You may have heard about the hipster nativity set that's made its rounds on the Internet recently. While it's truly baffling that anyone wants to pay $129.99 for it, what's even more baffling is that people don't seem to have any idea what hipsters are anymore.
Hipster Joseph is taking a selfie as hipster Mary does duckface next to him, and the three hipster wisemen ride toward them on segways, each bearing a gift in an Amazon Prime box. Meanwhile, the hipster shepherd is glued to his tablet, his sheep is wearing a sweater vest, and the cow eats from a trough of gluten-free feed. Since when were selfies, duckface, and Amazon associated with hipsters? Do hipsters like to dress sheep in sweater vests? We used to have some idea of what hipsters were. You know, this:
Where it was once a fairly consistent stereotype, Hipster has become a catch-all label for anything that anyone considers unusual. The term has become so broad that it's effectively meaningless. If everything is hipster, nothing is. If we can't even agree on what hipsters are anymore, maybe it's time we ditch the term completely.
Just about any stereotypical hipster thing has gone mainstream. One of the basic elements of the hipster stereotype is their specific dietary preferences. You know, locally grown, free range, organic, vegan, cruelty free, etc. When massive chain restaurants like Chipotle brag about being organic and Kraft Mac & Cheese switches to natural ingredients, I don't see how any of those things are considered hipster anymore. My parents live in a small town in the midwest, complete with a little organic food store. When these trends have hit middle America, they've definitely gone mainstream.
But maybe hipsters are defined by their taste in media. Hipsters are a bunch of vinyl music snobs who like weird indie films, right? Well, if you've been in a Barnes & Noble in the last few years, you may have noticed they have a vinyl section now. Yes, Barnes & Noble, the biggest bookseller in America. How's that for mainstream? Lots of new music is being released on vinyl again, and it's not just mellow indie rock. Even Metallica's recent album is available on vinyl, and I'm pretty sure hipsters aren't known for their love of mainstream thrash metal.
Many so-called hipster music and movies really have nothing to do with the subculture. Wes Anderson probably gets labelled a hipster more than any other filmmaker. This seems to ignore the fact that he'd built up a substantial following before hipsters were even a thing. He's been making films since the '90s, and got his first Oscar nomination in 2001, and yet he's become associated with a subculture that didn't even exist at the time.
Then there's fashion. Flannel shirts, beards, glasses? As a near-sighted guy who lives in a cold climate, I would argue those are necessities, not fashion statements. Skinny jeans, scarves, band T-shirts? Those have definitely gone mainstream, if they were ever hipster to begin with. If you try to dress like a hipster, you'll just end up fitting in with everyone else.
Thankfully, if Google Trends is any indication, the Internet seems to be catching on. If you have any doubt that hipsters are over, feel free to read this wikiHow page on how to be a hipster. We hit peak hipster in 2013-14, and its just downhill from here. Overpriced Christmas decorations aside, it's time everyone acknowledged that hipsters just don't exist anymore.