By the shear nature of its definition, Hipsters are ever-evolving as a subculture. Categorized by those who define and embrace trends at their earliest stages, true Hipsters are always a step ahead when it comes to everything from fashion, politics, music, sex and relationships, and alternative lifestyles. They are perennially “hip” by definition.
The term can be traced back to the 1940’s and has mutated over time to take form during the beat, hippie, punk and grunge movements that followed. The most recent incarnation has emerged in the mid 1990’s and has its cultural headquarters in cities like San Francisco, Portland and Brooklyn (among others).
As trendsetters, Hipsters can be considered those who embrace fetishes at their earliest stages, and bring them to light. Once adopted by the mainstream, Hipsters will abandon their association with their fetish. Think of how selvedge jeans, Pabst beer (PBR), ironic beards, organic-sustainable-local foods, the sharing culture, fixies, selfies, and even being an Obama or Occupy Wall Street supporter have fallen into the vast melting pot of society. Once a Hipster trend hits mainstream America, it is time to mutate to the next progressive trend.
And interestingly, even the term Hipster has become so mainstream that it may be time for a new term for those who seek new terms and behaviors.
New polling by Public Policy Polling has found that half of voters aged 18 to 29 self-identify as hipsters. HALF! How can half of young adults consider their behavior hipsteresque? The study also reports that 21% of voters think that PBR is a good beer <grin>.
Thankfully the same study found just 16% of Americans have a favorable opinion of hipsters, with 46% believing that hipsters "soullessly appropriate cultural tropes from the past for their own ironic amusement." However, 23% think they make a positive contribution to society—so perhaps the subculture definition still stands—for now.
The term “Hipster” may be turning mainstream, but its subculture natural tendency to mutate and drive new tastes and behaviors will no doubt continue on the fringes of society—even if the term itself is considered un-hip.