Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hipsters vs. Hippies...

Anybody remember the scene in Mean Girls showcasing the different tables/stereotypes in the cafeteria?

(I know this is not politically correct, but I find it hilarious)

"Jocks, Plastics, Cool Asians, Asian Nerds, Girls Who Eat Their Feelings, Girls Who Don't Eat At All..."
Photo credit: http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l6ca068EDk1qcb58yo1_500.png

Even after high school...even after college...labels continue to float around. In the past 5-10 years, a new sub-culture has emerged. Alas, the HIPSTER. I see the hipster as another fleeting trend, it is just what happens to be "hip" now. I think most people group "hipsters" and "hippies" into one category, but I  feel the need to CLARIFY between MY definitions of the two, and also explore my own self-identity.

I think of a "hipster" as fulfilling two key components-FASHION and APATHY. Now with those two coexisting, the FASHION element must be apathetic. For instance, ask any hipster, "Sweet Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt, where'd you get it?" and you KNOW you're going to hear, "Thrift World/City/Land." In other words, "Insult it all you want, I didn't pay anything for it!"I don't think I've ever heard a hipster admit to BEING a hipster, because by labeling oneself, the apathy component of being a hipster is sacrificed. 

The stereotypical fashion component?

Boy Hipster: Mustache. Skin tight jeans. V-neck graphic t-shirt. Multiple bracelets. Rides a bike. Smokes Native Spirit tobacco cigarettes. 

Girl Hipster: Long, unkept hair with feathers. Big sunglasses. Headbands (Hendrix style, but don't expect her to know any Jimi Hendrix songs). Long messenger-style purse. Skinny jeans with a top from Urban Outfitters. 

I actually really like the trends. I think most guys look great in v-neck shirts (skin tight jeans? not so much...). I love the headbands and sunglasses, and wear them often. 
(Sidenote: I wrote a post about my sense of style a while back, that you can read here.) 
The reason why I don't consider myself a "hipster" is because they are so apathetic! I'm entirely too passionate to identify with this counter-culture movement. 

Most hipsters don't vote...sure, they might (in their PBR-induced-drunken stupor) go on and on about how much "government sucks" and if they have any political leaning, it might be left, because it's "cool." But ask them issues. They won't have an opinion, because having an opinion makes one vulnerable to criticism of that opinion. Hipsters are too insecure to stand with an opinion that could be insulted. 

Hipsters typically aren't religious or spiritual. They're too cool to open up about deep topics, where their personal opinion could be insulted. Plus, the entire objective of the hipster is to NOT conform. Religious institutions typically preach a set dogma, and opposing opinions aren't usually welcomed (although, I attended a panel discussion at the FUMC in downtown Fort Worth, and found this congregation very open-minded in regard to evolution/creationism)

If you're at a show, you'll notice a hipster stands with their hands by their sides or crossed. Huge distinction between hippies and hipsters? Body stance at a concert. Hipsters are "too cool" for any performance, and standby as a boring observer. Hippies don't mind looking like an idiot, dancing around and singing along, and likely don't know how idiotic they look in the first place...

I think this article really sums up the evolution of the counter-culture movement. As author Sarah Jost says, "In the 1950s, the Beat Generation renounced a focus on material possessions and conformity in favor of a life of bohemian creativity and experimentation." In the mid-1960s, the Hippie Generation followed the way paved by the Beatniks. They, too, rejected materialism, and openly experimented with sexuality and drugs. The Beatniks looked to authors for inspiration, the hippies looked to music. THINK WOODSTOCK. Also, throw in the Vietnam War, and you have an automatic bond of people who oppose the war and support peace. Jost continues, "In the late 1970s, as the Vietnam War came to an end and the civil rights movement had seen its biggest victories, the Hippie culture began to give way to the Punks....Punks were anti-establishment and, in a shift from the Beats and Hippies, focused on the individual rather than community...aggressive music, moshing, and torn, harsh dress....AND NOW WE ARRIVE IN THE PRESENT (emphasis my own), and the Hipsters....Unlike previous generations, however, it seems as though Hipsters don't stand for, or against, anything at all..."

Well said, Ms. Jost. My biggest complaint of the hipster culture is the lack of passion, or DRIVE, to do anything! I admire the hippies, despite their sex-crazed and drug-induced lifestyles, for at least standing for something. And while I don't feel one label can describe my personality, I feel like the Gay-Rights movement in my generation is similar to the Civil-Rights movement of the Hippies in the mid 60's. Also, continuing in the Civil Rights movement, the first time I was able to vote for President, I worked diligently on the campaign. I marched, made phone calls, and attended meetings. Electing the first African-American president EVER is such an accomplishment for this nation, and I feel privileged to have had my opinions heard! Of course, one could also closely relate Vietnam to Iraq. Thankfully, my generation didn't get called to duty through a draft system, but I know many friends, and have family, who are STILL waiting for their loved ones to return from the middle east. Throw in awesome music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, and I see why one would closely relate our generation to the hippies. I'm just saying I'd rather be related to a peace-pushing, music-loving, politically-active HIPPIE than a boring, apathetic, hipster.

Photo credit: Madatons.com!

Poking fun. I don't think Hipsters really turn into Hippies. And I don't think all hippies look like this ridiculous stick figure. Hippies typically at least value education (contrary to the apathetic hipster, who thinks they are just too cool for school), and pursue their passions. Hippies are doctors, lawyers, and business executives. Nurses and teachers. Moms.
Photo credit: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2010/05/07/apple-hipsters-beware-from-hipster-to-hippie-in-6-steps/

And now, a couple personal hipster rants-

(1) I think the feathers are REALLY cute. I do. I even considered getting them put in my hair!!! But I have a friend who has her cosmetology license, and can buy things wholesale. These feathers have been backordered for MONTHS. And to catch up with the recent trend, roosters have to pay the price. I don't judge someone who wears the feathers-they probably didn't even think about it-but being vegetarian, I think wearing rooster's feathers just to look cute would be a little ironic. 
(Read the article from the NY Times here)

(2) The Native American headdress is a cultural and beautiful item.

On Native Americans.

I've been to the Osage dances, with my boyfriend and his family, and have seen actual Native American clothing. My friend, Whitney, had a full-ride to the University of Oklahoma because of her Hochunk descent. On a runway, in a photoshoot, or at a costume party, the headdress can be worn by anybody without my sneering remarks. But at a music festival? Regular house party? To the grocery store??? On a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Caucasian nonetheless? Please. I'm probably going to stare at you. I'm not trying to be mean-you're asking for it. CULTURAL SENSITIVITY, people. Again, with the apathy. Hipsters can wear a headdress and not think, nor care, about the way pioneers treated (and the way Americans STILL treat) the group of people that was here FIRST. Trail of Tears? Anybody?...

Photo Credit: http://urchinmovement.com/2010/05/05/hippies-v-hipsters-the-generation-the-revolution-died/ 
In summation, I think there is a desire for a lot of people to counter the culture. To go against the norm. What I find ironic, is that the recent "hipster" culture is a trend. I've heard many people say "hipster" and "hippie" are interchangeable terms, and I don't find that to be the case. I also don't think of myself as either of these terms, nor do I consider myself a "prep" or a "jock." I'm just a 24 year-old registered nurse. I happen to have a free-spirit. I love my family. I'm in love with my boyfriend. I love music (ranging from folk to rock, R&B to rap, classical to jazz, and even...GASP, indie rock! But I'm not a hipster, I promise). I am interested in photography, politics, and spirituality. I love and defend animals. Above all, I'm a peaceful and PASSIONATE human being! I don't partake in the drug or sexual experimentation (hence why I'm able to sit in front of a Mac and blog for a few hours...), so I don't like the label "hippie" which limits all that I can be. I'm LINDSAY.ELISE.VAN METER. And I'm changing, slightly, everyday, to become a better version of that girl.


*You can hear other viewpoints on hipsters/hippies on this Facebook site.

*My friend wrote a post in May after being called a "hippy" in a derogatory tone...and you really ought to read it here: WHEN RACHEL GOT CALLED OUT.


  1. I don't see head dresses offensive at all in anyway,and besides this is America you should be able to wear what ever you want. People need to get over these illusionary perceived prejudices. Yes, they are true to some merit but they aren't true to all individuals.. I believe the human race will step into a higher state of consciousness when society can shrug and laugh at stupid stereotypes instead of getting defensive and angry... To me that only causes more civil distrust. But, back to the topic I believe its not just hipsters in this world who are douches. It seems that lately this generations pop and counter cultures have been turning everyone into apathetic assholes who only care about being cool.. Jersey shore anyone? Think about it the Hipster and Jersey shore cultures are just two extremes doing the same damn thing which doesn't amount to much except being a asshole.

  2. Sans the judgmental tone and explicit language, I think I agree with you, at least about the Jersey Shore and Hipster commonality. Thanks for the comment!