"I prefer hipsters to bogans that's for sure". This quote was overheard in a lift yesterday. It had followed a conversation about the different sub-cultures that exist in our communities these days.
The conversation leading up to this statement had been about the way that people look for their own identity, like a hipster, and in so doing become part of a subculture which means they become like others, losing the very individual identity they are seeking.
The last comment about bogans and hipsters served to highlight a positioning about the value of some subgroups, with the bogans clearly not valued very highly by the people in conversation.
The conversation had an air of distance from the "other" - "they do this but we don't" kind of tone to do it. Of course we all experiment with our identity and at various times in our lives we might find that some subgroups suit us more than others. We all look for a place to belong, a place to fit in, and sometimes that means we need to look a certain way or do certain things. Looking around our society we can see many examples of this. We can even reflect on what we do ourselves that mean we appear a certain way.
We tend to group people in ways according to the way they look and behave as a way of making sense of the complex world around us. It's easy to talk about hipsters or bogans and assume that this sums people up. In fact the reality is that each individual is so much more than those labels suggest. They may be fitting that perceived subgroup for a period of time for example but may not fit that category for ever. They may fit in one group during part of the day but then appear quite differently at another time in the same day. It's clear then that categorizing people is a pretty natural inclination but also risks being a bit superficial.