This is a simple request. A request that has been on my mind for longer than I’d like to admit, and a request that will not be easily fulfilled by the greater society. For the better half of a decade, we’ve been plagued. Plagued by not only this contingent of people, but by the term that’s been used (and overused) to define the group of people who likely resent the word.
Defined as “a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream,” this term has spiraled completely out of control and spread like wildfire. Yes, even more out of control than waxed beards and sleeve tattoos of teacups and typewriters. A sub-culture of people (who I’ll reluctantly refer to as “hipsters” until further notice) has morphed into a cultural phenomenon that has brought on a slew of inaccuracies and misclassifications.
Across the nation (but mainly in Bushwick and Williamsburg), hipsters run rampant. Unfortunately, the term transcends beyond the actual group. Today, anyone with a beard? They’re labeled a hipster. A coffee connoisseur? Hipster. Plaid shirt, beanie, and skinny jeans? Goddamn hipster (or Bachelorette contestant). A mustachioed bartender who calls himself a “mixologist”? What a fucking hipster.
The general consensus is that anyone with a defined interest in anything against the mainstream is essentially a hipster. And while, yes, that fits the definition, we’re simply using “hipster” as a blanket term for anyone who might have a hobby outside of watching Netflix and texting.
Is it fair to label someone who’d rather read Hemingway in a cafe rather than sit on their laptop a hipster? Absolutely not. Should a man with a long beard be labeled a “hipster” simply because he’s trying to cover his double chin with some strategic facial hair? I’m going to say no. Just because someone has a Tumblr page set up to document their foraging, is it fair to label them as a “hipster”? Okay, bad example, because that’s definitively hipster.
But with every fixed gear bicycle and pair of selvage denim jeans, there’s some generic dude out there tossing out “hipster” labels like he’s handing out shots of Jäger at a work happy hour for a company where his father’s the CEO. Sure, that dude is tight and all, but he’s ruining the label that insufferably gentrified millennials worked so hard to earn.
Behind the girl out there who’s wearing a pair of horn-rimmed glasses without a prescription, there’s a girl who secretly thinks Taylor Swift gooooes. With every guy who tips back a PBR in a nice restaurant, there’s a part of him wishing he could just taste the sweet nectar of a Michelob Ultra after playing some lax in the park. These habits and fads, while adopted by yuppie scum like you and I, are not actually inherently “hipster.” They’re just fads and nuances that wreak of boring people attempting to set themselves apart.
By the time someone labels a trend as “hipster,” that trend has officially reached the point where it’s not even “hipster” anymore. Yes, the guys at bars wearing blazers with t-shirts will argue the opposite, but if you inserted yourself into a Seattle or an Austin, you’d soon realize that “hipster” trends are nothing more than cultural norms. Simply because something is en vogue and adopted by the young and the restless, people are quick to label things that go against the wind as “hipster.” It’s simply not fair.
When you see someone asking the bartender about the IBUs in their IPA, know that there’s probably an intrinsically basic person standing in front of you who may just happen to like a hoppy-ass beer. Next time you witness a couple playing a record player during their picnic in the park, think about how they just appreciate the superior sound of vinyl over an expensive Bose speaker linked with Bluetooth. When you stumble upon someone chopping wood with a brand new axe in the middle of a forest, think about the fact that they might just be fucking cold and poor. But for the love of all that his cool in the world, stop overusing the word “hipster.” .