Monday, June 21, 2010

definition of a hipster

I've had difficulty understanding what a hipster is. People just describe attributes, like "hipsters wear tight jeans" or "hipsters look anorexic" or "hipsters are unhappy even in expensive homes".

It s like trying to understand what a Jewish person is like, when you only get surface descriptions such as "some of them have large noses" or "they have a ceremony called a Bar Mitzvah".

Anyway, today a new friend Renee was kind enough to define it for me:
I'd define a hipster as a cultural early adopter (as opposed to an early adopter of technology or fashions, though a hipster might be those too): someone who takes a certain delight in getting there first, whether there is a neighborhood, a restaurant, a hobby, a band, or whatever.

Do people agree?

8 comments:

Randell said...

First! (Does this count as a hipster?)

ArC said...

IMO "cultural early adopter" is necessary but not sufficient, as it does not convey the elitism/disdain hipsters have for the people who follow their trends. Since of course trends even among hipsters aren't born fully formed, this has the amusing side effect that among hipsters, the term itself can be used as an insult.

(I say this as a second-wave'r myself... for example, I only began to sort of care about selvage (a type of denim) this year, which is at least six years after hipsters did.)

Mandarin said...

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hipster

Anonymous said...

NY cops apparently refer to hipsters as marshmallows b/c they're soft and white.

snarfed.org said...

that's not bad! the tight jeans are canonical, though. they really are the official definition.

Anonymous said...

hipsters are people who dress very gay.

s said...

Have you tried Wikipedia? Their articles on popular culture are often quite amusingly earnest.

Anonymous said...

Hipsters are basically people who like Stuff White People Like, and engage in needless status striving through trying to have different tastes and views than the masses rather than more possessions.