Jodi Lo | Tuesday, April 1, 2014
My photo editor and I had a talk the other week about his backpack. It wasn’t something special or unique, in fact, it was a red Herschel backpack, a growingly common sight on the Notre Dame campus. However, even though it has become a common sight, I still didn’t quite understand why people bought this backpack. Wei, our photo editor, was telling me that it was a normal backpack and that he bought his backpack before it became popular on campus. Popular on campus — hipster much? That makes sense, I mean Wei is as hipster as any student at Notre Dame can be. But this acknowledgement led me to question: “Exactly what does it mean to be hipster?”
Wei and I talked a little bit more and we finally concluded that being hipster is similar to playing “The Game” back in middle and high school. If you, for a moment, think that you are a hipster, then you most certainly are not. By the way, you just lost “The Game”.
Urban Dictionary has an alternative definition I will sum up for you. They say hipsters are pretty much people with an actual physical appearance of tight pants and shaggy hair.
I always felt like that definition was rather archaic, since fashion changes all the time. Tight pants became fashionable after my sophomore year in high school and I definitely remember Chad Michael Murray pulling off the shaggy hair in Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan. Those people in my high school were definitely not hipsters, no matter what definition was applied to them and Chad Michael Murray played a janitor in high school, which is not hipster.
Reddit has its own definition of what a hipster is and how to define hipsters. In a meme, Redditors describe a hipster by the unique activities that they do, for instance, bringing a typewriter into a Starbucks, having crazy tattoos or working as a barista.
In the end, there are just too many definitions of what a hipster is for the general population to unanimously agree upon one definition. This ambiguity in the definition of a hipster is particularly interesting because being a hipster seems rather intrinsic to all of us. This conclusion has led me to the belief that it doesn’t matter what the definition of a hipster is, especially since hipsters don’t like being defined. What matters is that my local barista “hipster” will hopefully be serving me coffee tomorrow morning.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.