From hipster to yuccie: The transformation of a privileged generation

The hipster isn't dead - it's just evolving.
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Every generation has its cliché, creative folk toting liberal arts degrees and the privilege of a middle class existence. You know the kind — you see them in the line at Starbucks in Goodes Hall every morning; tidy beards with patchouli beard oil, slicked back hair with a sweet fade and tight pants. 

The millennial generation is moving into prominence. They booted out the hipsters of yesteryear and replaced them with the yuccies. But is hipster actually dead? Or has the hipster, the neo-bohemian, just transformed into something new to keep up with generational trends?

A hipster is a collage of subcultural snippets, taken from the beats, the hippies and the punks, sown together by (typically) middle-class, progressive youth. This subculture tends to revolve around (non) mainstream alternative music and lifestyles. 

The thing is, according to “The Death of the Hipster” by Rob Horning, there’s no clear definition for the hipster subculture. There’s also no clear-cut beginning or end. 

In fact, the genesis of the word hipster emerged from other subcultural niches — the bohemians, beats and hippies. One thing that all of these groups have in common is that they’re on a constant quest to be trendy.

So is yuccie just another hipster? No, not really. If the hipster is a trend follower, the yuccie is the narcissistic pinnacle of the hipster dream. The yuccie emerged when the hipster became too trendy. In reality, the yuccie is the new hip. 

The yuccie was originally coined by a Mashable blogger named David Infante who claimed himself to be a yuccie — the privileged, entitled “creative class.” 

The yuccie embodies neoliberal ideologies — individualism is everything. Self-actualization is the supreme motivation. Just a little more yoga (while sporting those hot Lululemon pants), a healthy diet of organic, raw superfoods and a compostable cup of Starbucks coffee. 

However, the real motivation of the yuccie is to be visible. It’s to be seen at the hottest yoga studio, to show off the witty packaging of their organic food, to be seen in the lineup of a chaotic Starbucks between classes. 

If this visibility isn’t physically possible, it’s accomplished through social media. The yuccie thrives on Instagram photos and sweet Snapchat stories. The yuccie looks for constant validation through retweets, likes and up-votes. 

Queen’s, like many universities, is a home of yuccies seeking to fulfill their dreams. Our culture is all about selling these dreams. We all come here with a sense of entitlement and a burning desire to express our creativity.

The hipster isn’t completely dead. Just like all subcultural niches, the hipster is changing to suit the needs of a new generation of privileged creatives. Hipsters are trading in their vinyls for iPhones, their torn jeans for dress pants and their beanies for slick hair. 

The yuccie is a manifestation of a privileged generation that only cares for what’s on the surface, but that isn’t too different than the hip generations who came before them. 

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