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The Continuance of Sexism and Racism In Our Enlightened Post-Feminist, Post-Racial Era, Featuring More Grabbing

So! I have this problem with hipsters sometimes. I try not to share it, because I can be kind of mean (SHOCKER), and I know some folks who have been tagged with the “hipster” label. And that is fine if you are not too invested in it. But here is this argument I keep having, and in the interests of fairness I will present both sides:

PLAYER 1: The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with feeling superior to people because you have good taste!
PLAYER 2: Actually, maybe there is, because that means your sense of self is based on the stuff you buy.
PLAYER 1: Ah, but the entire culture is special in various ways, thus legitimating the sense of superiority!
PLAYER 2: How? Where does the “superiority” come from? Is it superiority of morals, of politics, of principle?
PLAYER 1: Sure! Why not?
PLAYER 2: Actually, Isaac Brock may have raped someone, “hipster racism” is so universally acknowledged as to be a catchphrase, and the class dynamics of “ironically” appropriating Poor White People or Poor Black People stuff whilst laughing about how awful it is are really troubling. And I’ve met a fuckload of misogynist hipsters. Also.
PLAYER 1: The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with feeling superior to people because you have good taste!
PLAYER 2: Fair enough, I guess. I am not wearing a Nickelback shirt right now.
PLAYER 1: Ha ha, Nickelback. They suck!
PLAYER 2: They seriously do!

Anyway, I used to live right next to a Diesel store when that was happening! Here is a Diesel ad, via Racialicious.

Oh, here’s another one. Why the heck not!

One of these things is not like the others, yall.


  1. RMJ wrote:

    I can't admit to being a hipster myself because of the hipster paradox, but a lot of my friends are. They're generally well-meaning, and most of them will respond well when I call them out as I occasionally have to do (because they respect me, because people who don't respect me aren't my friends). But one thing Player 2 leaves out is appropriation – the scarves that many hipsters wear are keffiyehs – which have a political meaning that they've completely divorced from another culture.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  2. Lis wrote:

    Sady, you keep posting things that make my blood boil, and then you have pictures of cute baby animals on your sidebar! I think this is absolute genius.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink
  3. samanthab. wrote:

    Hmm… hasn't been a very long while since Diesel has been happening? My sense of this is mumbly jumbly since I lived in CA and then NYC, and hipsters of the coasts seem to adopt each other's codes in divergent waves, but CA period-me would date Diesel-dom to the 90's, no?

    At any rate, they seem to be resigned to American Apparel knock-off phase right about now, so I feel compelled to lay much of this at creepy Dov Charney feet.

    BTW, since I google Tiger Beatdown to get here, because I am confused by .blogspots- not sure why, but I surmise that must be laid at my own creepy ADD feet. Anyway, today, but not previously, you came up in a link to Clay Shirky's July 23 Cato Insitute blog post. You are officially think tanky! Indeed, you are said to be "imbibable by anyone willing to take the red pill."

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  4. Sady wrote:

    @Samanthab: It was happening in the very early '00s out here! And then Am Appy came and laid waste to their empire. But didn't Dov Charney happen earlier to the West Coast, too?

    Two things I like about the discussion: (A) talking about vaguely hip clothing chains as if they are epidemics, WHICH I BELIEVE AMERICAN APPAREL TO BE, and (B) the fact that being able to talk about these things kind of makes me a hypocrite. At this point, we'd better hope that I am wrong! To maintain my moral integrity and whatnot.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm | Permalink
  5. snobographer wrote:

    I'm too old to be a hipster, but I have some hipsterish tastes as a result of being a child of the 1970s and 1980s, which seem to be hipsters' favorite decades for appropriation.
    Here's what I don't get: If appropriating things you think are stupid and lame qualifies as irony, why don't the hipsters wear those Nickelback shirts? In my day, when we wanted to be ironic, we'd go out in public wearing New Kids On The Block t-shirts. That's how you do irony, kids. Wearing an Urban Outfitters shirt that says Honky on it in puffy retro letters isn't ironic – it's a transparent attempt to appear ironic without the risk of misinterpretation.
    I suppose that assgrab is somehow supposed to be ironic too, right? Kind of in the same vein as the honky shirt example above; no real risk, no real irony. It might have been ironic if it was a black lady grabbing a white dude's skantily-clad ass – maybe.
    I also don't get how 70s and 80s "retro" has managed to remain hip for at least 15 years now. Shouldn't it be getting tired? What are the children of future generations going to appropriate for their retro irony? Somebody think of the children!

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  6. Sady wrote:

    @Snobographer: You are the best. That is all.

    Oh, no, wait! That is not all. Considering that the other photos from the series are of said white dude smearing white lotion all over the girl's stomach, while more white lotion apparently rains down from the sky (???) and she is posed in a frame, looking artificially stiff, so as to look like a mannequin, I'd say "irony" was maybe supposed to be part of the deal. And yet it fails. And why? I am going to have to write an entirely new post just to answer this question.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  7. snobographer wrote:

    That porn chic bullshit is just as old as retro stuff and appropriating trailer park culture. Calvin Klein did that shit in the early 1990s. Still edgy? Still??? We really need to get some new ideas out there.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  8. blondie wrote:

    If I was at a party that somehow ended up like the bottom pic, I'd skedattle my bottom out of there faster than the gingerbread man.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink