Fucking Hipsters

A Hipster

This weekend, a friend of mine posted a somewhat negative rant on Facebook berating hipsters for being shallow and unauthentic. The post shocked me, not only because I know that this friend is a really kind and generally very positive person, but because I saw some of myself in this post. A year ago, I could have easily written something similar, only unlike my friend, it would have probably been from a more negative position.

For many years, I was the type of person who could easily go on a rant about how terrible the fashion industry is. How it’s superficial, shallow, phony, insincere, etc. You name it, I had lots of bad things to say about it. It is only recently that I’ve learned how toxic this attitude is, for a number of really important reasons.

It’s unnecessarily negative

If you’re going to expend energy doing something, it should be worth doing. This is even more true if what you’re doing is negative. Rarely does one do harm by being overly positive about something, but negative energy is corrosive. It leaves a bad taste with everyone around you – even people who might agree with you now have an impression that you’re a negative person. At the very least, this is a waste of time, at worst, you’ve just diminished your reputation, potentially a considerable amount. This is just bad karma. Do yourself a favour, and do away with it.

It’s anti-social

Humans are very social beings, and we express this not only through words and relationships, but through all sorts of things that we do from body language, to art, to the way we dress. Wearing clothing is a form of social activity (if you don’t believe me, try wearing no clothes and see how society likes it) that all human cultures perform in one way or another. Therefore, criticizing the manner in which some people dress is an attack on their social activity and inherently anti-social. Since, in the case of hipster clothes, the subject is purely aesthetic, there is really no benefit to engaging in this sort of anti-social behaviour. Instead, we should just embrace the fact that others have a different aesthetic than ours.

It’s discrimination and bad stereotyping

People have all sorts of reasons for dressing they way they do. Past or current role models, in-group support and solidarity (tribalism), a crutch to help them with their own underlying insecurities, etc. There’s really no way in knowing why someone would want to have a particular image. Making overarching assumptions about their character and personality based on this is not only lazy stereotyping, it’s discriminatory.

It diminishes the freedom of expression of others

The way people dress is a way that they express their identity. Feeling comfortable in how you’re presenting yourself to others is a great confidence booster and something that everyone should be allowed to experience. When people are criticized for aesthetic reasons, this takes some of this away from them, especially when strong normative terms are used to criticize their character or intentions. This is no better than attacking other ways in which people express their identity, be it gender, religion, culture, nationality, etc. We should all be free to express any of these in any way we want. As Simone de Beauvoir might have said, our freedom to express ourselves the way we want can only be achieved by giving that freedom to others – our freedom requires the freedom of others.

Like I said earlier, this friend of mine is not the negative person described above. He’s one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know. What likely bothered me the most about reading that rant wasn’t what he had said, but that it held up a mirror, and what I saw in it was a man I didn’t want to be.

NOTE: This will be the last blog post I’ll make under this domain (xopher.ca). More on that to come soon.

One thought on “Fucking Hipsters

  1. Great post. Hipsters see us as the status quo, so it goes both ways. They need to be more creative because the go to college, pay for college, find a job model is not like it was when we were hipsters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.