Mainstream opinion of an ironic definition
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
The definition of a hipster according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a person who follows the latest styles, fashions, etc.” A typical person’s mental picture of a hipster will probably be something quite different, since hipster stereotypes suggest that they despise contemporary fashion and other mainstream things. Still, an exact definition is hard to come by. Everyone would probably say something different, so the question remains: what is a hipster?
The history of the word is just as different as its current meaning. It dates back to the 1940s and was used to describe white youths who wanted to be like the black jazz musicians they were fans of. The slang “hip” meant “in the know,” and was later used for the hippies of the 1960s. Although hipsters may share some traits with the flower children, they’re clearly a different type of people. In the 1990s, the modern hipster as we know it today began to evolve. Elaine on Seinfeld called quirky yuppie Kramer a “hipster doofus” more than once. Finally, in the 2000s, popular media began to recognize a hipster in the sense most would think of it.
General hipster qualities agreed upon include a love for indie music, anything retro, irony, big glasses, fedoras, Apple products, and skinny jeans, as well as disdain for anything mainstream. However, one must be careful when labelling someone a hipster based solely on these traits. If wearing skinny jeans and carrying an iPhone alone make you a hipster, over half the students at any school would be considered hipsters
Another distinction comes from the hipster community itself. A common stereotype is that hipsters resent being called hipsters—probably to preserve their belief that their interests aren’t influenced by a social image. Of course, those who aren’t hipsters would probably resent being called one too. Then there’s the question of whether self-identifying as a hipster would make one more or less of a hipster. Is it an always true fact that one would never admit to being a true hipster? Or have some chosen to embrace the identity?
The general textbook and ageless definition for a hipster is someone who embraces very new cultural fads, becoming a trendsetter. However, this is quite unsatisfactory for those who wish to know more about hipster culture. Would a true hipster never wear the same clothes people in mainstream culture wear, even if the hipsters wore it before they did? It seems the definition debate will rage on.