Why Lesbians Won’t Give Up the Hipster

lesbian hipsterWhy are we interested in the lesbian hipster? Partially, it’s ’cause she looks really, really cute on Facebook and you can’t stop lurking her pictures. But it’s mostly ’cause the “lesbian” and “hipster” worlds seem to have converged so naturally that there’s clearly something going on past Generation X/Y’s universal adoption of any westward-blowing trendwind.

Remember that time in the ’80s when power suits were all the rage? Of course you do, you’re a lesbian! Trends may come and go, but once in a star-crossed while, styles work their way permanently into various subcultures. Lesbian hipsters are one of the newer members of the already highly categorized girl-on-girl community, but within the lesbian subculture, does this “trend” have the power to outlast the shelf life of the mainstream “hipster,” just as power lesbians kept the power suits?

Despite its relative newness, the lesbian hipster style is almost ubiquitous in certain spaces, like Tegan & Sara concerts or The Abbey on a Friday night. So why does hipster jive so easily with lesbian?

Intern Laura and Hipster-Specialist Katrina 2009

a lesson in hipster history

Hipstory, if you will. I know it’s hard to believe that all these thrift store shirt-wearing, gold lamé-legginged girls carry with them any sort of legacy other than ‘80s dance movies (Jennifer Beals, I’m looking at you), but the tale of how the hipster came to be is a history of histories. At the risk of unleashing some violent anti-hipster hatred from a movement which actually meant something — according to one legend, the great ancestor of the lesbian hipster is none other than the riot grrrl. Lesbians and hipsters look alike, they say, because hipsters have evolved from scenesters who were once emo kids, a phenomenon preceded by the re-emergence of punk, influenced of course by riot.

lesbian hipster

A more comprehensive look at the composition of typical hipster is recognizing it as a compilation of appropriated cultures, more specifically those that exist not only outside the mainstream, but as a rebellion against it.

“Oversaturation turns the outlandish into the normal and the DIY into the mass-produced.”

It’s all how we cycle “cool.” A subculture creates a style to distinguish itself from the mainstream. These subcultures usually arise from some form of societal oppression, and as women and gays, we are obvs all about oppression.

Once the style becomes distinctive as a symbol of resistance, dissent, or even difference, the mainstream reacts not in fear but instead by picking and choosing what can be reinterpreted and then marketed to the masses as trendy. Oversaturation turns the outlandish into the normal and the DIY into the mass-produced. Suddenly what began as dissent becomes a trend. This sort of appropriation of cultures allows us to buy the edginess of rebellion while bypassing the troubled history.

This edginess is the ‘trend’ — but when the trend fades from the mainstream, those with “genuine” ties to the ethos of the trend often continue on sporting it.

The lesbian hipster, we like to think, is more aware.

hipster as third gender

Despite the fact that, in my opinion, I walk around all day looking like a big giant lesbian with the ability to wear a bandana at least six different ways and a haircut whose tell-tale asymmetry can be spotted by even a novice, I still unintentionally pass as straight. Not just in the way that everyone assumes everyone else’s heterosexuality, but in the way that I can wear a tie, use the word “girlfriend” non-platonically, and still be actively pursued by men.

Perhaps this is due to my extraordinary good looks. But most likely this is due to the fact that hipster style tends to be androgynous. Aside from the ironic mustache (most of the time), most hipster trends are suited to fit both guys and girls. What was once “boys in girl pants” has now just evolved into “skinny jeans,” and any clothing items once sized large enough to fit only men have been shrunken down to skin tight. Hipster seems to be functioning as a third gender in fashion.

It’s not uncommon in many non-Western cultures to recognize third or multiple genders in society, although it makes our government and health care system very uncomfortable. While the third-gendered peoples are generally accepted in these societies, and often were revered as oracles, this acceptance tends to come at the price of their sexuality. Basically, in order to avoid that whole confusion over reproduction and gender binaries and such, these individuals are generally regarded as asexual.

But worry not, lesbian hipsters – we still think you’re hot. Hipsterdom may be viewed as somewhere in between genders, but identifying yourself as a lesbian means not only identifying yourself as a woman but also identifying yourself based on sexuality. Therefore, the lesbian hipster has universal appeal. Her style is just new enough to be trendy and sexy, while the items in her wardrobe are familiar enough to be safe.

Lesbian Hipster

good music, bad romance

As we have seen, empirical research has proven that the hipster lesbian is typically perceived by straight men as “just an edgy straight girl” and by straight women as “that cute lesbian I would totally go gay for.” And that’s all fine and good for walking around all hipster-cool, but what does it mean in the world of lesbian?

“However, dressing like Tegan and Sara does not a trendy lesbian make.”

Once again, we’ve got Tegan and Sara to thank, maybe not exclusively, but definitely largely, for making the lesbian hipster cool. Always appearing with swoopalicious bangs, ankle-choking jeans, and trendy t-shirts, the girls made lesbian hipster not only acceptable, but also attractive. However, dressing like Tegan and Sara does not a trendy lesbian make.

Because let’s face it, y’all: hipsters are sometimes ridiculous. Take it from someone who has actually been turned down for being “just too hipster”: not everyone’s into it. This is potentially because hipsters, like members of any fashion culture or subculture, have the tendency to flock together, which has the danger of breeding a culture of exclusivity. Luckily, the queer girl community holds a stronger bond than the hipster one does, allowing the lesbian hipster to socialize freely among other lesbians. In fact, her obvious appearance as a lesbian may even draw in girls who can easily recognize her – she just shouldn’t expect to pick up all of them.

the lesbian three-piece suit

Lesbian HipsterTo illustrate this, I present the separate histories of the lesbian three-piece suit: a plaid shirt, a bandanna, and skinny jeans.

1. Plaid Shirt

Don’t you go around calling this lesbian staple your “lumberjack shirt.” Unless, of course, you are a lumberjack, in which case you would probably just call it your shirt. But believe it or not, plaid was once so controversial that English authorities banned the print after the Scottish rebellion in the late 1740’s. Yes, before becoming offensive, Mel Gibson taught us in Braveheart that plaid means business. More recently, you oughta know that plaid shirts were donned by women’s libbers in the ’60s, proving you don’t need to be a man to wear a button-down.

2. Bandana

Bandanas are so gay that Peaches wrote a song about them. “Hanky Code” poetically weaves the tale of a system of colored handkerchiefs used by gay men in the ‘70s to indicate their sexual preferences and fetishes. And even though bandanas have gone fairly mainstream as a fashion item and are now popular lesbian trademarks, you probably still shouldn’t casually walk into an S&M workshop with a bandana hanging out of your back pocket. Other than that, you go for it, lesbian hipster.

androgyny3. Skinny Jeans

Super-tight straight leg pants, worn notably by sex symbols and rebellious icons Elvis Presley and James Dean, made it big in the 1970s underground punk scene. The pants’ popularity stayed alive through the decades, persisting largely through other music scenes. And although skinny jeans were once – and still are – the choice pants of rock stars and those looking to fight The Man, they have now joined the ranks of the lesbian subculture so that we, too, can experience the awkwardness of trying to hook up, having trouble getting your skinny jeans off, having to hop around the room removing them from your ankles, and finally end up with a pair of inside-out skinny jeans on the floor. Holla.


So does the lesbian hipster really exist, and if so, what is her place in the queer girl community? She’s a different kind of lesbian, paying tribute to the subcultures that came before her. Or maybe she’s just a girl who thinks solid-colored v-neck t-shirts maker her look hotter than any other kind (she’s correct).

Androgynously sexy and dykey but not quite butch, the lesbian hipster creates its own categories by falling in between older ones. Hipsters get their clothes from lesbians, and lesbians get their clothes from hipsters; maybe this means there are no lesbian hipsters or even hipsters at all, there are just lesbians, and straight people who dress like them.

We invited the lesbian hipster over, and now she’s here to stay. Perhaps for tea, preferably something trendy like rooibos out of a thrifted 4-H mug. We won’t even kick the lesbian hipster out the next morning. In fact, maybe she can move in. Maybe we can get a cat and name it something like Jane Lynch, or Shane Jr.

“The lesbian hipster style provides for us the perfect outlet for androgyny, which we all already know to be sexy. It’s a middle ground of gender – androgyny is hipsterdom’s gift.”

But really, much to the grievance of heterosexual hipsters, the look will pass. Autostraddle predicts that for gay ladies, however, the trend will stay. It’s the same reason we want the lesbian hipster herself to stay. These trends are giving queer girls what we’ve always deserved: to be hot…on our terms.

The lesbian hipster style provides for us the perfect outlet for androgyny, which we all already know to be sexy. It’s a middle ground of gender – androgyny is hipsterdom’s gift. We can still be girls without having to be too girly. It’s like in the ‘80s when women in the business world adopted power suits, and even when they went out of fashion, lesbians kept them (‘sup Bette Porter). They weren’t our access to power, but they were a sign of our empowerment.

Such is the case for today’s hipster. Dressed once in full hipster clad for church (a different story entirely), my mom told me that I had to change so I could look like a girl. Well, now thanks to hipsters, we don’t have to take it when our moms tell us to look like girls. We already know we’re girls. Nay, we are women (womyn?), and we are so hip and so cool that we don’t need frills or poofs or heels or however they’re selling femininity to us these days. The lesbian hipster is confident; she knows who she is and what she wants, and she’s wearing her little gay heart on her plaid sleeve.

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phoenix has written 64 articles for us.


  1. i haven’t read this yet but i just want to say that i think hipsters dress well and i wish i could dress more like a hipster without being labeled a hipster. because most of them are really fucking pretentious assholes.

    also, you used my picture! wee!

    • oh i love it! anyhow, this is important because it is the rule of the interwebs that if two people independently write an articles on the very same topic in the same week then that makes it officially true, right? katrina actually wrote this article about a month ago which is how long it took us to edit and publish it, but let’s pretend like we’re more on top of our shit than that and this is all happening at once. you should guest-blog for us, i like what you’re doing over there at that tumblr b/c you mentioned OurChart.

      • Hey Riese, would love to guest blog! Shoot me an email or a post through the Tumblr, glad you like it. :)

  2. i pretty much wear these clothes but i have way too much hair! makes me want to cut my hair.

    • Oh yeah fedoras are much more important then bandanas.

      I want a fedora now! But my head is quite small so all the ones I find in the shops are just too big :(

  3. my (straight) friends recently were like “ashley, we decided you are a hipster” and I was like “uhh no! Why does my love for graphic 90’s shirts have to label me?”

    then I read this and it totally made me realize why I STILL get hit on by dudes, why people still can’t tell if I’m gay or not, aaand that there’s a whole bunch more ppl in the not so femme not so butch category

    • Haha yeah like a stem! A femme + stud so you’re not too girly hut then not so butch–me too girl.

  4. I am really not a hipster, because I basically dress pretty boring and non-edgy. But I do think it’s interesting that what we have termed as ‘looking gay’ has passed over into the mainstream.Of course, it makes my bad gaydar even worse. Maybe I should buy a bandanna and an ironic 90s t shirt. I draw the line at skinny jeans because they make me look like a chicken drummette.

  5. ohhhh skinny jeans, how i wish we could be friends. why do you look so stupid on me?

    love katrina’s articles always and forevs xox. such a smart cookie, that one. AND SUCH PROPER USAGE OF COLONS / SEMICOLONS <3

  6. Awesome article. I was actually discussing this a few weeks ago with friends of mine. How its getting a bit harder to tell lesbians and straight girls apart because of this ‘hipster movement’. It can be kinda frustrating, hahaha.

    I do think it will pass in time, but I agree with you ladies when you say that it will stick with the lesbian community (I hope it does! Totally hot.) and I guess my style kind of fits into it as well.

  7. ” . . . so that we, too, can experience the awkwardness of trying to hook up, having trouble getting your skinny jeans off, having to hop around the room removing them from your ankles, and finally end up with a pair of inside-out skinny jeans on the floor.”

    Ahahaha, this happens to me pretty much every single time my girlfriend and I are getting all naked/trying to be sexy. Luckily our relationship predated the purchase of my first pair of skinny jeans by quite a while, so, no real awkwardness.

    I too resisted skinny jeans for a long time because I definitely have more hips and less legs than they are really built to handle . . . but then I gave in because I just wanted to look hip okay! And I justify it by saying that they are really convenient for bicycling. (Which is true, by the way — for anyone who wants to steal my excuse.)

  8. I am too much of a chubby girl to wear skinny jeans or any other cool queer clothes. Instead I’m just a crunchy granola hippie who has to dress “nice” for work and ends up looking a tad like a thrifty schoolmarm. Ohhhh second wave feminism I missed you entirely.

  9. The “hipster lesbian” look is the only way you’ll be identified as “queer” around here – any other look and you get asked if you’re straight.

    Here a lot of the “likes to think they’re subcultural but really are getting more mainstream” media and events tend to glorify the hipster look over all else. It doesn’t matter what sort of interesting things you get up to: if you’re not in the ‘hipster’ package you won’t get much attention. It’s especially worse if you’re not White – you don’t see Asian or African or Indigenous models in say Frankie or Yen unless they’re selling their exotic traditions or become a complete hipster.

    And this whole “irony” thing has just given people an excuse to spout some really ignorant, divisive stuff under the mantle of ironic cool. “Oh look, I’ll dress up in some tired racial stereotype! But it’s IRONIC, see, because I’m not a racist!”.

    So I don’t buy into hipster-dom being some kind of rebellious statement, not when it’s mostly perpetuated by people with enough privilege to not suffer the effects of being ignored or discriminated against. Wear whatever you want, but don’t assume that people who don’t wear the same stuff as say 90% of the scene have nothing in common with you.

    “This sort of appropriation of cultures allows us to buy the edginess of rebellion while bypassing the troubled history.”
    Nice description of appropriation there – also pretty much describes why I feel “hipsterdom” really isn’t rebellious much.

    • i really like this one [“This sort of appropriation of cultures allows us to buy the edginess of rebellion while bypassing the troubled history.”] too, katrina!

    • @tiaramerchgirl – ““This sort of appropriation of cultures allows us to buy the edginess of rebellion while bypassing the troubled history.” what in this statement glorifies? She’s explaining it with disdain, NOT with celebration.

      i understand your critiques of hipster culture in this comment, and i thought you were agreeing with the article in your comment since these seem to be ideas katrina brought up but with your own take on them. but now you’re on twitter announcing that our article was “glorifying” a “racist” style. there’s a lot of things that confuse me about this situation!

      i don’t know if you completely misread the tone of the article?

      Also; there’s an emphasis in your comment and the article you link to on how “white people” deal with hipsterdom. — the fact that Katrina isn’t white is yet another reason why it would seem your comment was agreeing and then adding to the points she made here… but apparently not, ’cause now you’re on twitter describing this article as “glorification” of a racist mentality.

      I think it’s totally cool to disagree with an article, and the conversations sparked by disagreements are worthwhile. But taking it to a public forum to say a website is glorifying a racist culture when your case is abstract at best is dangerous, and not very productive w/r/t actually engaging in meaningful, open-minded dialogue. You should know by now that although failure happens, we are trying every day to be diverse and high-quality and self-aware and that there are lots of places out there who aren’t trying. It’s unfortunate we’re getting your public complaints instead of them, when I’d hope you could at least trust that no-one’s intention here is so sinister or anything but totally earnest.

      • Perhaps I did misread, but the post seemed to me to be all “yay being a hipster is awesome! it comes from a culture of *rebellion*, you guys, so we should totally embrace it” – and when being a hipster is anything _but_ rebellious, when people justify shunning others and making stupid comments because it’s hip, when we try to call them out and instead get told that we don’t “get it”, when the big influential magazines in the area only ever feature people in hipster wear…the constant praising of it gets so wearisome.

        Like, wear whatever you like, but to me the post seemed to overlook the issues of hipster culture and go “oh well, even if there are problems…we should totally embrace the clothes, because it’s hip”. Blah! If it was meant to be disdainful of hipster culture – well, I didn’t get that.

        I don’t understand why you think my Twitter comment was dangerous. I did post my opinion right here, as you replied. Hardly anyone responded. Then today I run into the hipster racism post (kind of roundabout – based on an Amanda Palmer/Gaga discussion) and it reminded me of why I found this post uneasy, so I shared it.

    • i read your post. and i agree with your critique of the insidious nature of racism and the way that uttering something offensive in an “ironic” way still carries with it the damaging effects as if it were said sincerely. especially if the person doing the speaking is the one who has historically been in a position of power and privilege.

      and when you talk about this happening with hipsters, i also agree, but only insofar as racism is everywhere, especially among white people, and there are assholes who say and do racist things in all kinds of crowds. this article just defines “hipsters” as kids who wear skinny jeans and plaid shirts; it’s no more fair to say all hipsters are racist pricks with trust funds than it is to pigeonhole everyone who has tattoos and baggy jeans as gang members.

      and that’s not what’s happening in this article anyway. nowhere here does katrina celebrate cultural appropriation or try and excuse elitist or exclusive behaviour. she doesn’t delegitimize anyone’s identity or experience by claiming that all lesbians dress this way, or all hipsters, or all autostraddle readers, or all anyone. she’s writing about a fashion trend. and she’s not CALLING it rebellious, she’s pointing out that it’s grown out of a jumble of punky subculture fashion trends that were considered “rebellious” in their context and she’s not even presenting that uncritically.

      i absolutely agree that there are important criticisms to be made around the prevalence of “ironic” racism among white urban 20-somethings, but this article doesn’t ring those alarm bells for me. autostraddle is a good place, give ’em some credit.

      • I’m not attacking Autostraddle (why would I?), I just happened to find a post today that helped articulate part of why I found this post uneasy and unsettling when I read it yesterday. As I mentioned to Riese, it’s not just racism – it’s this general notion I’ve found here that if you don’t dress hipster you won’t be taken seriously. I’m quite involved in the arts scene here and there’s often a bit of disdain (overt or subtle) towards people that don’t buy into “hipsterdom”, with the assumption that they can’t possibly understand their art or how to be creative or whatever. You don’t dress hipster and you go to a lesbian night – you get your credentials questioned.

        So yet another post on why hipster clothing is awesome? Bah! Tired already. Brings up bad stuff. I don’t see why supporting Autostraddle means we have to find every article awesome and great and all that. Most posts are great, some not so much – and we should all be able to share that.

        • okay cool, it wasn’t clear to me that by “here” you were talking about your specific community in australia. i’ve never been there so i can’t really speak to what it’s like; i’m from montreal and now i live in new york, and while hipster fashion does tend to be similar in both cities, the actual people are all really different. it would have helped to know that you were referencing your own specific experience. it seems like you’re talking about one thing in your post (“ironic” racism) and something else in your comments here (feeling over the whole hipster thing because the hipsters in your town are snobby jerks). while i can appreciate that there is overlap there, i guess when i found your post via your tweet that linked to this article, it seemed that you were conflating the two specifically in reference to this post. thanks for clarifying.

          and again i’m not sure what issue you’re referring to when you say that it seemed this post was overlooking “the issue of hipster culture” in favour of embracing the clothes (re your reply above), because if your issue is racism among white 20-somethings then that’s a problem that is NOT specific to hipsters, in my opinion, and if it’s elitism then i don’t think that’s specific to hipsters either. and i don’t think hipsters are a culture but whatever. wish we were having a glass of wine with this conversation!

          • Ha, it was the snobby jerks thing mainly! Or rather, that some of the bigger names tend to be all “omg we’re more inclusive than the mainstream because they won’t accept us” but don’t realise that they too perpetuate a certain beauty/lifestyle standard. Which does overlap with the racism to a huge extent, but is wider than that.

            And I wish I didn’t feel like I have to dress hipster to code as queer :P

          • firstly, bcw if i gave you five dollars for every time that you said what i felt but couldn’t figure out how to phrase then i would have like zero dollars, and you would have a lot of dollars.

            tiara, i don’t think anyone has to dress hipster to code as queer! those kids in your town are silly! i don’t think anyone has to dress any way to be queer, and maybe i assume we all assume that going into a discussion of anything on the site.

            i actually feel like most of my friends who dress that way are sort of embarrassed about it, it’s definitely gone past cool and into “i don’t know, i guess this is just sort of how i like to dress.” one whole side of my family lives in australia and my uncle works in the fashion industry there, and i know sometimes us trends take some time to migrate, and maybe that time period accounts for our different approaches to the topic? if that is the case in this situation, maybe it’s that where you live hipster-dom is peaking, whereas in the us it peaked last year and in nyc it peaked in probs 2005.

            you said on twitter that people should read an article about how hipsters are racist because it explained why you were annoyed with autostraddle’s article “glorifying” hipsters. it was a misrepresentation of the article, and it linked your annoyance to the racism of the culture “autostraddle” glorifies. if @autostraddle is glorifying a racist culture, then we either are racist or enjoy racism enough to glorify it. and that’s a very dangerous accusation to throw about! or, i guess, it’s hurtful.

            i specifically addressed in my comment that i think having conversations regarding dislike of an article are some of the best conversations to have. implicating us as racist on twitter isn’t having that conversation, though (especially as it presents a judgment of this article rather than the article itself). this is, though! this is the important conversation.

          • Well when I first read the article I felt intense discomfort because it was all “hipster yay!” (to me anyway). Then the next day I found that other article which helped articulate some of what I found problematic about being a hipster – it wasn’t the entirety but it was a big part.

            So I linked the two, because I really didn’t feel comfortable at AS’s support of a style that is connected to a culture that pretends to be all “we support the weirdos!” but is really rather exclusionist – not just racially, but, as the below comments show, with body shape and size as well. To me it felt like “hey, to be an awesome queer you gotta be skinny and pale and andro” and I already have enough issues being none of the above!

            so yah, there you go, my thought process ;P

  10. Everytime I see a girl wearing Chuck Taylors I wonder if she is gay/hipster/all of the above.

    • Every time I see a girl wearing Chucks I WISH that she’s gay!
      Sorry, guys. I love Chucks and cute girls. Together they are my kryptonite.

    • if you can’t rock the skinny jeans, then you can most certainly rock some other kind of sexy pants- like the classic “boyfriend” jean which should be named “the lesbian.”

      • anything named the ‘boyfriend’ should be renamed the ‘lesbian’ like all the bloody blazers at jcrew.

  11. I am emotionally attached to my skinny jeans, my v-necks, my Chucks, and my beanies.

  12. I can’t believe that guys call baby boys “Little Man” and here is an article about grown woman and yet you continue to call yourself “girls.”

    • I actually make this comment at myself every time I write an article, but I find this to be just as much a problem of the English language as it is our culture. Yes, it is wrong that in our rhetoric and in our behavior we tend to refer to females diminutively, but the thing is that males have this in-between of “guys,” whereas with females it’s either “girls” or “women,” the latter of which often sounds awkward.

      • I do it all the time too, and shake my feminist finger at myself, so DON’T HATE ON YOURSELF KATRINA.

    • umm, there’s nothing wrong with being a girl. or a woman. or a grrrl. or a lass. or a gal. or a bitch. or a femme. or dyke. or a butch. or a boi.

      do i need to go on?

  13. I live in a town that tries to be Portland so hard it strained a muscle. Iowa City (if you’ve been confused as to why there is gay marriage in Iowa, come to Iowa City).
    It’s hipsters hipsters everywhere, looking cute, and when you start to mosey up to them they always end up turning to a friend and say something so hetero it’s ridiculous. I mean ‘boy I love sex with men’ ridiculous.

    I also don’t look good in skinny jeans. Or plaid (it’s possible and I’m proof).

  14. We writers get so much fodder from the lesbian and the hipster and their lovechild style, but all I want to say tonight is: Katrina knocks topics out, start-to-finish. I dig every word. Brava.

  15. I like back patches and hightops and old army backpacks and plan on wearing skinny jeans to the grave- so this article was the shit. While gay-looking straight hipster girls really can complicate a search for a lesbian hipster soulmate, basically all of them have a gay lady friend and a few just don’t know they’re a little gay yet. the more american apparel/
    urban outfitters/random cutouts of ladies they have on their walls/tumblr, the more likely she’s confusing her love for women with a love for clothing that attracts women.
    while I am very, very much a lesbian, there is an aspect of my sexuality that is purely hipstersexual. so much so that I occassionally find attracted to certain especially hipster guys. not enough to have sex with one, just enough to think “damn we would have so much fun together. our brooklyn loft would be so cool. PBR on the fire escape!”

  16. https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/79/hipster.html

    Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization

    We’ve reached a point in our civilization where counterculture has mutated into a self-obsessed aesthetic vacuum. So while hipsterdom is the end product of all prior countercultures, it’s been stripped of its subversion and originality. (Cover story of Adbusters Issue #79.)

    • I’m glad someone linked to this article, as everyone should be reading Adbusters anyway.

      While I feel like a lot of hipster style has been stripped of its significance, I also think that its popularity among lesbians has the potential to bring it back to its roots of subversion. The queer woman community has taken to hipster style, but we’re also adding our own elements to it, giving it a real meaning as well as longevity.

      • Wait, hold up, why would hipster fashion’s popularity among lesbians have the “potential to bring it back to its roots of subversion”? One subculture co-opting another subculture’s traits doesn’t make it more subversive or rebellious. The idea that the lesbian community can give hipster style “real meaning as well as longevity” is laughable; what meaning is it exactly that lesbians add? It seems much more likely that symbols and pieces of hipster have been repurposed as lesbian fashion because of the attraction to rebellious and new styles, analogous to your very well-written explanation of why counterculture becomes consumer culture. And let’s face it, the “hipster” being presented to the lesbian culture at large is that same tidy mainstream repackaging made for every other 16-28 year old key demo.

        I agree with your article’s main thesis that hipster fashion does offer a useful tool as a palette for androgynous dress. But I see this as more of a curse than a blessing for the lesbian community. Speaking from purely anecdotal evidence, I’ve seen more and more lesbian girls taking on hipster-approved fashions when before they wore much more practical and fad-free expressions. True, it can be nice to have a package look that you can identify so that you can get a better idea of who’d be willing to make out, but I’ve always really admired lesbian fashion culture’s emphasis on being fad-neutral and more truly individualistic. It’s sad to see that being sapped away by a sticky trend.

  17. as tacky as this is going to sound, i’m going to write it anyway. i can’t wait for the fair-weather hipster to leave the scene and see them in the next trend. i like, no i love the look of the hipster, shit i can even look like one.
    i just can’t help but feel even more shut out. it’s like we’re in high school again and what we’re wearing is what is defining us, hipster-hottie; cool i wanna fuck her, granola-granny, i ain’t even gonna kiss her. i’m feeling more pressure, like the media didn’t already bash it in my head that i should have come outta my momma’s vagina looking like barbie.
    i’m coming from the perspective of a lady who’s still in her closet of clothes and trying them on. so, reading this upped the ante of how to get that girl. and how i want to be perceived in the lesbian community. i’m still figuring out femmes, let alone the hipster movement.
    a note to the hip: be kind, us non-hipsters wear our hearts on our pretty faces.

      • Or perhaps I used my sensory receptors to notice a fad that’s going on in culture? There’s more than one way to come up with an idea than ripping it off someone else, especially when there’s an obvious trend happening. So please don’t be so quick to assume plagiarism, as it’s this kind of non-productive haterade and territorialism that’s dividing the queer woman community anyway.

        • Actually, Katrina, I made a comment in December of last year about how lesbians and hipsters look the exact same to me, so clearly you are BOTH rippping me off by bugging me and stealing my RL conversations, because nobody else would have noticed that without my keen insight.

      • well said, kc dangermouse. actually i’m confused of if the accusers actually believe this was plagarized or if you’re just joking? you’re joking, right? cuz that is like a fundamentally ridiculous idea, as katrina explained.

        in any event, because now i feel guilty for taking so long to get this article published, espesh cuz i am obsessed to the point of having no life with being first on the block for trend pieces, i feel i should add that katrina first started talking to me about this article last summer… that message board was started it says on march 19, 2010? yeah, no. really, no.

      • It means Thanks In Advance, and comes off as totally fucking snotty and makes me want to slap someone.

        I mean, uh, rainbows and kittens and glitter chucks, yeah, no violence here.

    • What baffles me is how you would assume that your thoughts were plagiarized. Do yo really think that your site/blog/forum is really that rave for anyone like Katrina (who obviously has so much sensible stuff to say) to copy off? NOT! Reality check dear, everybody is capable of sharing their thoughts on any given topic. It just so happened that you and Katrina may have had the same ideas. So to assume that she ripped off what you’ve written about, (which by the way, does not even compare to how Katrina writes), is a complete fallacy. Assumptions like that are completely insane. And really, be careful on what you say about others, otherwise, you would soon find too many enemies or being sued for libel.

  18. I live in my skinny jeans. If I’m not wearing them, I’m probably not wearing pants :)

  19. One thing this article illustrates very nicely but doesn’t speak about is the issues with weight/body type that go along with all this androgyny/hipsterism. the image of hipster is almost always very skinny, hipless and boobless white girls (and boys). not to mention that the skinny jeans, oversized tanks, and little vests do nothing to flatter people who are… anything but tiny. it kind of excludes a big group of people from the ~cool~ kids club.

  20. I loved this article.

    You guys should come to East London. The fashion fuelled androgyny creates such a melting pot of gender that it defeats stereotype. Once you step within a mile radius of Shoreditch your gaydar starts beeping erratically. Go as far as enter a chic bar off of Old Street and it’s more than likely to go Kaput!

    If you find yourself under such circumstances, lost without a compass, I advise that you go for plan B, the penetrate-all-the-hot-ladies-souls-with-your-eyes and no doubt that you’ll soon get some answers!

  21. Oh god, this article answered a lot of questions that I had posed toward my own way of dressing. I don’t like girly clothing, but I don’t want to be all the way masculine either. This article made me feel I have a place where I belong.

  22. “I can’t help it, I <3 being a hipster chick."

    WTF is going on? I think you all need to check out what hipster means because none of this is it. This is all pretty embarrassing.

    Lesbians have an elegant way of hijacking styles and subcultres for themselves, but forget that they tack-on "Lesbian" in the front. A "lesbian hipster" is very different from a "hipster."

  23. I’m not going to lie, I have a v-neck in every color on this planet. Although I am looking more and more grown up these days. You know, with the button ups and all. Girls like that, too. I’ve been getting several comments about how I look so cute in button ups ;) so I’m definitely going that way. I actually think I’m undergoing an image transformation. I’m growing my hair out, too! But believe me, it just looks so good with the natural wave and windblown look.

    …What’s happening to me?

  24. Ok so here is the deal. All of the above mentioned “hipster” style is totally me. I guess I fit the bill of skinny white girl with no boobs or hips who lives in jeans, baggy tanks and flannel etc. But I am not gay.

    What is it that annoys you girls so much about straight girls dressing hipster? Is it because the style has completely leaked into the mainstream and everyone is dressing like this now? (That annoys me too. I was wearing flannel and had a pixie cut before it was ‘cool’.) Or it is just because it is harder to pick the gay girls from the straight?

    I mean no offense here, its just kind of frustrating to be sectioned off into the annoying-jumped-on-the-bandwagon- category when I didn’t. :/

  25. I think this is a great article. I’m the editor of a national LGBT magazine. How can I contact the author about letting us publish a version of this piece? An e-mail address would be great! (Or e-mail me please.) Thanks.

  26. i have to say that oversize shirts over tanks or v necks, crazy sweaters, creative layering, and any hipster leggings/shorts/dresses/skinny jeans-hipster whatevers- look great on curvy, voluptuous body types too. just own it, and you’re sexy

  27. I loved this article, it was exactly what I wanted to read, and it came exactly when.

    I like to consider myself walking that middle line of androgyny through this, the lesbian hipster. I’m glad I’m not alone.

  28. let’s not leave out the ethnic urban hipster.

    yes they do exist. hipster chic minus the insufferable irony.

    come to the hood (fordham, bed stuy, soundview, jackson heights etc…)

    and you will see badass teenagers and twentysomethingsss adjusting the stereotypical hipster fashions with an urban twist.

    like instead of a fedora, throw on a yankees fitted w your skinny jeans, add a black and white checkered Fabolous approved scarf to your Kid Robot t-shirt and viola! you too can be a hood hipster.

    anyway, that’s just my two piece and a biscuit. :D

  29. I’m all for it, right up to the point where ‘androgyny’ is confused with ‘the standardization of being super skinny’. I’m a woman of color, on the thinner side of average weight, but those shirts will never hang off me. You will never mistake my skinny-jeaned ass for a twelve year old boy’s from behind. And damnit, I think the style is adorable, but I guess I need to go find a different form of androgyny or start binding.

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