Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mainstreaming the Individual


Indie’ and ‘hipster are terms that have been increasingly popular amongst the teenagers of today. I myself have often caught myself calling someone a hipster. Mostly because he didn’t smoke but carried cigarettes and had a business card that called him a ‘visionary’. So I maintain this was a justified assessment. But why is it that being different is suddenly so cool?
Years ago, I was labelled a freak and cast out of the majority of social circles at my high school. They didn’t like my oddly coloured hair, dry sense of humour and the fact that I refused to be exactly like them. When I was a little girl, I was pretty conformist. I didn’t like that my mum had bright pink hair (she was in her early twenties when she had me so it was cool, not creepy). Though the individual in me kept popping up in random places. Rolling down muddy hills with boys, ruining my pretty pink dress, shirking off my friends for picking on the tall Turkish girl in class and choosing to be with her instead. As a small child, my imaginary friend was a seven foot one eyed, one armed, one legged pirate named Fred. By the time I was eight I was very much the weird girl. I was suddenly picked on and rejected, and after a while I developed a thick skin. I stopped caring what people thought because I was finally comfortable with who I was. Something hard to find in school age children. 
When I couldn’t find a place in the cliques in high school, I literally made my own, attracting like-minded people who actually liked my sarcasm, my book propensity, they liked ME. I worked hard to accept who I was and then people accepted me. So when I see people being different so they can be cooler, it irritates me. I dyed my hair purple because it was my favourite colour (and I wanted to irritate my uniform-obsessed teachers) and I see girls doing the same years later because they saw someone on Tumblr with purple hair. They wear hand-me-downs and vintage clothesfor the bragging rights, I wore them because I liked them and could never afford fancy things.I wore glasses because I needed them, I see people wearing them because it’s cool to be uncool. Am I ridiculous in thinking that this mainstreamed individuality is robbing the truly unique? 
I got called a hipster a lot over the past year and I resent it. I’m not wearing what I wear, reading what I read or listening to the music I listen to to slap consumerism in the face or to be hip, I do it because I like it, it’s what makes me feel comfortable. I’m not saying that I hate hipsters or think that this is a great injustice or anything so dramatic. I just wonder why it is that people strive to be overtly different, when being yourself is the most unique thing you could do. Because it seems nobody is who they are anymore.

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