I bemoan the fact that the Millennial generation has come to be identified with a single figure – the hipster. The more pervasive hipsters become and the more ironic they get, it becomes increasingly and increasingly more gratifying to hate on hipsters.
First, if you don’t know what a hipster is, Urban Dictionary (always a trusty source of scholarly work) states that “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.” This, I believe, was written by a hipster. Witty banter?? More like nonstop sarcasm and eyerolls. Most people (myself included) don’t portray them with quite so much flattery.
This NYTimes Opiniator piece describes the hipster as “manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself” and as a “contemporary urban harlequin [who] appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone)… The hipster is a scholar of social forms, a student of cool. He studies relentlessly, foraging for what has yet to be found by the mainstream.” The hipster is awkward, self-conscious, and by god, s/he is ironic.
With a characterization such as this, it’s no wonder why the hipster is an easy target for mockery. For me, it is the irony and hypocrisy that kills me. The hipster is a walking contradiction. While wanting to be counter-culture and underground the hipster expresses the fact s/he definitely does not support brand names and mainstream living by ironically embodying those exact elements. So instead of displaying who they are as individuals, the hipster only shows what they are not. So it would be a different thing if they bought locally designed clothes, or organic vegetables from their neighborhood farmers market, or went about supporting those unknown things they love. But instead, the hipster has to make a public statement of who they are by having all the material things they supposedly are against. It’s so contradictory, it makes my skin crawl. It’s become a vapid, empty shell of individuality where it is not the substance and your behavior that matters, just what you wear, what you buy, and if you’re ironic about it.
Granted, there are some redeeming qualities of the hipster– they can find pretty cool music, they can have unique, non-conventional style, and sometimes, their irony is pretty funny. But given this, I’d deign to concede these qualities to the hipster and instead describe these genuine folk as indie — as short for independent, something the hipster decidedly is not. The hipster is dependent on the mainstream to define their identity. The true indie person defines them-self by just embodying who they are, independent of trends, social judgment, and not exclusively through material things.
This brings me to the OJBG cast and how Otessa has portrayed her experience of living in DC as a teen in the ’90s. When I see what the cast members in the OJBG episodes, I always appreciate how funky and eccentric their wardrobes are. It reminds of figuring out my style when I was a teen, how I chose to express myself. But what I like most about it, is that it’s genuine. You get the feeling that you really understand who this character is, not only through their behavior and interactions with others, but also through their wardrobe, their hair, their accessories. So besides their irony, this is why I choose to hate on hipsters. They hide behind their ironic tees and curly mustaches and you get the feeling that this person is hollow inside.
But in case this wasn’t enough hipster hating for you, there’s the wonderful Stuff Hipsters Hate tumblr, which entertainingly turns hipster irony back on the hipster themselves. And here is more on the hipster-hate epidemic. Better yet are all the hipster memes here.