Call For Comments: Hipsters and Bikers and Goths, Oh My!

From Mav: A couple weeks, I saw a fun article floating around social media about a man who complained when he saw his own photo being used for an article about an MIT study that about why “all hipsters look alike” because of how insulting it was to say that… only to later find out that the person in photo was not actually him, just some other hipster who looked like him… you know… because all hipsters look alike. That’s funny in and of itself, and so I shared it on Facebook… you know, as you do. And it sparked a little bit of comment conversation. My friend Mike Higgins pointed out that:

“After all, there are numerous non-mainstream fashion groups (goths, punks, hippies, etc.) and the classic ‘hipster’ look is just one of them. Hipsters aren’t articulating opposition to a majority group by their fashion choices, they are articulating membership in a specific sub-group.”

And he’s right… or sort of. We talked a bit around that and then I realized it might make a good idea for an episode. We talk about subcultures a lot on this show (especially me and Katya). But we never really define them. I figured now would be a good time to do that. Subcultures come up quite a bit on the internet… both as a general concept (along with related terms like “identity politics” or “community” or “fandom” or “stereotype”) and just in general usage when talking about groups that are subcultures (or micro cultures… a term no one uses… which makes me say “hey, do people know what a micro culture is?”) like hipsters, or SJWs, or lesbians, or nerds, or fanboys, or punks, or goths, or incels, or… gamers… or… or… actually… there’s just a TON of them.

So that’s the real question we want to start with this week. They’re rather open ended ones. What does “sub-culture” mean to you? What about identity politics? Do you consider yourself a part of a sub-culture? Do you find certain terms insulting or preferable to others? What do you think about when you hear terms? What subcultures can you identify? Do you know what the fuck a microculture is?

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13 Replies and 1 Webmention for “Call For Comments: Hipsters and Bikers and Goths, Oh My!”

  1. So. I legitimately hate being called “hipster”-y in anyway. However, emo-trash is a valid compliment. This is because hipsters are such d-bags! Like yeah they’ve got the stereotype, but they REALLY are pretentious jerks! Plus, hipster style goes 4 ways for femme dressing; definitely has an Instagram with pastel colors, over sized frumpy dull, short bangs “feminism is in my blood”, and electric forrest/Coachella.
    Emo (trash) is just sad adults who still jam to bowling for soup, green day, boys like girls, mayday parade, etc, who love dark colors and probably either only wear too tight or too loose clothes.
    Emo is people stuck in 2007. Hipsters are people that think they’re “too good for today”, and only nature, older music, and bands “that like no one knows cause they’re so underground” make good music (even though they totally still listen to ariana grande’s and/or Billie eilish (whatever her name is)
    Point is, I’ll take being dressed in black and being stuck in the days of American Idiot over “sorry I only drink fresh squeezed organic juice that was treated with good vibes”

    1. It should be there now. I meant to comment here originally. When you comment on FB, they get copied there automatically. When you comment on the blog directly the first time, I have to go approve it… and then all of your future ones should be approved automatically.

      Anyway, thanks!

  2. Heres my blog comment!

    So. I legitimately hate being called “hipster”-y in anyway. However, emo-trash is a valid compliment. This is because hipsters are such d-bags! Like yeah they’ve got the stereotype, but they REALLY are pretentious jerks! Plus, hipster style goes 4 ways for femme dressing; definitely has an Instagram with pastel colors, over sized frumpy dull, short bangs “feminism is in my blood”, and electric forrest/Coachella.
    Emo (trash) is just sad adults who still jam to bowling for soup, green day, boys like girls, mayday parade, etc, who love dark colors and probably either only wear too tight or too loose clothes.
    Emo is people stuck in 2007. Hipsters are people that think they’re “too good for today”, and only nature, older music, and bands “that like no one knows cause they’re so underground” make good music (even though they totally still listen to ariana grande’s and/or Billie eilish (whatever her name is)
    Point is, I’ll take being dressed in black and being stuck in the days of American Idiot over “sorry I only drink fresh squeezed organic juice that was treated with good vibes”

    1. So I think Brooklin is doing a good thing here by establishing something that we should talk about. That is, equating the subculture behavioral stereotypes through the fashion…

      This is something we sort of touched on in episode 50, but I think it goes farther. Brooklin is certainly a latter day Millennial (by birth year) but she’s specifically identifying with a subculture that is much more associated with GenX or early day Millennials. IF I understand her correctly (and she can say if I’m not) her MAIN distaste with the “hipster” tag would be mental… she’s rejecting attitudes, priorities, behaviors… BUT, specifically identifying it in terms of the fashion that makes the hipster visually recognizable.

      Can you be a douchebag hipster, born in 1997, eating avocado toast and organic juice, associating with the social cause of the day BUT dressed like 1989 era Robert Smith/The Crow/Edward Scissorhands?

  3. All subcultures require a certain degree of conformity – even Juggalos expect you to have your facepaint and faygo. I’m a little broader on what constitutes a “subculture” tho – evangelical Christians are a subculture, particularly the type that actively consume those weird faith-based movies with Kirk Cameron etc.

    Some subcultures are better integrated than others too – sports fans are a subculture that’s kind of mainstream, but still have their own thing.

    1. Cenate Pruitt there’s definitely an element of conformity that we should address yes. And yeah I tend to take the wider definition of subculture as well. So I would certainly claim that Christians are one… or moreover a collection of subcultures that includes evangelicals among others.

      There’s certainly an aspect of performance that goes hand in hand with the more extreme examples. Performativity enhances recognition. But I think we should also note it’s not limited to that.

      You’re a sociologist. Want to be on the episode?

  4. Just wanted to specifically mention that I know identity politics has been a term that has existed since before I was born, but its modern usage just really sets me off nowadays. So many people will just throw it out there as a sort of “Ugh, who gives a shit if something doesn’t have a cis straight white dude in it? Ugh, why do I need to learn somebody’s pronouns? This is dumb, you’re dumb, I don’t want to think about this.” response to pretty much anything and everything that doesn’t fit into their selfish “white privilege” existence. /rant

    As for some of your other questions…

    I’m not sure how exactly I’d identify sub-cultures personally. If anything I’d label them more specifically as something you are part of BY CHOICE, which means race, gender, and sexual orientation aren’t really sub-culture in my mind.

    I’ve been part of a number of sub-cultures whether in beliefs or in clothing styles (because every sub-culture has a uniform whether you’re decked out in your best black clothing and eyeliner as a Goth or your best crying eagle t-shirt and red hat as a Trumpkin.) The first scene I felt connected to was Goth, then later it was more just Gamer/Geek, and nowadays I guess it’s SJW.

    I know SJW is kind of the derisive term made up by the GamerGate-like crowds, but I’ve never had an issue with that term. Oddly enough though, the term I’ve really started to cringe about is “Gamer”. It’s such a hollow word nowadays, especially as the range of people playing games have vastly increased and we had to start necessitating the prefix of “Hardcore” to the label. Plus, a large swath of that sub-culture is just a toxic wasteland that I’d never want to be labeled as a Gamer nowadays. It’s more embarrassing to me than my Goth phase, haha.

    As for Microcultures… to throw your question back at you… What the fuck is a Microculture?

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