Hipsters try to stay out of the mainstream, but the popularity of being a hipster incidentally may have made them stuck right in the middle of its current. Hipsters may not follow the latest trends and fashions, but being a hipster has become a fad in itself. Also, they may not associate themselves with what’s “cool” by the majority or identify themselves as popular, but they are all the rage right now and it is hard to deny the signs that it’s becoming more common to be different than normal. Are hipsters still outside the cultural mainstream or are they changing what it means to be mainstream?
First, what exactly is a hipster? Here are a few insights and definitions:
- A person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream (Google).
- A hip (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
- The hipster subculture is one of affluent or middle class young Bohemians who reside in gentrifying neighborhoods broadly associated with indie and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift-store bought clothes), generally progressive political views, organic and artisanal foods, and alternative lifestyles (Wikipedia).
- 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 (Urban Dictionary).
All of these definitions have similar points; mainly that hipsters enjoy things that aren’t generally considered popular. But, though they used to not be popular, does that still hold true today? I’m not so sure. Independent thinking is also a main topic addressed. Liberalistic ideals have always been popular within the younger 20’s to lower 30’s. And finally, many of the definitions mention a love for alternative, indie clothing and music. These are both things that have become a staple for younger age groups. As a result, I am starting to feel that hipsters are no longer a minority. I am definitely not saying this is a bad thing, because I fall within this group. Rather, I am saying that this is a good thing and we should embrace the growing interest of all things considered to be hipster.
However, I do have one issue with the concept of being a hipster: though there is a sense of belonging and communality within the group, it can be isolating. Being against the mainstream is not a bad ideal to have if practiced correctly. When it becomes hurtful is when it creates a in-group (hipsters) and an out-group (those in the mainstream). I agree many things that fall within the mainstream are unoriginal and display a lack of creativity, but instead of shutting those individuals out, it may be more beneficial to include them and instead of being coarse or abrasive, share with them your favorite song, share your polaroid collection, or take them to your favorite local brewery or clothing store. The beautiful thing about all things hipster is that they seem or are honest. Since honesty is a concept that is valued by many, it speaks for itself and most likely will entice them. What I am trying to get at is that it is my hope that this hipster subgroup eventually disappears and becomes the mainstream.
Whether you like it or not, it already is making the transition. Local eateries, clothing stores, and coffee shops are popping up on every corner. Record stores are booming with customers and they are making a comeback. Indie music can be heard on popular music stations and are charting on the billboards. It’s bleeding into everything and anything and that’s because it has not only become a fad but a lifestyle that a lot of people enjoy. Instead of trying with all our might to keep it from becoming the majority, maybe we should share the love and the beauty of what it means to be a hipster. Hipsters are no longer a minority, they are a large group of intellectuals, philosophers, enthusiasts, music lovers, creators, etc. and they are quickly growing within the population. Though they don’t swim with the majority up the mainstream, they all swim together against it and many people are choosing to turn around and do the same; a single-minded group that is changing the direction of what’s cool, in-the-know, and in fashion and though people are catching on and it’s becoming more popular that doesn’t discount that fact that it’s still awesome to be part of a group that is so influential.