We can't escape from stereotypes. If you haven't been living under a rock for the past decade, you probably know that geeks and hipsters are some of the biggest subcultures right now. These two types of people are vastly different, yet many people confuse them.
Both stereotypes rock the thick-framed glasses and have eclectic interests, so how do you tell them apart? Don't get caught calling a hipster a geek (or vice versa) or you'll never hear the end of it. Here are some of the major differences between the two.
Geeks and Hipsters, Defined
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we need to define what the terms "geek" and "hipster" really mean.
A geek is someone who's extremely passionate about one or more niche topics. Although it's usually ascribed to a person who loves computers, electronics, and video games, a geek doesn't need to possess those interests. Someone can get the geek title as long as they're very knowledgable about a specific hobby or subject.
A hipster is the type of person who chooses not to conform, whether to society or some other trend. Their interests tend to deviate from the mainstream, and they generally have a liking for things that are underground, undiscovered, or coming from the past.
Interests and Hobbies
Like I mentioned above, geeks don't have to be interested in technology. In fact, geeks can have a passion for any topic at all. It's acceptable to call someone a music geek if they know a lot about the technicalities of music. Similarly, gardening geeks, car geeks, and nature geeks can exist as well.
However, it's much more common for geeks to enjoy nerdier hobbies like card games, video games, and sci-fi movies. When you ask a true geek about the topic they're interested in, they'll go off on a huge tangent that you may or may not understand—that's how you can tell if someone's a geek.
Hipsters tend to have interests that they believe that no one else has, but this usually ends up backfiring. Most hipsters actually have the same interests, so in reality, they're really not that much different. You might even find that a hipster's passion for a particular topic is purely superficial.
They're usually into alternative or indie music, protecting the environment, vegan food, art, and thrift shopping. Hipsters are also interested in things that come from the past, and they might have a minimalist lifestyle because of that.
Geeks and hipsters don't all possess the same personality, however, you might notice similar traits among the members of each stereotype. Geeks are shy and quiet before you get to know them. Once you get them talking about their topic of interest, they don't shut up.
While hipsters tend to remain on the down-low as well, they usually have a more unfriendly demeanor. If you don't have the same interests as them, they'll likely judge you. Geeks, on the other hand, are mostly non-judgemental. The adjective most commonly used to describe hipsters is "pretentious," meaning that they tend to try to impress other people a little too hard.
Tastes in Fashion
Geeks typically wear glasses, along with a graphic t-shirt of their favorite movie or video game. They tend to have a wide taste in fashion. Some might not care about fashion at all, and might end up wearing articles of clothing that went out of fashion years ago. To some geeks, clothes are just clothes, and they'll wear them as long as they still fit.
Conversely, hipsters care immensely about the clothing they wear. You can spot a hipster about a mile away, as they wear thick-framed glasses, skinny jeans, and tops that look like they came out of a different decade. Since they're huge fans of thrift shopping, their clothes likely did come from another era. Hipsters also tend to have piercings, tattoos, and rugged facial hair.
Geeks live a quiet life. They like to read on rainy days, and even research new topics. Instead of heading to parties, they might stay home and play video games or re-watch their favorite television series. That said, geeks still have an active social life (with fellow geeks, of course). Geeks meet up with friends to play Magic or to hold Super Smash Bros. tournaments.
Hipsters aren't necessarily social butterflies either, but you can find them frequenting small coffee shops, indie concerts, Urban Outfitters, bars, consignment shops, and any store that sells vinyl records. They also try their hardest to purchase organic food and live a natural lifestyle. Hipsters might use environmentally friendly soap and cleaning chemicals, and also tend to recycle (which isn't a bad thing, of course).
In general, people perceive geeks as smart and successful. They might even get made fun of for their intelligence or passion about "nerdy" topics. While geeks tend to get isolated from society because of their interests, hipsters purposefully separate themselves from the rest of the world.
Society sees hipsters as unapproachable and cold. People might not want to interact with them because of their pretentious stereotype. All hipsters don't have that negative quality, but society tends to see things that way.
Stereotypes Can Always Overlap
Geeks and hipsters are entirely separate entities, but that doesn't mean someone can't be a hipster and a geek at the same time. You might even find yourself falling into both the geeky and hipster category. We're all human, and stereotypes don't define exactly who we are.
Now that you know the difference between a geek and hipster, have you ever wondered the difference between a nerd and a geek? Check out our article that outlines the major distinctions of nerds and geeks.