Hipster Culture

Growing up in Los Angeles, I have grown accustomed to being surrounded by “hipsters.” When I came to Wheaton, the transition from seeing and interacting with these individuals everyday to rarely seeing them at all was quite noticeable. This is not to say that Wheaton is completely devoid of those that our society has coined as hipsters, however their numbers are drastically decreased. Paul Mullins addresses this hipster culture in his article, Authentic Cool: Global Hipsters and consumer culture.

The environment in which I have grown up in as well as pop culture have given me a certain idea of hipster culture and I narrowly assumed that it was a primarily American metropolitan phenomenon. After reading Mullins article I learned that it is in fact, a global sensation.

While pop culture, like the television show Portlandia, has come to make fun of hipsters, I always assumed that it was as simple as that. Just poking fun and nothing more. However, Mullins points out that in Berlin they are trying to ban “tourists and hipsters” from public areas. I was shocked to learn that certain places actually strive to prevent these individuals from expressing themselves.


Mullins references Christy Wampole’s article in his post, parts of which he does not necessarily agree with. Wampole suggests that maybe there’s a little hipster in all of us. We’re all living a somewhat ironic life, whether we realize it or not. Anthropologists study culture, and the “hipster” culture has become prevalent all over the world. So instead of making fun of hipsters, perhaps we should, as Wampole suggests, examine our own lives, which are often inherently ironic before calling others out for attempting to live in this manner.

Mullins argues that anthropologists have not bothered to actually listen to what these hipsters are trying to say. They must examine the statements that hipsters are making with their “ironic” tastes in order to better understand them and determine what they are trying to say about society as a whole, which could help to remove the stigma and stereotypes that surround the hipster culture.


3 thoughts on “Hipster Culture

  1. I think that it’s interesting that people are trying to ban this idea of the ‘hipster.’ For me, this is an impossible goal, because the definition of hipster varies so widely. For example, I am from a small, rural town in Connecticut, where to be hipster meant merely a type of clothing style; it has nothing to do with creating irony. However, I know that in L.A., it entails more than just style, coming down to even hygiene rituals and personality traits. It can’t be possible to ban this idea of hipster because one would have to set an exact definition to do so, which is extremely difficult.

  2. I think it’s funny that you say hipsters have ironic taste. It makes sense though, that even though we may not comprehend their style or train of thought, we as anthropologists should make meaning of these ideas because it is saying a lot about our culture.

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