The Hipster Effect » identity markers Identity, society and work in the age of perpetual connectivity Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:35:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Instant Hipster: Just add PBR /2011/11/08/instant-hipster-just-add-pbr/ /2011/11/08/instant-hipster-just-add-pbr/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:02:29 +0000 Sophy Bot /?p=422 more]]> Do mustaches a hipster make? Skinny jeans? Leggings? I set out on a hunt through Flickr to see just how much fashion effort it takes to be labeled a hipster. The answer: not very much at all.


A mustache only a scarecrow could love

The hipster scarecrow comes to us from the Portland Nursery, carrying a few of the best-known identity markers of the hipster: thick-rimmed glasses, a mustache and a flannel shirt. Apparently, combining these three items is all it takes to make a straw man worthy of mockery.



2 wheels good - 4 wheels bad

This photo is labeled “Hipster Fixie Bicyclists.” The assumption here is that riding a certain type of bike automatically makes you a hipster. Note that we cannot even see these people’s faces, but already they have been labeled and judged.



PBR, rollies and plaid - the hipster trifecta?

Here we have a young couple that the photographer has labeled as hipsters. Take a look at their appearance – other than the PBR and the rollie cigarette, what is it that earns them the hipster designation? While the gentleman’s jacket may be plaid, it’s not really the type of flannel normally associated with the hipster aesthetic. Would this image still earn the hipster label if they had nothing in their hands?



I see you baby. Drinking that Pabst.

On Flickr, this photo is titled “Caught Pabst-Handed” and labeled as definitive proof that its subject is a hipster. PBR notwithstanding, there’s not much about this guy that cries hipster. Yes, he has facial hair and is wearing what looks like a handmade scarf, but other than that he’s dressed quite normally. Would he still be called a hipster if his hands were empty?



Smoking is hip. Smoking in front of graffiti is hipster.

What exactly is it that makes these two hipsters? The photo shows them smoking and hanging out in the kind of place that has a lot of (artistic) graffiti. We can also see at least one visible tattoo on each of them, but other than that their clothes aren’t particularly wild or flamboyant. Are they labeled as hipsters simply because they’re smoking in “cool” surroundings?




Here we have a photo of a child trying on her daddy’s glasses. Obviously the “hipster” tag placed on this photo had to do with the frames and not with the child, but the implication is that anybody who wears these glasses is automatically considered a hipster. Did you think hipster or child when you first looked at this picture?



Where's Tom Selleck when you need him?

Finally, we have the “Mini-Hipsters.” The label is clearly used as a joke in this instance, but the implication – echoed by the photo caption, “The mustache is the new trucker hat” – is that there are certain identity markers that instantly make you a hipster.


We’ve reached the tipping point in the popularity of the “hipster” label. On the one hand, all it takes to be called a hipster is sporting just one or two of the associated identity markers. On the other hand, we’ve completely stigmatized the term by associating it with a variety of negative personality traits. It’s a dangerous brew we’ve stirred up, and one we should all take more notice of as fashion trends trickle through society and the label continues its meteoric rise into the mainstream. Let’s take a moment to remember the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. If you don’t want to be labeled a hipster just because you wear a certain item of clothing or drink a certain type of beer, then don’t label others for doing the same. After all, it’s just fashion.


Photo credits: frykitty, stevendepolo, Samantha Jade Royds, Lewis Kelly, Anna Majkowska, edenpictures, Clinton Steeds.


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