Hipster Mania

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The hipster trend was something I was completely unaware of until, surprise surprise, I moved to Eugene Oregon in 2009. Maybe it was because I have a habit of being completely unaware of my surroundings or maybe it’s because I couldn’t recognize it before I was nearer to the hipster Mecca of Portland but either way the cultural phenomenon snuck up on me. Admittedly I had been somewhat apart of the emo kick that hit my middle school but this hipster thing seemed far to angsty and disagreeable for me to embrace.

All the sudden people who had made fun of my interest in Star Wars were taking episodes 1-3 seriously. Video arcades were accepted as a hangout location. Reading books was cool. It was very weird, my lifestyle of choice was a completely viable option here. I could spend my mornings at the independent movie theater and then grab a late lunch at the classic burger joint complete with air hockey tables and no one would bat an eye. I could mention being in a book club (code name mdbc) and nobody made a face.

It’s called being a hipster. At first I admit I did actually love it, I wasn’t big on the title (Ikr) but it fit me and I was happy to be in a place where I didn’t constantly need to evaluate what I liked and why I liked it. I slowly learned though that it’s not as laid-back as it sounds, maintaining the hipster status is about as much work as being cool. You find yourself enjoying just one trendy thing and you’re out. Even if you REALLY DID like it before it was cool you might have to let it go because you sure as hell won’t be taken seriously if you say so. That’s the problem with aligning yourself with any one group, it involves an amount of commitment that I’m just not ready for. People can’t commit to love but they can commit to a trend cult, it really is beyond me. But who am I anyway?

Once the IFC started up it’s original series Portlandia I began to truly see the irony of hipsterdom. It may have originated with indie music festivals in Portland but it soon spread to San Fransisco, LA, Seattle, Phoenix, Bolder, and even Nashville. A few years ago NPR did a piece about hipster culture and I feel like they really hit the nail on the head.

It’s great, hipsters (much like hippies) embrace a need for change. They are of course apposed to “mainstream” media and consumer goods and recycling has become a no-brainer in the pacific northwest, as has using your own cloth bag at the grocery store. After all, corporations are destroying the economy for middle-class Americans and humans are running out of finite resources so recycling and bicycle riding is very good. Could it be though that the supposedly super accepting hipster ways are leading to even more corporate greed and social pressure? Some people live too far from work or town to ride a bike and not everyone can buy their skinny jeans at the Buffalo Exchange or even at American Eagle. Even if the high prices are not an issue for you little things known as plus-size clothing and consumer demand make sure of that. As soon as leggings and over-sized flannels were in though, bigger companies with over-seas labor forces started producing these things too. Now those that couldn’t afford or find their size at the above examples headed to less traditionally hip stores to find their own hipster fashions, but if you buy your scarves and previously ripped jeans from Walmart isn’t that against everything hipsters stand for? Society is quick to forget the point but remember the look.

Or another thing that I didn’t notice until moving to Eugene is what I’ve come to call the hipster-homeless. These are people whom decide to be homeless for periods of time, but instead of backpacking Europe and staying in hostels or getting a part-time job and rooming with a million other like minded people they pan-handle on the streets. This is not to suggest that homelessness is not a REAL problem for thousands of people, it is. Thousands of people loose their homes and/or their jobs and are forced into homelessness constantly. Perhaps though a better way of understanding them is to help them not join them. In my opinion people who are homeless by choice are actually taking away from and making light of the real homeless issue because many of the privileged opt to view all the poor as deliberate, but that is a different piece entirely.

Anyway, my tangent is going off direction. All I mean to tell my readers is be who you are and do what you like, don’t worry about fitting a mold. Molds shift and change over time anyway. Like I’ve alluded to many times before happiness should be the main goal so go out and live the life that makes you such, don’t worry how you look doing it.

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