A contrived identity constructed out of a pastiche of symbols co-opted from bohemian movements of the past, and then reassembled and repackaged. Yet, unlike bohemian subcultures of earlier periods, the hipster lives by no common creed, ethic, or collection of political beliefs. Nor does the hipster offer a unique form of art, music, or literature as groups such as the Beats, Hippies, Yippies, or Punks once did. Rather, the hipster is driven by an effort to cultivate an identity as an end in itself, a persona that will presumably distinguish the hipster from their despised, and over-generalized concept of “mainstream culture.”
Hipster psychology is born out of experiences of rejection during childhood and adolescence as well as the resultant inability to conform to contemporary social standards. The hipster, as a psychological self defense mechanism, constructs an alternative perspective on culture and identity as a response to their subjective experience of social failure and emotional pain. Rather than accept their own shortcomings at face value, the hipster cultivates a self centered world view whereupon culture, religion, politics, and society as a whole are at fault for all that causes dissatisfaction and frustration. Furthermore, the hipster believes that his or her non-participation in “mainstream” life serves as a form of subversion itself, as well as proof positive of their intellectual enlightenment rather than an obvious demonstration of their failure to adapt. Because arrogance is the shadow of shame, the hipster converts his or her social incompetence into an attitude of superiority, and his or her failure into a disposition of pride.
Consequently, hipster culture presents an “alternative image” that attempts to counter, parody, mock, or even satire their concept of mainstream culture while providing a safe environment that, from afar, collectively gives the appearance of a movement. Thus, hipsters make it their practice to flaunt the photo-negative image of their idea of popular “suburban” culture. For example, if the average person in the suburbs shops in malls, the hipster will buy their clothing in second hand shops. If (over generalized) suburban men drive state of the art sports cars with large engines, the hipster may drive a modest Volkswagen or an old, very undersized subcompact European car such as an early seventies BMW, or better yet, ride a fixed gear bicycle with a sticker exclaiming “One Less Car.”
Because the Hipster loathes above all things to be seen as conventional they, as a rule, don’t work. According to existentialist orthodoxy, “one is what one does.” As a result, the hipster does nothing. The hipster’s lack of participation in any type of career, at least on the surface, functions as an attempt to avoid being characterized as "mainstream." However, upon deeper examination it isn't hard to discover that the hipster lacks the requisite skills to do anything purposeful anyway. Rather, for the hipster, one is as one "seems." And the hipster is very adept at being able to "seem." Seeming requires collecting symbols both material and intellectual and proves much easier on a frail body and psyche than actual work. This is particularly the case when parents help around rent time, if the hipster doesn't already own.
Because the hipster’s life is a lie that they tell to themselves (and don’t believe themselves) they demonstrate a high degree of instability and mental illness which will often be treated by psychoactive medication. Often hipsters will merely self-medicate, particularly if their parents don't pay their COBRA. As a result, hipsters will eventually exhibit behaviors that are truly alternative until they face the fact that their subculture is an elaborate buffer from their fear of non-acceptance and failure.
Dylan: “Man, I’m so sick of my dad’s whole patriarchal disdain for any sense of leisure.”
Josh: "Yeah, man, tell me about it; I hardly ever get back up to Greenwich anymore for that reason.”
Dylan “Hey bartender, we’ll take two Pabst Blue Ribbons please.”
The attachment of certain words, phrases or ideas to a product (e.g.; counter-culture, independent or "indie", progressive, alternative or "alt", organic, holistic, "old-school", etc.) whether that product is music, fashion, technology, food, social media or real estate, is enough to connote to the hipster "authenticity" and value, regardless of whether there is any innate value to be found.
Ironically, the hipster perceives him/herself as the counterpoint to mass-culture and conformity when, in fact the ease with which hipster "culture" can be appropriated, repackaged and marketed makes them the ultimate conformists (e.g.; tattoos were once a sign of rebellion and a badge of one's outsider status, now over 40% of all Americans under 50 have a tattoo, essentially making them all members of the same tribe.)
Gay porn used to feature nothing but hairless meth-addled circuit queens, now we have to watch skinny, bearded hipsters get facials.
Befuddled observer: "It's 79 degrees out, why are you wearing a kitted wool cap?"
Hipster: "Because I reject the mainstream banality of weather in favor of an authentic expression of my inner self."
Befuddled observer: "Oh, I thought it was because you're a hipster douche-bag."
Hipster: Liberal Arts
Generic College Student: You do realize that the magazine/newspaper industry is dying, right?
Hipster: No I want to be a blogger. What are you a business major?
Generic College Student: Yes.
Hipster: Pssh, conformist. Let me guess you are a Republican?
Generic College Student: You're an idiot. Let me know if you need a job later.
"Hey! I'll just talk about music here, throwing in little tidbits about me. I really like "Indie" (though such differing styles should never be crushed into one genre) bands and things nobody's(at school, anyhow) heard of, so I'm glad Pandora has them. I really like irony, and I would think it amazing if the lyrics of a song reflect effort of intelligence spent on them, rather than the cookie cutter mainstream things out there today.EVen though I'm just 14, I despise the direction music is headed, both lyrically and instrumentally. Where are we, in 1984? Music making machines might have worked in George Orwell's world, but that's why Big Brother would have killed me. On a related note, I was recently distraught to discover that Indie FM in soCal has been replaced by Spanish station. How could they get rid of such a groovy station?
When not, I like reading, writing, debating, having intellectual conversation, knitting, creating theories, talking to cats with different opinions than my own, and riding my totally amazing bike (vintage schwinn with LOOOONG fenders!!!). By the way, despite comments made by some drones I know, I am NOT a hipster. I refuse to submit to an group. WHy limit yourself? (I hang out with self identified nerd, dorks, activists, emos, punks, hipsters, geeks, band people, and drama geeks. However, I hate social branding, just can't convince my ragtag band of amigos.)"
Notice how the girl edits her pandora profile.... she also describes herself as a "student/novelist/poet/blogger"
Look at the station, it's called "Groovy Tunes for Tubular Cats"....seriously?
While some of these individuals may genuinely struggle to become more cultured, most do not have a genuine interest (or aptitude) and are simply trying to fit into a crowd that wants to reject fitting in to the "mainstream". Conversely, a socially well adjusted individual who truly appreciates and participates in art, for example, may have no inclinations towards the hipster subculture. There is somewhat of a one-way, pretend inclusion that the hipster conceives of for him or herself that is a form of mild delusion.
Hipsters present a curious irony by considering themselves superior, more cultured and more individualistic, while rejecting the actual depth, perspective and variation in people around them that is at the core of individuality.
Guy 2 : He's a hipster.
Guy 1 : Ahh - I guess that's why hes dressed to solicit attention and we're not at a costume party.
Guy 2 : Hipsters are douchebags.
Guy 1 : Yeah, I've heard that before.