How Dirty Hippie and F***ing Hipster Are Basically The Same Slur

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

First, before you read any of what I have to say you have to watch this video. I am going to build on ideas from it and my post won’t make much sense if you don’t have that as a background concept.  It’s short and worth viewing. In fact, you should watch all the idea channel videos. But not until after you read my post. Just watch this one for now.

Here’s another idea! (hah, I appropriated his thing!) “Dirty Hippie” and “F-ing Hipster” are essentially the same insult. Why you ask?

First off, some of you may never have heard someone called a “fucking hipster” but rest assured it is a common enough insult/slur. It is probably the most common way I have heard someone refer derisively to a hipster or someone they perceive to be a hipster. (what exactly makes someone a hipster I hope to partially address but like any social construct it is a slippery concept)

Dirty hippie- I am sure you have heard that used. It’s the go to phrase for those dismissing someone who could be defined as a hippie as not important and their ideas as foolish or invalid.

Now how are these two things alike?

Well a hipster is an awful lot like a hippie.

Point one: Both are defined by progressive politics. Hippie as a concept came out of the progressive movement of the late 60’s and is inherently tied to it. When one envisions hippies, the envision the anti war movement, civil rights, and women’s lib. Hipsters conceptually are tied to progressive politics as well. A glance at where hipsters come from as a concept (portland, brooklyn) makes that a clear association but further you can see a clear connection between groups of “hipsters” and groups of young people who also engage in progressive activism. Perhaps this point is also part of the reason for the slurs- it is easier to discount a group of young people’s beliefs and efforts to produce change if you blanket insult them.

Point Two- Cultural appropriation. Hipsters take mustaches from the 19th century and Hippies took clothing patterns from India.  Both groups have a strange tendency to appropriate Native American patterns as well. Regardless, the clothing of both groups involves/d taking bits and pieces of cultures not their own simply because they found those bits to be delightful. Which brings me to…

Point Three- They wear what they want because they like it. It’s simple but both groups exhibit a disregard for the cultural expectations of what people are supposed to wear and just wear whatever it is they happen to think is neat. This probably also contributes to the slur as people are made uncomfortable by individuals who disregard norms

Point Four- A disregard of gender norms. The women’s lib movement that the hippies were involved deeply in was a huge upheaval of gender norms. Likewise hipsters tend to disregard gender norms. More hipster men are comfortable doing things or wearing things traditionally viewed as feminine than men in the normal population. This disregard for gender normative behavior undoubtedly has upset many of the people who uttered the phrase “f-ing hipster.”

Point Five- An emphasis on making things. There is a certain diy, grow your own food, make your own clothes thing to both of the sub cultures. This rejection of mass production in favor of the artisanal and local can seem smug to some but it part of the value system of the cultures which puts uniqueness above a lot of other factors.

Point Six- Reuse- Hippies had free stores and Hipsters shop at thrift stores. Reusing items (or upcycling them as the case may be) is a pretty common concept in both the groups.

Point Seven – Valuation of artists and musicians as -super duper important- To both groups being an artist, musician, writer, a creative person is viewed as a grand pursuit. It ranks up in the tops of things people can do.

Essentially, while there are differences (age, decade of origin, clothing choices), a hipster and a hippie are pretty close to the same thing and the reason they get insulted is basically the same. People don’t like young people full of ideas (because it threatens the status quo) and people don’t like people who disregard societal norms.

A friend also suggested a hipster is basically a cool nerd and the nerds hate them because they get to be cool despite being a nerd and the cool kids hate them because they are cool even though they like nerdy stuff.

Full disclosure- People tell me I am a hipster, I believe them because I own these unicorn printed leggings. (not my photo, just the niftiest picture of the leggings I spotted on google image search.