As sub-cultures pose a potentially serious threat to the long-term survival of traditional culture (along with cultural imperialism, immigration, the loss of language and various other global phenomenons) it is important to consider the growing divide that is, well, growing amongst Millennial kids. Those who fall in to the ‘Popster’ camp and those who preferred to be associated with the label ‘Hipster’. For the Boomers reading this, we are not talking about the popular jeans that hugged your hips, although ‘Hipsters’ today do apparently associate themselves with the Hippie movement of the 1960’s in as much as they are anti-popular culture.
But rather, Millennial Hipsters, according to the Hipster Handbook (which doesn’t appear to have an author I can reference) are:
One(s) who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term “cool”; a Hipster would instead say “deck.”) The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. A Hipster ideally possesses no more than 2% body fat
As far as I understand, these men and women are in their 20’s and 30’s, they are primarily middle class, well educated (in liberal arts as well as maths and science degrees), are politically liberal, urban, intelligent and creative; and like to think of themselves as individualistic because they are counter-culture. Although Hipsters like to think of themselves as unique; and they perceive ‘Hipsterism’ as referencing their belief system, they tend to follow their own fashion trends too. Generally you can spot them wearing tight jeans, vintage (aka second hand), old-takkies, thick rimmed glasses and they sport (did I mention that word?) short hairstyles (although the latter point not always) that cost a lot of money to produce at uba-trendy hair stylists. Despite their loathing for anything mainstream; and their desire to be classified ‘too way out or edgy’ for mainstream, Hipsters appear to have successfully created their own urban bohemian look depicted in shop windows of trendy boutique-style outfitters and on the covers of cool music magazines. They do not want to be associated with anything that is popular (although there appear to be growing numbers of them) and will allegedly redirect their taste when what they call ‘deck’ gets adopted by cool. I am not sure what qualifies one to be a ‘Hipster’ as apposed to a ‘Popster’ because it would seem to me that both positions represent trendy, maybe just different trendy.
Popsters on the other hand are those that not only follow mainstream but embrace it completely. As I write this I am wondering if that means they are not allowed to have liberal arts degrees or shop at second hand shops, because apparently committed Hipsters will not embrace anything Popsters are in to.
So I’m thinking Popsters are people in to Justin Bieber, Eminem, Kesher, Linkin Park (really?). These guys are all considered mainstream and yet none of them strictly speaking fit the mold of what used to be normal. I mean, a white man rapping and a 16-year old selling out Madison Square Gardens in 22 minutes his first show?
So what is mainstream? What is normal? What is trendy and how do we measure any of these social trends when everything moves so fast. Whose perspective do we consider when we are all so vocal about our perspective and whilst we are living in a time where we’re supposed to be embracing diversity and celebrating difference culturally, why do we put labels and create divisions amongst our sub-cultures?
If you want to listen to Kesher singing about this check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qLEANqH_3c