Chatting on Facebook this morning with a local journalist/editor and demographic-sharing professional woman/style-lover/community embracer/achiever who had been more or less accused of "leaning hipster," I found myself, only a sporadic FB surfer/quipper, quick to go on record in her defense, for 1) she is cool and stylish and no Trendy Wendy style leech and 2) I, too, at my age (just commenced on my second-half-of-the-century and doing fine, thank you kindly) feel a need to defend myself against what I think is "hipster" as term or actual demographic.
I believe "hipster" exists only as a verbal vehicle for disdain and is a manifestation of Youth Angst as regards the ever-increasing longevity of an ever-growing older and very active demographic that is extending its youthful presence and various versions of "cool" into decades that go way beyond the first two or three, and stepping backwards, in a sense, into a consumerist realm being held onto by said younger demographic.
I have read on "hipster," looked it up online as a word, browsed here on HuffPost too, still honestly trying to get a tangible definition of the term. There appear to be no boundaries: "hipster" as a definer is slapped onto what one wears, what one eats, what one does, even where one goes. But as it is doled out in article after article, "hipster" seems less a definition of an actual way of being/doing as it is a blanket put-down designed to pit certain demographics against each other. Is it largely age-related? I believe so. And with an age differential in this land of stuff-love, that also translates to who is accusing whom of having/buying more of whatever then gets denigrated as the stuff of hipsters. As we proceed through life, we generally gain in spending capacity, especially with retirement age and the cessation of "real" income as having become a quaint thing of the past. We work, play and shop til we drop -- literally.
"Hipster" as a term seems only to have life when uttered from some place of contrived resentment/disdain on the parts of the accusers, while in practice it seems to be nothing more than the ability of any "non-youth" consumer to be able to adapt/embrace anything trendy (trendy being a heady term that boils down to consumerist manipulation -- perceived "need") at all with equal and increased ability and fervor by virtue of his/her spending capabilities.
Younger consumers by tradition are the ones to usher in the "new" or the "outsider." Poetically, it is done on a shoestring and with creative expressive incentive. But Free Market realities point to the older demographics as possessing the most means to embrace (vis a vis consume/acquire) the so-called new or trendy because they have the disposable income. Translated to basic consumption, that means more and better of whatever must-haves are out there. Even here, consumerism is a bit upside down, as our youth has come to embrace high endedness and label consciousness with the fervor of country club matrons of yore. Heard of the group called the yummies yet?
The snark that breathes life into the word "hipster" is sociologically fundamental. Our youth by biological, evolutionary need possesses disdain for what the "old" represents/does/has. How else are those apron stings ever suitably stretched? How else do the fledglings PO their parental units enough so that the push from the nest is a happy shove? But they can no more relegate us into their style and trend wake by age and what/how we are/do/look and are hence lashing out via the concoction of "hipster." And I agree. We are impinging on our youth with our lifestyles. Being an older consumer once more or less did mean dated and/or less of it. Older affluence had and has its place, but, for instance, I don't feel any need to parade around with a fat string of pearls at my neck to let the world know I am doing well. Nor do I wish to wear a ruffle-necked smock out to dinner. And crusty artisan breads, craft beer and designer cheese are part of my diet because they taste good and I am not doing mush and bland due to dental or digestive issues -- I can consume, literally and figuratively, alongside denigrators younger than my two sons. Quaint, stodgy definers are no longer desired by the growing demographic to which I belong. We are laying claim to styles and trends because we can.
Really, all one has to do is live on this planet a few decades, which we so-called "hipsters" have done, to realize there is truly little that is truly new, and what at first seems the radical is soon enough the old-fashioned. We actually get it and can even be amused by it. And if embraced with honesty anyone at all, "young" or "old" or some blend of the two can go to/wear/do/have whatever they please. Hipster-calling will not quash this puppy.
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