people leaning towards bettering the earth. Therefore, I don’t think they reject conformity in a sense, but they are different from what the norm was say… 20 years ago.
We are a country of wastefullness, and so that in a sense makes hipsters different.
Yes some of them come from upper middle class families and are racists or just generally not good people, but I think that’s true of any social group.
Stereotypes do exist for a reason, but lets remember that we are individuals and should ony be judged as such.
I think you’re right girl – so much of “hipster culture” (if you would) is people conforming to non-conformity. I agree that the negative connotation is a bit exaggerated but like most other prejudice it’s only there because a small percentage of the demographic is racist, snooty and completely self absorbed. I myself am probably on the cusp of “hipster-dom” if not just because of my think rimmed glasses that I’ve worn for 15 years now (I thoroughly appreciate all the connotations that roll with them)
I think the select few hipsters that TRY to be hipsters are ruining it for everyone. I work as a bartender and meet lots of super awesome friendly hipsters and I also meet snooty, rich assholes what think PBR on draft is a good idea and don’t make eye contact with me while they skip the tip and talk about their hybrid cars. We all are who we are – the stereotypes are just easier to notice.
Part of the problem here is that “conformity” and “nonconformity” are inherently relative; without a reference point they’re too vague to be descriptive.
Everybody has an identity, part reality and part embellishment, that is based on their ideals and aesthetics. Sometimes, these clash with a person’s surroundings while approximating the norm somewhere else.
The people I’ve known who got the most grief for being hipsters were indeed attempting to embody values that clashed with their surroundings: they wanted to be aesthetes and dandies in a society where the norm was proletarian or lower middle class. And the bad odor surrounding the angry reaction is the smell of resentment.
(Because most people DO feel imprisoned by class, and the signifiers ARE manipulable. Someone who manipulates them to create a “false impression” is crossing an imaginary boundary that others are trained to remain within.)
“hipster” style and music is at the forefront of what is popular. Have you seen what “mainstream” people wear lately? does anyone even care? hipster isn’t a dirty word to most people anymore.
Right on Lauren!
the only problem i have with “hipsters” is that for many years…(i am 50)…many of my friends have done all those things you describe…fight the norm, think outside the box, support good causes, etc…
they fought for neighborhoods or move into them to change them (oak cliff in dallas, east austin in the early 90s)…and make them better…not to take over.
they did it because that is who they were not because they were part of a group.
and now, the hipsters have moved in and taken credit.
those others did the “unhip” work and the hard work…then, the hipsters came in…look at the cool neighborhood i moved into…
Hipsterdom, as far as I can tell, is a very specific thing that’s distinct from being “arty” or “alternative” or being into local produce. Very few people hate on artists or locavores for their own sake, except that those things have been embraced by hipsters. So what makes hipsters different? I think it comes down to two major things:
1. Hipsters generally have better financial resources than the people they seek to be associated with, part of a general craving for “authenticity.” Therefore they cultivate habits (cheap beer, indie clothing, etc.) that would normally fall into a lower tax bracket, which leads directly to…
2. Hipsters are THE textbook example of postmodernism, in that they don’t just choose to wear, say, a bow tie, but call attention to the idea of the bow tie they’re wearing (a.k.a. “irony”). They cultivate the cultural associations and meta-meaning of everything they do. And this, I think, is what offends the people around them, who see hipsters appropriating blue-collar culture with a weird half-wink.
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