You know the type, with their pretentious plaid, sleek skinny jeans, bold eye wear, grotesque hats, maddening mustache worship, infuriating love of irony, and audacious audio choices– the brand of contemporary human known as a hipster. Like beatniks, bohemians, and hippies before them, the current counterculture chic movement is simply a fusion of fashion and collective thinking. But from finicky foodies to self-indulgent smart phone philosophers on their social media soap boxes, the web has perpetuated an unmistakable archetype of these lively young lads or lasses that we collectively love to loathe.
Except that when the under thirty crowd is asked to identify a hipster, it turns out they’re pretty eager to point the finger at themselves. Though the latest Public Policy Polling data shows that only sixteen percent of American voters have a favorable view of hipsters, “One out of every two U.S. voters ages 18 to 29 actually considers herself to be a hipster,” LA Weekly reported, “Really.” Really? Really!
The data suggests that, at first, only one in ten of us admit to being a hipster, but when the 18-29 group is isolated that rate goes up a whopping fifty percent. Poor conflicted millennials have adopted prior generations’ penchant for self-loathing though. Forty-six percent of stateside voters agreed that hipsters “soullessly appropriate cultural tropes from the past for their own ironic amusement,” while one in four of those polled, 27 percent, said that hipsters should be subjected to a special tax “for being so annoying.” That’ll really show them… er, us.
What the data can’t discern is why there is a such a discrepancy between that self-awareness and utter disdain. Obviously, the idea of a hipster become such an unflattering caricature, an absolute insult, that no one wants to wear the label proudly. But clearly many aspects of the persona are admirable and, in fact, in vogue– so much that we’ll reluctantly admit in private that it’s how we prefer to see ourselves. Do you refer to yourself as a hipster or has the term become too scornful, mocking? — Casandra Armour