Hipsters shun mainstream societal conventions that apply to dating preferences and traditional "rules" of physical attraction. It is part of the hipster central dogma not to be influenced by mainsream advertising and media, which tends to only promote ethnocentric ideals of beauty. The concepts of androgyny and feminism have influenced hipster culture, where hipster men are often as thin as the women they date. The muscular and athletic all-American male ideal is not seen as attractive by confident and culturally-empowered hipster women who instead view them as symbols of male oppression, sexism, and misogyny. Likewise, culturally-vapid sorority-type girls with fake blond hair, overly tanned skin, and "Britney Spears tube-tops" are not seen as attractive by cultured hipster males who instead see them as symbols of female insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of cultural intelligence and independent thinking. Hipsters are also very racially open-minded, and the greatest number of interracial couples in any urban environment are typically found within the hipster subculture.
Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals. For example, the surge of jeans made to look old and worn (i.e. "distressed"), that have become prevalent at stores such as The Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Hollister, were originally paraded by hipsters who shopped in thrift stores years before such clothing items were mass produced and sold to the mainstream consumer. The true irony here is that many of the detractors of hipster culture are in fact unknowingly following a path that hipsters have carved out years before them. This phenomena also applies to music as well, as many bands have become successful and known to mainstream audiences only because hipsters first found and listened to them as early-adopters of new culture. Once certain concepts of fashion and music have reached mainstream audiences, hipsters move on to something new and improved.
Because of the rise of various online photo-blog and social networking sites, insights into urban hipster culture is reaching sheltered suburban audiences at an exponential rate. Cultural "norms" have been deconstructed by hipster culture as a whole. Hipsterism is often dismissed as just an image thing by some, but the culture as a whole is effecting changes in society, leading to feelings of insecurity and resentment in people who are no longer a part of the cultural ruling class. For example, a lot of anti-hipster sentiment evidently comes from culturally-clueless suburban frat boy types who feel that the more sensitive, intelligent, and culturally aware hipster ideal threatens their insecure sense of masculinity. Anti-hipster sentiment often comes from people who simply can't keep up with social change and are envious of those who can.
Frat Boy #1: Dude, are you having any luck picking up chicks in there?
Frat Boy #2: Man...I haven't experienced anything like this before. These chicks are totally rejecting me and going for all these hipster guys in tight pants and shaggy hair instead.
Frat Boy #1: Maybe we should head back up to that bar in Murry Hill where you hooked up with that drunk b*tch from Alpha Sigma Phi last week?
Frat Boy #2: Yeah...I don't think we have what it takes to compete with these guys in here. These hipster chicks won't even give us the time of the day!
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.”
A: What, you don't know?