So, fedora shaming is an interesting thing for me to watch grow in popularity. Especially because of all the people associated with fedoras or hating on them. It’s double interesting because I happen to own one.
I bought a fedora back in early 2007 on a lark, as a cheap accessory to my outfit, for my escapade to the night at the local goth dive. I don’t remember anyone wearing hats in there, especially not fedoras and I certainly never saw it outside during the day. So I thought it would be fairly unique while I was using it in the dark and foreign environment of a gothic club (to look more mysterious I guess).
I kinda liked the look. I wore it in Wacken Open Air 2007, where I met my future wife (who liked it more than I did ), and wore it on occasion, such as the occasional night club outing. But I kinda stopped once I stopped going out so much, since I was using a bicycle most of the time, which doesn’t really fit the look (not to mention that wind is inconvenient).
Still, when I don’t have to use my bicycle, I would now and then like to wear it1, but the recent blowback against fedora wearing makes me very cautious about doing so. Not so much because pop culture tries to shame people using it, but more because wearing one seems to mean that you’re a particular type of person.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t want to be seen as an asocial dorky white guy, world knows I used to be one long before I ever even knew what a fedora was, it’s more like, I don’t want people to think I’m a MRA/PUA creeper using the hat like a plume to attract attention.
But is it that the people who would like the hat, are that sort of people? Or are people who like the hat avoiding it, much like I am, because of the negative connection?
To an extend I blame internet culture for all this. There’s a strong element of shaming of everything that is not “normal”. Instead of celebrating new trends, we do the opposite. The impression I get from lurking in popular online communities feels very similar to a high school social ostracism of the aberrant.
And the frustrating thing is, you see this on all sides. People are as quick to shame the nerdy, the asocial and the fedora, as they are to shame the fat, the queer and the women. “Only jocks allowed” so to speak. Which is weird to see since the internet used to be the bastion of the nerd.
And the fedora-bashing theme is kinda interesting because it’s become like a universal thing to shame. Jocks shame it, tumblr social justice warriors shame it, hipsters shame it, horrible anonymous communities shame it. I don’t think it’s possible anymore to upload a picture of yourself of wearing a fedora, without becoming an instant object of ridicule by many people.
I get that many people are shaming some common archetypes among fedora-wearers, such as the “nice guy”, the “creeper”, the “libertarian scumbag” etc. But does it make sense to shame the hat instead of the behaviour? Because other than that, I don’t think it’s bad at all that some people choose this particular accessory to experiment with. Sure, many may look ridiculous in it, just as many look ridiculous in 3-piece suits, or shorts.
I just wish we would let people express themselves in any way they choose and constructively help them improve their looks, rather than making them feel ashamed for trying and give up. I’d much prefer a world where fedoras, punks, hipsters, flamboyants etc, as well as intermixes of all of the above, can get along with the currently acceptable “normal” looks, rather than force everyone into the same cookie-cutter appearance.
But if we’re going to keep shaming, can we at least do it to the “suit & tie”, AKA the most boring and uninspired look in all of human history?
- currently it’s sitting in my cellar, fighting for its life against a moth infestation [↩]