Advertisement
Remembering the Hipster

Defining 'Hipster'

Hipster, as a term, is notoriously difficult to define. Mainly because it doesn't really mean anything.

by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete
15 December 2015, 11:30am

Enough time has passed since the world was at Peak Hipster for us to look back at it as a movement, or a craze, or a meme, or whatever the fuck it was and try to take stock of what it all meant, if anything. So this week we're doing exactly that in a short collection of stories.

Hipster, as a term, is notoriously difficult to define. Mainly because it doesn't really mean anything. There was definitely an easily definable hipster style to begin with (non-prescription glasses, tote bag, fixed gear bike, etc.) but, much like if you say your own name 100 times in a row, it eventually lost all meaning.

Like "witch," "communist," and "basic," "hipster" became an indefinable word you could use to smear The Other. Ride a bike? You're a hipster. Listen to music? You're a hipster. Drink coffee? Hipster. Don't drink coffee? Contrarian hipster. Nobody was safe from being called a hipster, and nobody wanted to be one.

"Hipster" has become like pornography: You know it when you see it, but it's impossible to define.

In order to better understand what the term meant to the people who used it, I created the above word cloud. To make it, I took around 120 different definitions of "hipster" that I found around the web (mostly from Urban Dictionary and Yahoo Answers) and fed them into a word cloud generator. After taking out all of the non-relevant words ("and," "the," "him," etc.), this is what I was left with.

I guess the main takeaway is that hipsters valued jeans above everything else? But also that they went to college, read books, lived in Williamsburg, liked obscure things, hung out at Starbucks (??), drank PBR, did stuff ironically, ate vegetarian food, and used Apple products.

Follow Jamie Lee Curtis Taete on Twitter.

Tagged:
hipsters
Urban Outfitters
Jeans
Stuff
Starbucks
hipster definition