The Hipster….or Is It?

The hipster is a media invention to further categorize a subculture of individuals. In my recent research I have observed that there are hipsters, but there are not. First off, who is responsible for creating a category of a people. Who has the authority to group a people together, homogenize their characteristics, and then come out with a name which somehow, becomes their identification? This always complicates research when you begin to delve into thoughts such as this, and ponder questions of a more esoteric nature.

The hipster exists, in the sense that the media and mainstream culture has created the designation, and then adorned a group of individuals with such a name. It is like designating an area of nature as a national park. In doing this we somehow change the landscape of that natural wonder just by placing a moniker upon it, altering the lens through which we view this area. Now this is not to say that the identifiers–traits, idiosyncrasies, characteristics–that are attributed to the hipster subculture are not accurate, that would be far from the truth. But a problem arises from this. To simply categorize a subculture on identifiers is such a hollow undertaking, it smacks of typecasting. So the newspapers, magazines, newscasts all take this name, this category, and begin the conversation on this group of individuals, which then lends credence to the belief and existence of hipsters. You begin to see books written on such, and it becomes a catchy phrase–sometimes good and sometimes out of disdain. Whatever it may be though, this is an invented name. But, this then leads to something else, isn’t everything invented? Isn’t it all a cultural construct?

The hipster exists, and is a person who does not self identify as such, which poses the unique conundrum, are there really hipsters? This interesting dynamic has much depth and philosophical thought propelling it forward. Because again, who creates identities such as “hipster?” Who holds the cultural authority to lump a group of people with like characteristics into one category and ignore the fact there are so many facets to one human being, let alone thousands and millions? A group of people will always be heterogeneous, no matter how many similarities they possess. So the hipster exists on paper and in my research, as an easy way to show similarities between a group of people who have come together, existing in close proximity to each other, in communities they help mold and create through an immense entrepreneurial spirit which is fascinating and inspiring. For the public at large, “hipster” exists for people to easily identify and find comfort in the ability to categorize another human, with a quick judgement based on exterior features. This quick reference tool, is what we do everyday in life.

But in the end, the hipster does not exist. The hipster is a myth, a phantasm, an illusion. Because how can you say a person is something, if they truly believe they are not? Remember, its all a cultural construct.

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