Hipsters are the eponymous representation of Millennials, the most visible generation today. While Boomers have their place in the news as a generation about to place a huge burden on the economy, hipsters are the ones who have to bear that load, and not always successfully.
Bar none, hipsters- and other Millennials- are the generation to most suffer from a lack of viable, middle-class employment. The reasons for this are many and varied, ranging from a lousy, unstable economy to hipsters going to college for degrees of little value to society (e.g. English literature instead of engineering), and from an unwillingness to work manual labor jobs to a sense of entitlement instead of realizing that employees have to work their way up the corporate ladder.
But it almost doesn’t matter what the reason is when the most pressing issue is the situation: hipsters don’t have money for groceries and are turning to EBT cards en masse. Their reliance on government assistance is a new kind, as the majority of food stamps users tend to be single parents, elderly people, and unemployed people. To group hipsters in with them has caused ripples of shock throughout the country, with some reactions being very unkind.
Hipsters, especially un(der)employed ones on food stamps, are seen as lazy, idle workers who refuse to put in any hard work, sacrifice and commitment. Whether or not that’s true is almost irrelevant; the main issue is that a growing portion of the population is on food stamps and, fairly or unfairly, acting as a drain on the economy. Social nets are always going to exist, but it does mean a huge amount of money will be spent on them.
However, the way in which hipsters use food stamps is being criticized. A couple of years ago, Salon ran an article that outlined how hipsters are using their food stamps. Instead of buying grocery essentials like grains, frozen vegetables, bulk meats and condiments, they’re using their EBT cards to purchase organic foods and specialty items.
But should it matter? If hipsters are eating healthy foods (and not “healthy” foods like steak and lobster), does it matter that their meals look more like Iron Chef assemblies instead of a “before” picture? After all, making a dinner that’s colorful and meets or exceeds nutritional requirements is inherently better than a pot of Kraft Dinner, so perhaps hipsters shouldn’t be criticized for their food choices.
Until there’s a large-scale makeover and culture shift, though, hipsters on food stamps is just something the public has to get used to because it doesn’t look like it’ll go away anytime soon.