What is a Hipster?

No hipster thinks they’re a hipster, but that’s part of the hipster culture. There are many definitions of what a modern hipster, as the author saw when he too tried to find a solid definition of one. Hipsters have become a phenomenon in our culture. Everybody trying to be one, even though being a hipster involves a level of seeming as though you do not care. What makes the hipster culture fascinating to people is that while people can identify a hipster it is much harder to see what is behind the movement. In the article, Anthropologist as Scholarly Hipsters, Part I: What is a Hipster?, author Alex Posecznick gives various examples of what people say is behind a hipster:

  • “descendants of both the 1940’s hipster, and the hippie movements of the 60’s and 70’s”
  • They explore new culture but throw it away once it hits the mainstream
  • Perhaps there is not anything special about them, but instead they are “young and funny looking and living in particular neighborhoods”
  • “disaffected, suburban White transplant into a gentrifying urban center” who promotes consumerism
  • “they want to embody nostalgia, irony, sexy authenticity, tactile souvenirs, and such”
  • frauds who are “’slumming’ it with working and ethnic communities in their youth before returning to traditional patters of white middle class life”
  • as a way to indulge during their young adult years.

Whatever it is that makes a hipster become a hipster, there is a fascination with them in our culture, with many musical artists making reference to them, such as Macklemore in his song “Thrift Shop”. Hipster has become a tag on social media sites such as Tumblr and Instagram. But what role do hipsters really play in our society?  They are certainly not viewed in the same way that we see their predecessors, the hipster of the 1940’s and the hippies. Are they avid consumers, or are they the wealthy, white, youth who are riding out their young adult lives waiting until they are forced back into the normal white middle class?