You can find them at a local vintage sale, or holed up in their rooms with their favorite vinyls.
They might be dirty, or ride their cruiser bikes down the street, beards blowing in the wind.
You know what you want to call them, but when it actually comes down to it, the H-word can seem like a bit of a slap in the face. Are hipsters really all that bad?
The term originally came from 1940s swing culture. Hipsters were jazz listeners, weed lovers and very sarcastic. They were also innovative individuals who created some great works of music, art and literature, among other things (the beginnings of sexual liberation, anyone?).
Hipsters weren't exactly a loved crowd by society back in the day, either, but maybe we need to rethink whom we are calling “hip” and whether or not that should be seen as such a negative label.
1. Hipsters are usually creative people.
Yes, we all know that one Gen-Yer who thinks he or she will be the next Proust and will write the work that defines our time. Maybe not, but you have to admit that most hipsters usually have some creative project going on.
We might scoff at someone's art piece with macaroni noodles and themes of irony and modern society, but Andy Warhol's soup cans weren't really considered museum-worthy by the people of his time, either.
Creativity is a hard thing to separate from "WTF?" sometimes, but at least we have people thinking outside of the proverbial box.
2. They are a mixture of old and new.
Think about combining the look and quality of a Thunderbird in the 1950s with all the modern conveniences of today, like an iPod jack and GPS system. That's the kind of thing hipsters love. The past has a lot to teach us, but there are a lot of things about modern culture that are worthwhile, too. So why just choose one?
Mixing the two might yield new, interesting results and possibilities. Although you might hate those vintage sunglasses the hipster at coffee shop has perched on her head, you can guarantee that Ray-Ban will probably come out with something very similar.
You might not want to pay for them, but you will want them all the same.
3. They are usually a humanitarian, or environmentally and culturally aware.
You might argue that they are only doing it for show, but whatever their intentions are, hipsters usually have a pretty good grasp on what is going on in the world and how they can help the environment.
Hating that hipster who chose to ride his bike to work doesn't change the fact that it was better for air quality. It might be annoying that she wears organically grown clothing or supports Kickstarter campaigns to help orphans in Thailand, but the fact is, she's making a difference.
It's worth considering that, in this case, maybe the results are stronger than the intentions.
4. They are usually well-educated.
This is definitely based on the individual, but most of the time, the hipster has been through a fairly solid educational system.
It might annoy us when we see them on the street reading a book, but at least they're reading. Maybe it's a pretentious title in a foreign language -- and maybe they don't understand the majority of it -- but reading can never be a bad thing. Who cares if they throw it back in your face and say it's a shame you haven't read it, even if they just finished it three days ago?
We need a society that spends less time on Tumblr (guilty) and more time thinking and stretching our minds to create a better world.
5. Hipsters are themselves — usually.
I can guarantee that the majority of the hipsters surrounding you were once ridiculed in high school. They were made fun of because of their interests, like playing the accordion or smoking from a pipe.
You have to appreciate the person who at one point decided that what other people thought no longer mattered, and that she was going to do her own thing.
Of course, there will always be those who pretend to like Bon Iver when really they would rather be listening to Miley Cyrus, but there are those who truly love to take a road less traveled -- probably by bike -- and we have to respect them for it.