By Kristi Alexandra
Before we dive headfirst into the rabbit hole, let’s get to the etymology of the word “hipster.” It wasn’t always a bad word.
It first came up in the 1940s, used to describe white kids who were into culture — culture, at the time, being blues and jazz. In other words, white kids who were into typically “black” culture. Going into the ‘50s, the word came to represent the beat subculture led by poets like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
As of late, or let’s at least say since around the time that Douglas Haddow’s article “Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization” came out in Adbusters magazine in 2008, “hipster” has been a term meant to slag the perceived “hip.”
It’s usually a throw-around word for people in their 20s to bash other people in their 20s. It’s a way to show your distaste for someone in your peer group — someone with reasonable fashion sense, or a taste in popular music that doesn’t happen to be on the radio, or someone with facial hair etc; someone you want to make a point of not taking seriously.
Let’s establish that most people label hipsters as people in their 20s. Now lets say hipsters are people with moustaches, who drink cheap beer and wear shitty clothes.
Well, no fucking duh. For one, people in their 20s don’t have any fucking money. Of course they drink cheap beer — it gets you drunk on a budget. What do you expect? They’d be drinking Veuve Cliquot and eating caviar?
Second, this whole, “having a mustache is so hipster” thing. I’m going to assume that if your dad has a mustache, you’re probably not calling him a hipster. So you’re going to bash someone for growing a mustache, because they’re in their 20s, it makes them hipster. Because they didn’t do it before it was cool. Come on, that “hipster” has a mustache now — and didn’t 4 years ago — not because it’s suddenly become cool but because four years ago, that person was sixteen and lacked the ability to fucking grow facial hair.
The most disheartening thing about the word hipster, I have to say, is its propensity to imply youth don’t take each other seriously. You occupied Vancouver? That’s fucking hipster shit. Shit Harper Did? Hipster shit. You’re growing a mustache for Movember? More hipster shit.
In a time when youth should stand in more solidarity than ever, with the Occupy movements, in raising awareness for Movember, and overall just creating a sweet youth culture, we need to stop separating ourselves from each other and start separating ourselves from the man.
Filed Under: Opinions
About the Author: Kristi Alexandra is a fourth-year journalism student and Culture Editor for The Runner. She is a freelance writer for The Georgia Straight and BeatRoute magazine, and hopes to one day be a MuchMusic VJ. You may send your donations for Kristi's future nose job to firstname.lastname@example.org so she that she can be telegenic enough to realize her dreams as a television personality.
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