Who Are You Calling a Hackney Twat? Gender and Stigma in Media Representation

  • Charles Nicholas Athill London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
Keywords: transgression


This article explores attitudes in the United Kingdom towards male dress, grooming and lifestyle choices, in relation to concepts and accusations of pretentiousness.  Taking the recent and broadly defined phenomenon, the ‘hipster’, as a case study, I analyse discourse in the last decade from a range of media that feature hipsterism. Nearly all media coverage of hipsters has focused on men, reflecting gendered cultural prejudices about styles that require a certain level of both cultivation and maintenance. I investigate how parody conveys cultural distaste, which I contend, mask anxieties about the subversion of norms regarding gender and class. I consider the question of classification with regard to hipsters and the role of stereotyping. By drawing on Dan Fox’s (2016) defence of pretentiousness as a catalyst of cultural innovation, I consider taste in relation to authenticity and pretentiousness with regard to what is represented as male hipster adornment. I propose that while attitudes to gender and class have been reformulated, media critique of styles labelled as pretentious reveals entrenched, if repackaged, cultural prejudices and insecurities. 

Author Biography

Charles Nicholas Athill, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
Lecturer: International Collaborations - Cultural and Historical Studies