Whit Stillman’s film The Last Days of Disco has a rather intelligent, even thought-provoking, quote about yuppies. “Yuppie stands for ‘young upwardly mobile professional’,” a character says. “I wish we were yuppies. Young, upwardly mobile, professional. Those are good things, not bad things.” This character regards the term “yuppie,” like I do the term “hipster”: is being called one really such a bad thing?
Recently, NPR ran a story about the “hipsterfication of America.” (Which strangely labels hipsters as people who shop at Plato’s Closet, eat at Which Which and “buy cool-cat snuggle clothes at American Eagle.” But I digress.) In it, the article notes an rather common belief: that “everyone hates hipsters, especially hipsters.”
Naturally, the piece goes on to define what a “hipster” is, which seems to be a bit unnecessary by this point, but I’m going to quote it anyway: “The Urban Dictionary defines hipsters as ‘a subculture of men and women typically in their 20s and 30s who value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.’” I’d like to add “fashion-forward” in there somewhere, too. I don’t think many would disagree with most of this definition. So… why is conforming to it a bad thing?
Perhaps people assume that hipsters are elitist snobs, which can be true. But I know plenty of video game nerds who are stuck up about their hobbies, and a number of bookworms who wrinkle their noses at “low brow” literature. However, in all three categories I know many more kind, open-minded people than jerks.
I think hipsters are pretty darn cool. I know lots of smart, socially active and creative people who fit the label perfectly. And they all usually dress fantastically while doing so. Perhaps some hipster fashion choices are over-the-top, but I’ll take a progressive look over the Uggs + leggings + North Face hoodie formula any day.
I would love to be called a hipster, but frankly, I just don’t know if I’m cool and/or stylish enough. Not that it matters, because my nice, accepting hipster friends like me anyways.
What do you think about hipsters? Are you one?