Hipster ethnographic essay

Topics: Charity shop, Stereotypes, Subcultures Pages: 6 (1455 words) Published: April 27, 2015
A Hipster’s World
If you were to ask the average person what came to their mind when they heard the word “hipster”, they would probably say something like: “those people who wear vintage clothes, drink exquisite coffee, listen to bands you’ve never heard of, and have creepy looking mustaches.” Hipsters are people whom we often stereotype. According to Urban Dictionary, 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 (Parusco). Hipsters are simply a group of people who value alternative culture and embrace free thinking, while also straying away from anything considered too mainstream.

The history of hipsters begins in the 1940’s. Like most things hipster, even the name of the subculture was appropriated from some other cultural movement. Modern hipsters are middle and upper class young adults who immerse themselves in alternative culture of almost every kind: film, music, art, literature, fashion, food, etc (Wise). The term hipster is defined by its root word “hip” meaning whatever is new or setting a trend. The original hipsters were so named because of their awareness and openness to a certain attitude toward life. In fact, the words “hep” and “hip” are both derivations of the African word hepi—meaning to open one’s eyes (Faulkner). This is also where the term “hippie” originated, so in a sense, Hipsters are modern day hippies. Just like now, back then, they embraced alternative lifestyles and rebelled against the mainstream while creating their own way of life. What truly defines a hipster? Truthfully, it is hard for one to give an exact definition of the word. A hipster is widely classified. You may not really be able to define someone who is hipster, but you would know one when you see one. However, there are many visible things that they are known for. For example, male hipsters will typically have facial hair. They usually dress in vintage clothing. Like many cultures, hipsters are mainly known by their physical appearance. As any subculture would be, hipsters are subjected to many different stereotypes. Hipsters have their own way of life and beliefs uncharacteristic to anyone else. They typically all dress in some sort of vintage wear usually bought at a thrift store or an expensive boutique (it all depends on the person), only drink exquisite coffee, listen to independent rock bands you have probably never heard of, and more than likely have a tattoo or two with some deep meaning. Most male hipsters might have facial hair, typically a well-groomed mustache that makes them look like they belong to a 19th century traveling circus or maybe a bare knuckle boxing organization. But is that really all that it takes to be considered a hipster?   During the research progress, it became evident that hipsters aren’t really a group of people who tend to congregate together and converse with one another, so finding a group of them to observe may be difficult. On the contrary, hipsters are often more prevalent in bigger cities. However, if you were going on a search to look for a hipster, one of the first places you might look is in a coffee shop. One of the main stereotypes of the hipster subculture is that they love coffee. However, they don’t love just any coffee. Hipsters take their coffee seriously. Your typical hipster will not drink the average cup of coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. As a matter of fact, they will probably have something negative to say about it. It’s hard to figure out one reason why they have such a strong opinion when it comes to coffee drinking, perhaps it’s just about being different, or not settling for what is average. This comes with the sense that they strongly oppose anything considered too mainstream. The modern Hipster, more than any other subculture, seems to try to deny its very existence....

Cited: Faulkner, Zana. "Hipster Countercultures Through the Decades." Divine Caroline. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.
"Hip haunts of the fashionably uncool." Age [Melbourne, Australia] 7 Apr. 2014: 4. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
Parusco, Trey. “Hipster.” Def.1. Urban Dictionary. N.p., 22 Nov. 2007. Web.16 Mar. 2014
Wise, Alex. "A Brief History of Hipsters." How to Act Like a Rock Music Buff. N.p., 2009. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
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