Over Generalizations of the Hipsteresque

What is a hipster?

I asked five of my friends “What is a hipster?” and I got 5 different answers. For some, it’s behavior. For others, it’s what you own. For yet another group, it’s lack of personal hygiene and for many, it’s a subjective congomerate of any untold number of things purely comprised of what they’ve been exposed to in greatest frequency.

Descriptors you might hear when the term “hipster” is introduced into conversation:

  • V-necks and skinny jeans
  • San Francisco dwellers
  • Liberal Arts degree holders
  • Purely aesthetic suspenders

What is a hipster if you have your own definition, but other people think it’s merely owning an apple product and frequenting a non-Starbucks coffee shop?

It seems as though the “hipster” label can’t make up it’s mind. At times, it appears as though it refers to anything semi-trendy. Other times, it’s purportedly anti-trend. All are carelessly attributed to the hipster label. If everything is hipster, isn’t nothing hipster?

I’m a self-ascribed hipster, but it’s almost out of irony (does that make me even more of one?). Yes, I have an ampersand tattoo, but I don’t wear thick rimmed glasses. Yes, I regularly carry a satchel that practically contains a mobile art studio everywhere I go, but I don’t have elitist music tastes. Yes, I wear TOMS shoes, but I also shower regularly.

Five years ago, it was “emo”. Remember that term? You used to hear it on a daily basis and now it’s all but dissipated. The over-enthusiastic hipster-labeling frenzy too will pass. But the people will not. The people remain. They are still humans. We are all still unique in our own ways.

For now, I’m a hipster. I’m ok with that. I may not fit all the criteria, but who does?

I’m okay with being called a hipster, because, for me, it’s not about being a hipster. I’m not trying to fit a mold, I’m just enjoying life and being me. If some of that falls within an existing category, then why not celebrate that category? I’m not talking about over-glorifying it, but I’m certainly not bothered by it. Others spend little to no effort labeling, why should I spend any more time caring about their flippant labeling?

Some of you may be questioning me right now for owning what you believe to be a derrogatory label. To me, the term is so watered down, it’s to the point where it means literally whatever you want it to mean. For this reason, I’m well beyond being concerned about it; it’s actually quite humorous to me.

People label things because it makes them feel as though they understand it. However, this compartmentalization oversimplifies necessarily complicated attributes. You label someone a hipster, because you can very easily put in them inside your mental hipster box and reassure yourself that you have them figured out and you can move on. People are more than that though.

Labels exist, but they’re silly for the most part. I say let’s just be people. Let’s see others as people. Let’s enjoy our similarities. Enjoy our differences, even. Instead of putting people in convenient boxes that serve no useful purpose for getting to know someone, let’s actually get to know someone.

Food for thought: Does writing this blog post make me a hipster? Think about it. I’m kidding, don’t. Go get some work done.

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By Sean McCabe

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