troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Hipster

Q: How did the hipster burn his hand?

*sigh* I was describing tropes before it was cool...

In the 1940s, "hipsters" were middle-class white people (often Jewish, or at least ambiguously so) who emulated the lifestyles of black jazz musicians. This was, for them, an existentialist rejection of society. These hipsters were an unorganized movement that eventually morphed into the beatniks of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s.

Sometime in the late 1990s - early 2000s, the term hipster was dusted off and applied to a new generation that expressed the old hipster ideals in new ways. They were now predominantly middle-class, urban, white 20-something-year-olds interested in alternative culture: left-of-center politics, alternative music, independent films, thrift-store or vintage fashion, Apple products, and a diet of locally-grown, organic or vegetarian/vegan food.

In The New Tens, self-identified hipsters (if such a thing can even be found, as no one seems willing to call themselves by this name) view themselves as intellectuals who reject the mainstream and carefully define their own identities, taking a buffet-style approach to elements of other cultures and subcultures. Your typical hipster outfit will appropriate and/or cannibalize elements from the punk, hippie and rave scenes, plus '90s geek-chic, and some token from a non-Western culture; lacking the raison d'etre of any of these subcultures, the hipster will instead use an air of sarcasm to tie the ensemble together (the '60s hippie did much the same, only without the irony). Hipsters' musical tastes are eclectic but generally centered around such genres as Indie Rock, Baroque Pop, Jangle Pop, Alternative Hip Hop, Alternative Country, Heavy Metal, Garage Rock, Post-Rock, Punk Rock, and minimalist Techno. Particular bands hipsters tend to enjoy include Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Beach House, Belle and Sebastian, Jens Lekman, Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom, Grizzly Bear, Dr. Dog, Best Coast, and all Elephant 6 Collective bands (especially Neutral Milk Hotel), although only knowing those bands is only half the battle as an obscure and eclectic taste in music is preferred. Pitchfork, a music blog, is probably the most important hipster taste-maker and gate-keeper of the past decade.

It should be noted that while these bands may be popular among hipsters, this doesn't make the bands themselves 'hipster bands'. Conversely, a nominal 'hipster band' may actually be abandoned by hipsters if it becomes too "mainstream". (Arcade Fire, for instance, were written off by many once they found mainstream popularity from Grammy nominations and soundtrack appearances in movies like Where the Wild Things Are and The Hunger Games.) Additionally, a good portion of bands loved by hipsters actively reject the sarcasm, snobbery, and trendiness that often go along with hipster culture. Arcade Fire have been known to throw in jabs at them in their songs ("they will eat right out of your hand/using great big words that they don't understand!") and indie folk group Bon Iver outright defied the label by recording an ultra-sincere, proudly cheesy autotuned Power Ballad for their second album.

A critical mind might see hipsters as yet another subculture dedicated to individuality ended up manifesting just as much herd mentality as the mainstream it rejected, along with a tendency to act as though popularity and quality are inversely proportional, and to be aggressively smug (read: shamelessly arrogant) about it.

From this was derived the strawman hipster of numerous parodies: A person who spends $60 on a new, designer-brand T-shirt which was faux-aged to look like something you could buy for $2 at Goodwill. A person whose taste in music is calculated to win "Whose iPod playlist is most obscure?" contests, and who disowns their favorite band for being played on mainstream radio. A person who, upon admitting that he or she partakes in any form of mainstream entertainment — especially anything with a "redneck" stigma (like NASCAR, Nickelback or Mixed Martial Arts) — claims that s/he's only "enjoying it ironically". An educated rich kid who superficially denies his privilege even as he flaunts his cultural capital. A person who mocks every other hipster he sees but vehemently denies being a hipster him or herself. In short: that jerk who thinks he's better than you because he's so aggressively different.

Due to this strawman, the term "hipster" is frequently used as an insult, lobbed in the direction of anyone deemed pretentious or the slightest bit "artsy." Further confusing the issue, hipsters themselves will, owing to their "indier-than-thou" attitude, frequently disown any hipster fashions or artists that catch on in the mainstream. One year, hipsters may wear distressed jeans and t-shirts with ironic vintage logos; the next year, self-professed hipsters will stop wearing those because they're available at every Walmart in America, while the latecomers who start wearing those will still be labeled hipsters by outsiders. This only further contributes to the decay of the label (although the term "scenesters" is sometimes used for these johnny-come-latelies). But the real reason hipsters get so much hate is probably just the perceived smugness.

Compare Emo Teen, Beatnik, Granola Girl, New-Age Retro Hippie, Bourgeois Bohemian. Related to Irony, Postmodernism, Popularity Polynomial. Often holds the belief that True Art Is Angsty.

Those unfamiliar with subcultural and countercultural movements will often confuse Goth, Punk, Raver and Emo with the Hipster subculture, using "hipster" as a catch-all term for any quirky or alternative music or fashion, including those affiliated with other subcultures. This is a huge, huge Berserk Button for anyone involved in any of the aforementioned alternative subcultures.

See also I Read It for the Articles. Not to be confused with Rule of Cool or Isn't It Ironic? (It is.)

Usually this trope is in opposition to The Man. Yeah, we just had to point that out.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The Mac guy from the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads is considered by many to be a hipster stereotype. In fact, many people who appear in Apple ads appear to be hipsters. This is likely the result of Apple trying to tell people "Buy a Mac and be a hip counterculture artist rather than a PC using drone."
  • The "Don't Be So Mayo" campaign for Miracle Whip tries to appeal to hipsters

    Art 
  • "Interior Semiotics" is an offensive exhibit that was greatly associated with hipsters, due to the vast majority attending the exhibit. That is all you need to know.

    Comic Books 
  • Frank, from The New York Four. That guy knew the greatest underground bands... before you did.
  • In Empire State, Jason warns Sara that if she moves to New York City, she's going to be surrounded by annoying hipsters. She moves anyway, and upon speaking to Jimmy again:
    Sara: You were right about the annoying hipsters here, too. The worst are the ones who complain about all the other annoying hipsters while not realizing that they themselves are the annoying hipsters.
  • Jack Knight, despite living in the present day, is actually the classic version of a hipster. Somewhat understandable, as he's an antiques dealer in a Retro Art Deco City and the son of a Golden Age superhero.

    Film 
  • The characters of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are somewhat hipsterish, although it's more of an Affectionate Parody/criticism toward the lifestyle.
    • More of the villains seem to fit the hipster mold than the sympathetic characters do. Matthew Patel for sure, with his weird fashions and declarations of what is "in" this year. Gideon Gordon Graves clearly aspires to be some sort of hipster king, flaunting his impossibly hip new club and telling Scott he's not cool enough to date Ramona. Scott and his friends, meanwhile, seem to send the message that being honest and true to yourself is the way to be happy in life.
  • Richard Linklater's Slacker is possibly a sociological, non-linear Start of Darkness of the hipster subculture. As a commenter on IMDB once said, "there is ALWAYS going to be 20-year-olds."
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
  • Allison in Yes-Man, if her strange fashion sense, a penchant for indie music and unusual hobbies are any indication. A rare non-satirical example.
  • Zooey Deschanel plays a bisexual hipster in Our Idiot Brother.
  • In Juno, Juno and her boyfriend are pretty much hipsters, though her friend Leah is only a marginal example. Jason Bateman's character attempts to seduce Juno through their shared appreciation of hipster media.
  • Wes Anderson's oeuvre is basically hipster bait, but hardly any of his characters are actually hipsters.
  • Rob, Barry and Dick in High Fidelity think themselves this, with the usual results.
  • Pretty much everyone in Les Amours imaginaires (also known as Heartbeats)—basically everyone in all of Xavier Dolan's films, actually.
  • In This Is the End Emma and Craig accuse Jay of being a hipster because of his tight-cuffed pants and his dislike of the Los Angeles lifestyle. They then ask if he hates universally-loved movies like Forrest Gump (which he does admit to hating).

    Jokes 
  • Two hipsters walk into a bar. One turns to the other and says "Let's get out of here." The second responds, "Yeah, this place is full of hipsters."
  • How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? It's an obscure number, you've probably never heard of it.
  • How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? You don't know?
  • How many hipsters can you get into a phone booth? One, any more and it would be too mainstream.
  • Why did the hipster cross the road? To get to the other Starbucks on the other side.
  • If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it - a hipster has bought the soundtrack on limited edition vinyl.
  • How much does a hipster weigh? An instagram.
  • How do you drown a hipster? Chuck 'em in the mainstream.
  • Why did the hipster drown himself in the ocean? It's deep, you probably wouldn't understand it.
  • How did the hipster burn their mouth? They drank their coffee before it was cool.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Portlandia on IFC parodies the lifestyle of hipsters and the older Bourgeois Bohemians.
  • Britta Perry in Community plays this for laughs, but there's also a bit of mostly-sympathetic deconstruction going on, since she's frequently exposed as being lonely, deeply insecure and painfully aware that she's not nearly as cool, intelligent and well-liked as she likes to pretend she is.
    • Jeff Winger tends to share the role of group hipster with Britta, although he tends to occupy the 'vain, self-centred and desperately obsessed with being seen as the coolest person in the room (while simultaneously desperately obsessed with being seen as aloof and uncaring about being cool)' part of the stereotype, while Britta's more the 'smug, condescending indie-culture left-winger' part. Also mostly-sympathetically-deconstructed, as it's increasingly revealed that this is mainly just a cover for his many neuroses.
  • Chris Morris's sitcom Nathan Barley was a satire of London hipsterdom, particularly the title character.
  • Happy Endings parodied hipsters in the epsiode "Dave of the Dead". Penny hooks up with one unknowingly when she meets one at the laundromat and assumes his shabby attire is due to being the last clean clothes he had. Max instructs her in acting the part, by basically not caring about anything. She eventually leaves him because, being a Large Ham, couldn't bear acting aloof all the time. The final scene had hipsters shuffling like zombies toward Dave's food truck.
    • The second-to-last scene features Penny calling out a girl for using a wheelchair as part of her "look." The girl says she is paralyzed. Just as Penny starts apologizing, "Psych. I can totes walk. Sweet chair, though, right?" Penny proceeds to wheel her into something off-screen.
  • Namechecked in The Big Bang Theory. While Leonard and Penny try to hang out as Just Friends at a bar Penny strikes up a conversation with a friendly but sardonic guy named Kevin on his laptop, who fits the trope despite comparatively little screentime. Leonard thought she was just trying to make a point to him, but Penny mentions that she found him cute with his "hipster glasses and dorky t-shirt." (While certainly not a hipster, Leonard wears similar glasses and dorky t-shirts)
  • A common sketch on You're Skitting Me where the eponymous hipsters take their ideals too far. (e.g. dying in a restaurant of eating raw chicken because they don't want to eat normal chicken)
  • Andre from The League is what happens when a hipster becomes needy and desperate rather than smug.
  • In the revival series of Doctor Who, the costume theme for each Doctor is (by admission of Word of God) based on a British subculture. The Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is the Hipster - he dresses in slightly caricatured hipster fashion that also doubles as Awesome Anachronistic Apparel, and is greatly invested in how various extremely lame things make him cool.

    Literature 
  • Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard's university thesis paper has the 1800s equivalent of a hipster title: "On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates."
  • The main characters of Ben Croshaw's post-apocalyptic novel Jam are being antagonised by a tribe of hipsters lead by a "Lord Awesomo" for a good part of the story. For what reason? Well, because the tribe has decided to be ironically evil. Not being evil is simply too mainstream for them.

    Music 

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 
  • Affectionately used in Game Mod Red Alert 3: Paradox with the Viet Cong, who are hipsters by virtue of being underground and because no one has ever heard of them when they attacked.
  • Who stuck Tao in a Hipster?
  • In Fossil Fighters: Champions, the Terrible Trio is made up of Acceptable Hobby Targets. They're eventually made sympathetic by the end - they only fell in with the supposed bad guy because he's the only one who treated them decently - but Cole the hipster is still the target of more mockery than the other two (a metalhead and a hippie, for the record).
  • In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard uses an hilarious line when pretending to be prey for Morinth:
    Shepard: I like obscure music.
    Morinth: How obscure?
    Shepard: If you've heard of it, it's already too mainstream for me.
    • Morinth herself counts as one, as her typical prey includes artists and creative persons. She also loves anything which celebrates hedonism and the grotesque.
  • Since the Grand Theft Auto games also serve as social commentary on the period each game is set in, it's pretty inevitable that the IV saga and V (both set during the turn of the 2010s, during which the hipster subculture as known today would emerge) would ruthlessly parody this trope.
    • In IV, there is Radio Broker, an alternative rock station catering to hipsters, while its DJ, Juliette Lewis (as herself), snarks about the particular subculture and their tendency to reject things that have gone mainstream. There are also news reports about them starting to flood the suburbs around Liberty City, indirectly causing taxi fare hikes (because, according to the drivers, they can't distinguish real beggars from well-to-do street-people-wannabes).
    • In V, one of Trevor's Berserk Buttons is being called one. Michael even mocks him for living like a hipster, going so far as to call him a "proto-hipster" and exactly the kind of person that all hipsters aspire to be.

    Web Comics 
  • Cyanide and Happiness occasionally makes fun of hipsters.
  • Hark! A Vagrant looked at some of the historical precursors of the hipsters.
    Kate Beaton: I think it's funny when people complain super loud about how 'hipsters ruined' this or that as though if hipsters would just go away the problem is solved and you can go back to wearing plaid shirts too or something. Because I mean, directionless youths have always appropriated things and made them annoying!
  • Hipster Hitler is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Adolf Hitler as a hipster.
  • Homestuck:
    • Dave Strider is initially a parody of hipster culture, as he's obsessed with (his interpretation of) irony, and with living in the most ironic way possible. Although, unlike most hipsters, his taste runs more towards hip-hop and dance music rather than indie rock. In any case, the events of Sburb have caused quite a bit of Character Development, and his interest in irony is no longer emphasized so much. It's also implied that Dave's obsession with irony is a coping mechanism for dealing with his Bro's creepier obsessions.
    • Dirk Strider is also very interested in irony—except he takes his irony so far that it twists back around to sincerity. Sometimes even he himself can't tell at what point his treatment of, say, the Detective Pony novel, transitions from mockery to celebration.
    • Eridan Ampora actually gets called an "ugly scarfnecked douchebag hipster" at one point, and he certainly dresses the part. (He's even earned the Fan Nickname "hipster fish".) On the other hand, he doesn't do very much hipster-ish besides dress the part.
    • His ancestor/clone/descendant/alternate-universe counterpart Cronus also looks rather like a hipster but he's just pretending to be a human Greaser Other Kin to get dates.
  • Indie Rock Pete from Diesel Sweeties.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: "I am of the opinion that the word hipster means absolutely nothing anymore. People seem to use it to refer to people younger than 40 who wear clothes. And Iím sure even if they didnít, that would be 'so counterculture' and end up being hipster too."
  • Questionable Content allegedly features (or featured) hipsters, including main characters Marten and Faye, but the hipster tone has been dramatically lowered as time has gone on. The comic has evolved into more of a Slice of Life story featuring struggling post-college individuals than one about music.
    • A helpful definition from QC: What's the best way to piss off a poseur-hipster-indie music fan? Actually enjoy music.
  • What the Fu features a super-hip bar called the Hipster Jester. "It's so esoteric, it actually exists outside mainstream spacetime. You can't find it unless someone takes you there, and even then you probably won't remember the way."
  • In Rusty and Co., hipster vampires.
  • In one Real Life Comics strip, Greg considers getting some Converse All-Stars and his wife Liz starts insulting him, to which Greg replies that Chuck Taylors were around decades before hipsters were.
    Liz: Oh, so you're saying you liked them before they were cool, huh? I can't even look at you right now.
    • This gets a Call Back a few weeks later, when Greg doesn't want to see The Hunger Games because it's too popular (since he tried Twilight due to its popularity and got burned).
      Liz: That's it, tomorrow, you are returning those Converse All-Stars.
      Greg: I am not turning into a hipster, I am turning into a cranky old man. Our jeans aren't as tight.
  • Morris and Harry from The Word Weary are self-identified hipsters. The author said in the comments section of this comic that Morris has a real appreciation for the musical and fashion aesthetics of the subculture while Harry became one "because he heard hipster girls were easy."
  • In Sinfest, Monique and Slick discuss whether it's dead.

    Web Original 
  • The blog (and book) Stuff White People Like could be more accurately called Stuff Hipsters Like.
    • That's one of the jokes, that hipsters = white people. They occasionally note the existence of other groups of white people, like the people who like Ed Hardy and Dane Cook, but for the most part, they assume white people refers to young, pretentious, elitist, liberal white people.
  • Look at this fucking hipster. Seems to have stopped updating once the book was published.
  • Free Spirit, a superhero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, is not only Camp Gay, he's so hip he has trouble seeing past his own beltline.
  • Survival of the Fittest: Gracie Wainright and Rhory Anne Broderick of v4 both have tendencies of this trope. Bob Lazenby of SOTF-TV also fits, as do Leopold Sutherland and Eloise Winterburn.
  • Hipster Kitty. That is all.
  • Evolution of the Hipster
  • Expert Hipster Hunters at your service.
  • William Darcy from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is described as a Generic Doomsday Villain variant by the Unreliable Narrator, Lizzie Bennet. When he appears, he is actually an Adorkable if overly snarky Horrible Judge of Character who believes that Good Is Not Nice and has a rather low opinion of comformist modern society and a high opinion of himself. Just like Lizzie.
  • The Starks from School Of Thrones are a clique of hipstera. "The Stark way is the vintage way."
  • Eric, from Mall Fight. He basically checks every box aside from being a vegetarian. Instead, he is a pecitarian (outside of Chinese food).
  • Grooveshark (a music streaming website) had a prank on April Fools' Day 2012, where any music you play would elicit on-screen commentary from Hipster Jen or Hipster Otis. "I have this song on limited-edition colored vinyl." "I guess this song isn't TOO embarrassing." "This makes my mustache sad."
  • The Basement Dwellers: Hipster Disease
  • There's a "Pocket Hipster" iPhone app that scans the mp3s you have saved on your phone's memory and makes snarky comments about your tastes in music.
  • The Nostalgia Chick used to be, but now wants to distance herself from those days as much as is humanly possible.
  • Alex from Sex House has shades of this.
    Alex: Soren Damgaard is the hottest thing going now. I've heard of him.
  • Tumblr is considered to be full of hipsters.
  • Need some hipster word-filler? Hipster Ipsum has got you covered:
    Meh letterpress pickled, fashion axe 3 wolf moon ethical williamsburg readymade viral squid. Hella raw denim williamsburg, fashion axe forage dreamcatcher 8-bit. Portland meggings pug Truffaut, small batch skateboard trust fund mixtape fanny pack iphone literally raw denim kogi. Seitan truffaut gluten-free forage, sustainable biodiesel tousled yr artisan mlkshk art party trust fund squid street art. Chambray etsy quinoa, mlkshk kogi banksy trust fund shoreditch selfies truffaut jean shorts. Gastropub artisan selfies twee, meggings shoreditch Austin tonx umami bushwick fixie church-key blue bottle selvage. Freegan wayfarers hashtag, pour-over raw denim retro locavore organic meh kale chips meggings keffiyeh scenester flexitarian fingerstache.
  • Cracked on hipsters and "anti-conformists" (although they're portrayed as identical-looking goths the author is mainly talking about hipsters but "nobody wants to draw hipsters, they'd have to be wearing something different in every panel and then there goes your whole day.")
  • A popular trend on Facebook- most definitely played for satirical irony and laughs towards the whole Hipster culture- are "Hipster" versions of popular fictional (or otherwise infamous) characters. Hipster Slenderman, Hipster Hitler, Hipster Naruto, Hipster Stewie, Hipster Chewbacca, The Hipster Joker.. The list goes on... Just to drive the point home, almost all of their profile pics have them wearing the standard black horn-rimmed "hipster" glasses.
  • Hipster ArielI mean "Helvetica" — and other hipster memes.
  • This sketch by Dorkly Originals parodies the generic hipster.
  • Piper on Orange Is The New Black is portrayed as having been a hipster before she was sent to jail for drug related charges.

    Western Animation 
  • On the King of the Hill episode "Lady and Gentrification", Peggy sells a lot of homes in Enrique's neighborhood to hipsters, who like it for its ethnic flavor. Eventually they start opening business and driving up property values, to the point that poor Enrique can't afford to live there anymore. Peggy and Hank fix this by pretending that rednecks and typical suburban white people were moving in.
    Hank Hill: Enrique's neighborhood sure has changed fast, I tell you what. All these "artists" have started moving in. They all look the same, all skinny and walk real slowly.
    Dale: The people you are referring to are called hipsters, Hank. They walk slowly because they've got nowhere to be, man.
  • Super News had a recurring skit called "Hipsters In Space." Take a wild guess as to what it is.
  • Mordecai from Regular Show shows traits of this, although "This Is My Jam" made it pretty clear.
    Mordecai: You can't touch music. But music can touch you.
    • Also from the same episode:
      Mordecai (regarding Brain Explosion, his favorite band): Yeah, you probably have never heard of them. You gotta be in the know to know, y'know?
    • In the same episode, he also criticises Rigby for liking a song from his youth because it was too popular. They listen to this song on cassette tape, which has become enjoyed a renaissance in popularity amongst hipsters.
    • In "Camping Can Be Cool" he mentions he went to art school at some point while talking to Margaret, but he most likely dropped out.
      • And let's not forget that Mordecai talks like a surfer dude and/or stoner despite the fact he clearly isn't one, in fact being something of a lazy slob. Of course this is J.G. Quintel's real voice, but still.
    • And let's not forget the episode "Cool Bikes", where they dress in different hipsterish outfits.
  • Zoey from Total Drama Island has hints of this. Specifically, her audition tape to get on the show mentions that she wanted to go to indie movie theaters, wear retro clothes and horn-rimmed glasses- basically thinking that acting like a hipster might make her different enough just to be noticed by others. She's really just a normal, sometimes overly-friendly girl filled with good intentions who tries her hardest to make friends since she has none where she comes from.
  • In Sym-Bionic Titan, the members of the Disenfranchised band, particularly Ian, come off as this way as they kick Lance out of their band claiming that he's "attracting the wrong kind of audience."
  • In the Simpsons episode "The Day The Earth Stood Cool", a "cool" new family moves in next door and Homer tries to be like them. Guess what this family consists of.
  • The Groj Band episode "Who Are You" is focused on hipsters. When Corey becomes one after Kin's sneakers malfunction, he stops wearing his beanie, wears glasses, and just says "Meh." with a bored expression on his face.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Antics on Ice", Skipper is driven to get Private to that Lunacorns show. He is haunted by future visions of a jaded, cynical Private who wears a trilby hat, a goatee, and eyeglasses that he doesn't need because "Im ironic".


Hair ColorsCyclic TropeJoisey
Hard Boiled DetectiveThe FortiesMalt Shop
Hime CutWe Are Not Alone IndexHitler Ate Sugar
Hide Your GaysThe New TensLens Flare

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
77955
22