Monday, July 23, 2012

Not really Into Hipsters....Or am I?

According to the Urban Dictionary (I'll highlight parts that are appealing and relevant to me in pink and parts I dislike in green):

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. The greatest concentrations of hipsters can be found living in the Williamsburg, Wicker Park, and Mission District neighborhoods of major cosmopolitan centers such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco respectively. Although "hipsterism" is really a state of mind, it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs [I only like on men]. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too "edgy" for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The "effortless cool" urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic. Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in maths and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities. Consequently many hipsters tend to have jobs in the music, art, and fashion industries. It is a myth that most hipsters are unemployed and live off of their parent's trust funds. 
Hipsters shun mainstream societal conventions that apply to dating preferences and traditional "rules" of physical attraction. It is part of the hipster central dogma not to be influenced by mainsream advertising and media, which tends to only promote ethnocentric ideals of beauty. The concepts of androgyny and feminism have influenced hipster culture, where hipster men are often as thin as the women they date. The muscular and athletic all-American male ideal is not seen as attractive by confident and culturally-empowered hipster women who instead view them as symbols of male oppression, sexism, and misogyny. Likewise, culturally-vapid sorority-type girls with fake blond hair, overly tanned skin, and "Britney Spears tube-tops" are not seen as attractive by cultured hipster males who instead see them as symbols of female insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of cultural intelligence and independent thinking. Hipsters are also very racially open-minded, and the greatest number of interracial couples in any urban environment are typically found within the hipster subculture. 
Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals. For example, the surge of jeans made to look old and worn (i.e. "distressed"), that have become prevalent at stores such as The Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Hollister, were originally paraded by hipsters who shopped in thrift stores years before such clothing items were mass produced and sold to the mainstream consumer. The true irony here is that many of the detractors of hipster culture are in fact unknowingly following a path that hipsters have carved out years before them. This phenomena also applies to music as well, as many bands have become successful and known to mainstream audiences only because hipsters first found and listened to them as early-adopters of new culture. Once certain concepts of fashion and music have reached mainstream audiences, hipsters move on to something new and improved. 
Because of the rise of various online photo-blog and social networking sites, insights into urban hipster culture is reaching sheltered suburban audiences at an exponential rate. Cultural "norms" have been deconstructed by hipster culture as a whole. Hipsterism is often dismissed as just an image thing by some, but the culture as a whole is effecting changes in society, leading to feelings of insecurity and resentment in people who are no longer a part of the cultural ruling class. For example, a lot of anti-hipster sentiment evidently comes from culturally-clueless suburban frat boy types who feel that the more sensitive, intelligent, and culturally aware hipster ideal threatens their insecure sense of masculinity. Anti-hipster sentiment often comes from people who simply can't keep up with social change and are envious of those who can.

I said in my previous post that i might like hipsters well...After reading this description I think I would actually like them (look at all that pink!) and get along with them in terms of their thinking, non-conformity to mainstream fashion, and breaking social barriers attitudes. The definition also admits that they are actually conforming to hipster culture, I am conforming to ultra feminine images, and many are opposed to both. I have seen a lot of hipster women wearing vintage dresses that I actually like with bows, cute flats etc. and looking very girly and vintage etc.

I guess in some ways I have many things in common with this description of hipsters. I reject the mainstream image of Black women, feminism, women's fashion, and the hypersexuality of the media. I reject limitations being placed on people based on race (e.g., the way you can speak; who can be your friends, dates, marriage partners, and role models; how you can think; and what your preferences can be). I reject the mainstream telling me that I should do something and I will instead choose to do what is beneficial to me and fits with my values. I am very thrifty and frugal and prefer buying used things, vintage fashion, thrift shopping, and finding new uses for things I already have (I am pretty anti-consumerism). I reject the Eurocentric ideal of beauty and believe women of all ethnicities can be beautiful based on common things (e.g., beautiful hair no matter the texture, clear skin, beautiful smile etc. as written in my previous post). I like to interact with and learn about different cultures and ethnicities and do not limit my friendships or dating based on race. I also don't like having to define myself and want the freedom to just be me. Plus I am very educated, value education and like interacting with educated people who talk about interesting things. I would LOVE to associate with people who don't have preconceived notions of how I'm supposed to be based on my race, age, education, or profession and will just accept me as me.

It's so funny that my best friend (love you) kind of gets down on me for always buying things from thrift stores but I just find so many great things there, even from mainstream stores for such a cheap price, in great condition, sometimes not ever worn (with original labels). I started doing this as a starving student and I see no reason to stop. I HATE the pressure to buy things every season just because the fashion industry says so. I don't get on trends much and instead buy what looks feminine and good on me. Some people (online) are so vehemently against the way I dress because I am rejecting not only the mainstream fashion for women but I embrace a vintage look that rejects feminism, and a look that isn't the norm for Black women in the media. But maybe around hipsters they would actually think this is awesome!

I just looked at some photos of hipster fashion online and I like parts of them but many outfits I saw were just awful, especially on the men. I guess I think the hats are cute and the fake eyeglasses when they aren't too big, and scarves are okay in the fall and winter. I do like thrift store clothes but not when they actually look like they are from a thrift store. But I definitely and FOREVER will not like skinny jeans or when guys roll up their skinny jeans showing their ankles and wearing Oxfords or deck shoes. I guess maybe I just like that a lot of they guys are kind of skinny with floppy hair and the ones I saw on the weekend were very cute. Plus they were smiling, nice, and not intimidating. Here are some random images because I thought they were funny!

Related Articles:
How to be a hipster (wow a lot of this sounds like me!)
Hipster on Wikipedia
What is a hipster (with video)

Vintage dress heaven
Vintage dress collection (love these dresses)
Thrift store haul (this woman should be my personal shopper...seriously I love what she finds)
Top thrift store finds 2011
Professional thrift haul
How to dress modern retro (very cute)


  1. I was extremely surprised when you didn't highlight the part about liberal arts in pink. In the United States, a liberal arts education is seen as the most exclusive, prestigious, and classy form of education that one can receive.

    Perhaps they don't have it in Canada and you're confusing it with an arts education, or you're just not aware, but a liberal arts has nothing to do with arts, all it really means is that you're encouraged to take classes in a number of different subjects so that you graduate being well-rounded and cultured. The point of a liberal arts college is to make you a good speaker, a good writer, and a good thinker.

    That's why the most exclusive and more prestigious universities in the United States, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, are liberal arts education.

    One can get a math or computer science degree from a liberal arts university. All it really means is that when you get a computer science degree from a liberal arts university (like Princeton or Harvard, for example), you take 20 classes to receive your degree but also take classes in lab science, math, language, history, economics, government, etc. in order to graduate.

    So you graduate with a computer science degree or math degree, but you also graduate being able to converse with the natives of a foreign country in their language, you graduate with a sound knowledge of history, you graduate with the ability to intelligently discuss art history and politics, you graduate with a knowledge as to how statistics work, and you graduate knowing a lab science.

    A math or science degree from a prestigious liberal arts university makes you much better educated than a math or science degree from a non-liberal arts school.

    One will have professional knowledge of math or science and then also be more well-educated, cultured, and sophisticated (a whole person with well-rounded knowledge and talents and skills in more than one subject). One will know nothing more than their math and science degree and won't be able to converse in foreign languages, intelligently discuss politics and art history, and wont' have the same well-rounded knowledge or be nearly as well-educated.

    I hope that if you're not aware of liberal arts education or if you confused it with arts, you'd rethink how you represented it. :)

  2. Unfortunately, the most prestigious families in the world even take it as far as to say that you're not truly well-educated unless you had a liberal arts educated and that you're not truly high-quality or a prestigious male or female if you just went to a technical school. :(

    I've heard well-edcuated prestigious people describe those who got math or computer science degrees from non-liberal arts universities as people content with settling instead of achieving or seeking to improve themselves as a human being or forming themselves into a person of culture and quality

  3. Hello Anna :)

    Well people are different and I guess I have different preferences from yours. References to Harvard, Yale etc. really have nothing to do with me because I live in Canada. Yes some schools here are rated better than others but I never cared much about that. Most people just go to a school in their province for undergraduate degrees but may travel for a graduate degree. As long as the program is accredited and can get someone the job they want prestige doesn't really matter but I guess it's a bigger deal in the U.S.

    All I care about is that someone has a degree, has specialization in something, and knows what they want to do. I've never heard of anyone graduating with a liberal arts degree without an area of specialization. To my knowledge everyone is required to have a major or be in a program by the time they graduate (e.g., engineering, sciences, fine arts, biology etc.). However we are required to take electives in different subject areas, so they get a well-rounded education, and some schools require a foreign language class. I don't know of anyone who is fluent in a foreign language because of because most, like myself were in immersion courses from childhood, weekend programs, or grew up bilingual. Knowing a foreign language is nice but it really isn't that important to me either since it is not a requirement for my field and it's a lot of time to devote to something I will only use when vacationing in certain places.

    I think you are getting the wrong idea of who I am. Anyone who looks down on someone because of the school they went to is not someone I want to know. They sound pretty snobby and not down to earth at all.

  4. Anna we are talking about two different countries. From my knowledge universities here are all what you described as "liberal arts" and require taking courses outside of your major. Colleges specialize in certain subjects and probably don't require minors. University is more prestigious than college though and I do prefer a university education. Anyways, like I said, two different countries, a university degree is all I care about and it doesn't matter which one. The people you describe sound awful.