We’re All A Little Bit Hipster

Hipsters, I’m on to you.

While it may be true that I don’t shop primarily in thrift stores or drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, I think I’ve finally uncovered some of the reasons why America is so fascinated with the sub-culture that is Hipster, and why so many young people strive to become a part of it.

In the past, readers of my blog have accused me of being too critical of hipsters in previous posts (here and here), but I promise this post isn’t meant to offend. Interestingly enough, several of my friends have labeled me as a little bit hipster, probably because of my appreciation for plaid, irony and the obscure. Of course, when you take a closer look at me, you’ll see that I’m clearly a product of the mainstream culture — someone who still blogs about Taylor Swift songs, watches more reality television than she should and pretends to be Audrey Hepburn from time to time.

I’d like to argue that we all have our pretentious moments. We want to be able to say, “I listened to that band before it was popular,” because in some way, that will prove to the world that we are free-thinkers and trend-setters. We want to deviate from the mainstream so that we can feel a little more innovative and maybe even sophisticatedTweet this!

The ironic popularization of the hipster sub-culture seems to be a natural transition from the mainstream’s growing acceptance of The Lovable Dork trope of the last decade. Many of us grew up in the 90s, when the ideal was to be popular and cookie-cutter pretty; blondes ranked especially high on the unwritten list of who to aspire to look like, and the boys whose names we doodled on our Lisa Frank notebooks were the ones who looked like they belonged in n*Sync.

But then the 2000s came around and we fell in love with The O.C.‘s Seth Cohen, the intelligent and sarcastic outcast who ultimately won the heart of the Prom Queen. Suddenly, the “nerds” that pop culture once portrayed as unattractive and undesirable became our celebrity crushes, and girls everywhere claimed to be looking for their own nerdy boyfriends (who were usually just good-looking guys in glasses).

Then, in 2009, (500) Days of Summer hit theaters, and suddenly Zooey Deschanel was the new It Girl. Far from the 90s blonde ideal mentioned earlier, Deschanel represented the quirkiness that many girls were able to relate to in some way, and her headbands and funky dresses became staples in boutiques everywhere. Other members of the entertainment world contributed to this trend as well, but the idea of the offbeat person with a unique spin to an outfit appeals to the “innovator” in all of us.

This, of course, brings us to Hipsterdom. Although I would not categorize Seth Cohen/Adam Brody or Zooey Deschanel as hipsters themselves, I believe that the trends they set have contributed greatly to the country’s fascination with hipsters and the desires of many young people to fit into that sub-culture. After all, don’t hipsters support the unknown and unappreciated, the “misfits” who don’t immediately fit into the mainstream?

I would not categorize myself as much of a hipster. But I would, in fact, be willing to bet that most of us have some of those “hipster” qualities within us — in other words, we’re all a little bit hipster. Having said that, try not to let this new label get to your head… even though you knew what a hipster was before everyone else did, this won’t have any effect in the real world. 🙂

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