Free Hipster Subculture Essay Sample

The name hipster was started after the jazz age, when hip came up to depict addicts of the growing scene. The word's basis are uncertain — some say it was an imitative of ‘hop’ a jargon word for opium, whilst others consider it came from the West African word hipi, signifying to open one's eyes. Steadily it turned into a noun, and the word hipster started.

Hipsters were middle-class white youths on the lookout for copying the lifestyle of the black jazz musicians (Hebdige 12). The subculture increased, and after World War II, a growing legendary scene became fond of the movement, such as poet Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac (early hipsters). As the earliest hipster age group aged, it was substituted with the etymologically diminutive hippies. The word hipsters faded for years until it was reborn in the 90’s,  used to depict an age group of the middle class youths concerned in a different art and music scenes.

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Hipsters are a subculture of women and men normally in their 20’s and 30’s that signify progressive politics, counter-culture, independent thinking, intelligence, creativity and an appreciation of art. The most concentrations can be established living in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. Though hipsterism is a condition of the mind, it also frequently tangled with diverse fashion sensibilities. The hipsters snub culturally-ignorant approach of typical consumers, and frequently seen wearing thrift store motivated fashions, old-school sneakers, thick rimmed glasses and tight-fitting jeans. The hipsters have been facing the economic reality. They struggle to pay rent due to parental support drying up. Population also changes, especially in Williamsburg (district neighborhood of New York), which is the largest natural habitat for hipsterdom (Joe and Michael 34). 

Both hipster women and men exercise alike androgynous hair styles that consist of mixture of asymmetric side-swept bangs and messy shag cuts. Such styles frequently get associated with the job of inventive stylists at urban salons, and normally become too anxious, for the culturally sheltered ordinary end user.

In spite of delusion based on hipsters’ aesthetic tastes, they tend to be learned and often have degrees in sciences and mathematics or liberal arts degrees, which also entail specific, creative logical, thinking abilities. As a result, several hipsters tend to have jobs in the fashion, music, and art industries. It is a fable that the majority of hipsters are jobless and live off of their parent's trust funds. The perception of feminism and androgyny have also manipulated hipster culture, where hipster men are often as slim as the women they date (Lanham, Bret and Jeff 36).

Though hipsters are precisely followers within their own subculture, in contrast to the much bigger normal mass, they are leaders and pioneers of the latest cultural ideals and trends. Ironically, many of the critics of hipster subculture are, in fact, naively following a pathway that hipsters have engraved out. Music bands have become booming and recognized to typical audiences, because as first adopters of the new culture, hipsters first found and listened to them. The rise of social networking sites and several online photo-blog have significantly contributed to the rise of the hipsters’ subculture at an exponential rate.

Annotated Bibliography

Lanham, Robert, Bret Nicely, and Jeff Bechtel. The Hipster Handbook. New York: Anchor Books, 2003. Print.

The handbook exposes the lives of those who think that they are too cool for school. Lanham says that hipsters are the ones who see around towns in platform shoes, smoking European cigarettes and reading Che Guevara’s biographies. He does his best to analyze the facial hair, the hangouts, the colleges and personality types of present day hipster. In a smart marketing attention-grabber, he piles up a raft of lists featuring critical hipster music and literature.

Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Routledge, 2002. Internet resource.

In the book, Hebdige comes up with the meanings following the fashionable exteriors of the youth subcultures. He approaches them with a complicated hypothetical apparatus that joins Marxism, semeiotics and the sociology of deviance.

Joe Austin and Michael Willard. Generations of youth: youth cultures and history in twentieth-century America. New York: NYU Press, 1998. Print.

Michael Willard and Joe Austin have brought the most influential cultural critics from cultural, historical and sociology studies to discover the cultural expressions of the 20th Century youth. Through the book, it is evident how gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity and class overlap to affect the notions of the youth (Brenna and Andrea 54).

Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz. Stuff Hipsters Hate: A Field Guide to the Passionate Opinions of the Indifferent. Berkeley: Ulysses Press, 2010. Print.

Ehrlich and Bartz evaluate hipster beliefs and habits. Through their observation of the hipster subculture that spurned them in their well-liked blog, they became disturbed by the Brooklyn hipster dating scene (Greif, Kathleen and Dayna 56). They point out social contribution of the hipsters, as it is ideal for the community to build new and different ways of entertainment.

Greif, Mark, Kathleen Ross, and Dayna Tortorici. What Was the Hipster: A Sociological Investigation. New York: n+1 Foundation, 2010. Print.

Rader, Ryan J. The Millennial Hipster: Superficial Reflections: a Sub-Cultural Manifesto. Muncie, Ind: s.n, 2010. Print.


With a deep yearning for legitimacy, the hipsters of nowadays go on to restore obsolete, analog technologies like record players, vintage television sets, typewriters and rotary telephones, mainly to incarcerate the sub cultural funds such technologies give to the bearer. The technologies present a physicality that a lot of digital technologies do not have. This physicality gives an impression of materiality, which offers a source of validity to those who grew up in the digital era (Rader 24).

The culture is often dismissed as an image thing by some individuals, but the hipster culture as a whole is carrying out changes in the world, leading to feelings of resentment and insecurity in individuals who are no longer an item in the cultural ruling class. It is significant for people to bet informed of the hipster subculture.


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