Thursday, January 31, 2013

Manly Thor's Day Special: the launch of hipster chick history month

I was talking to a friend about Lana Del Rey (I love Lana Del Rey) and how I'd just heard her most recent EP for the first time this week. I quite like it and I bought it. And he said something along the lines of of, "The hipsters all loved her until she got really popular and then they turned against her."

I think that is completely wrong-headed. What really happened is that the hipsters or, to be more precise, the hipster chicks ate up Lana Del Rey and that had the effect of raising her profile enough that she became the target of all the people who hate the hipster chick style. And they hate it because it is a style. At the same time, they don't hate it because the girls who adopt the style are so damned desirable. But again, they do hate it because hipster girls tend to be unavailable to them. It's all terribly complicated. Long story short, poor Lana became the perfect target for their hatred when she came along.

The hipster chick has a long history. I don't know exactly when she starts but Jackie Gleason did a concept album called Tawny in 1954 all about falling in love with such a girl. This was an easy listening album, which is to say that the type had to have been already well-established enough that Gleason could take it for granted that he didn't have to explain it to anyone; he could take it for granted, in fact, that millions of men would buy the record, which they did. And Audrey Hepburn was already parodying the type in the 1957 movie Funny Face. I'm sure there are earlier examples.

It's a fascinating style because it's one of those rare male sexual fantasies where you can find lots of girls willing to live the part. No, much more than that, where you can find lots of girls who want to be the part for reasons of their own. You might find a girl willing to play at being a Baby Doll type or even who has a secret sexual fantasy of playing the part but you won't find many girls willing to adopt the type as her personal style in everything.

There are millions of girls in every generation who eat up the hipster style like it was candy and would do it even if it weren't attractive to boys and, cough, older men. And this, odd as it may seem, is one of the reasons for the anger. If you are a man and your secret thrill is to be dominated, you'll probably have to pay someone to do it as most women hate doing this, but you won't be taunted by the presence of dominant-type women you can't have all around you every day. But if you are into hipster chicks, you could well end up like the the stranded sailor surrounded by water he cannot drink. There are always hipster chicks—sometimes more sometimes fewer depending on fashion—but they aren't easily available.

It's worth noting that one of the reasons they tend to be unavailable is that they became hipster chicks for themselves and not to attract men. They aren't stupid, they know some men like the look a lot, but they did it because being a hipster was a thrilling thought for them. Sex was part of it but the main reason was because the whole style appeals to these women all the time and not the tiny fraction of time they have sex whereas the men who obsess about them think only in terms of sex.

The other big reason hipster chicks attract so much hatred is political. Hipster style is a style and liberals hate style for style's sake, or at least they affect to do so when it suits them. They only tolerate hipster style under one of two conditions. First, they will tolerate it when it is directly tied to a political movement, which it rarely is. Second, they'll tolerate it when it is tied directly to some sort of gritty reality (thus the same people who hated Lana Del Rey will typically love Girls).

In any case, I was thinking of devoting the entire month of February to writing about Hipster Chick Style. I don't do this on the basis of any authority or special knowledge. To be honest, I never really thought about it much. I have long been interested as a consequence of falling in love with the much older hipster chick wife of a friend of the families when I was about fourteen years old. I'm doing it for the simple reason that I damn well want to, which is the great thing about having a blog. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about and want to tell me so, fire away.

I'm going to say little about the clothing and more about the intellectual and moral aspects of the style, which will, no doubt, offend the people who believe there are none. I'm not sure where I'm going to start but I will start tomorrow. There were, I think, hipster men before there were hipster women so I'll probably start with the question of why that was and why women in the 1920s weren't quite so keen to adopt the style as men.

No comments:

Post a Comment