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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Top Stories

Hipsters: Hot Or Not?

Posted by melanie on 11-03-2011

Pocket HipsterWe’ve had a certain fascination with “hipsters” here at Ypulse. Maybe it’s our close proximity to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the epicenter of hipster-dom, or maybe it’s that we’re often reading about the latest hipster craze while tracking trends among youth.

We joke around trying to define exactly what qualifies one as a hipster, and then we laugh as we call each other hipsters based on our latest definition. The paradox of hipsters is that some people think they’re cool, while some think they’re tedious; sometimes they help launch trends (like biking to work), and sometimes they just look ridiculous (like wearing ironic moustaches).

We wanted to know what young people think of hipsters — after all, only young people can be hipsters — so we asked them how they’d feel if someone they didn’t know called them a hipster.

The majority (62%) would be confused or surprised by being called a hipster. But for a quarter of students, it’s a good thing: 11% would be happy about being recognized as a hipster, and 14% would be secretly happy. For 18%, being called a hipster is an insult.

Guys are far more likely than girls to take offense at being called a hipster (23% vs. 14%), as are college students more so than high school students (19% vs. 12%). It’s teen girls who really want to be considered hipsters, with 20% saying they’d be secretly happy and 13% who would be proud.

Teen girls are the most likely to be experimenting with their style, and to them, being called a hipster means they’re succeeding and on top of cultural trends. Though some realize that being openly happy to be called a hipster basically negates the designation. (See this flowchart for an explanation.)

On the flip side, it’s college guys (26%) who would be most insulted if someone called them hipsters. After all, it’s no longer cool for a guy to look like he’s too into style and culture. The metrosexual trend was, like, so 10 years ago.

Ultimately, the trends hipsters represent can be cool, but the fact that they put so much effort into being cool automatically makes them uncool at the same time. Regardless of the evolving definition of hipsters as related to current cultural trends (from fixed gear bikes to roll-your-own cigarettes to folk music), the moniker carries the negative assumption that they’re haughty about being in the know. Spend a little time with the Pocket Hipster music discovery app, for example, and a hipster will dis your music choices saying, “I guess that passed for music once… try this.”

Editor’s note: The data presented above is drawn from 1,300 student interviews conducted among members of the SurveyU Panel. Quotas were established and data were weighted to reflect the demographic composition of U.S. high school and college students. To learn more about Ypulse’s research into the attitudes and behaviors of students, visit our Research page.


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