Scott Thomson hits back at the hipster movement.
With every era of modern, western civilisation, there tends to be another mirror culture that runs parallel to the mainstream feeling at the time. These are commonly referred to as subcultures, movements promoted by the traditionally rebellious and outspoken youth as an alternative to the popular opinion. In the dangerous, warmongering time of the 60’s, the hippie movement became prevalent as a cultural alternative and in the late 70’s and 80’s, the punk movement took over as an alternative to the family based every-man. Today, the closest thing we have to this is the hipster.
Hipsters promote individuality over all things. They despise conformism, and therefore often appear eccentric and diverse in dress and opinion. This makes hipsterism a malleable and broad-reaching category; Hipsters aren’t always confined to enjoying one particular brand of music. However in my opinion, they very idea of a sub-culture promoting non-conformism is in itself hypocritical. How does a person be part of a trend if the requirements for that trend is to not conform. Is a person becoming part of something bigger not in itself conforming? This is especially true if you take into consideration the amount of people who would be described as part of the hipster trend. This can be measured by the amount of restaurants and pubs commonly described as ‘hipster’ appearing in towns and cities. Hipsters try to avoid this by ferociously denying the fact that they are in fact hipsters, but it is very clear who would fit into this category.
Another irony in hipsterism is their determination not to conform to popular customs while simultaneously consuming popular brands. An example of this is the hipster’s love of technology. Hipsters frequently use technology produced by Apple, an immensely popular company. Popular brands have even accommodated hipsterism into their products. Brands like Urban Outfitters have changed the style of their clothes to appeal to the huge demographic of hipsters. In my opinion, this shows a shallowness to the trend, that people would happily give money to be part of it and and they are an essential market to companies that oppose the very ideals of individuality they like to be seen to stand for.
I would also argue that Hipsterism as a subculture, if it can even be called that, is politically weak. While other subcultures that I have mentioned all have a political agenda of some kind (for example, Hippies promoted equality of race and class and pacifism) the hipster movement has no unifying political purpose. While many hipsters promote left-wing and anti-classist ideologies, there isn’t really a unifying purpose that drives the movement forward, from the outside it just seems like an empty trend for people simply wanting to appear ‘cool’ and different.
Whilst I do value individuality and sincerely believe that diversity in opinion and dress is essential to our culture, hipsterism is an empty trend that despite its good base morals, utterly fails in practice to fulfill its aims.