Why ‘Hopepunk' Only Could Have Emerged in 2019

Hygge. She shedsLuxury sleep companies. The "Joy of Missing Out" (aka JOMO). 

If the rise of these cultural trends are any indication, escaping into a cozy hideaway away from the bleak outer world is more than just a #mood. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Born from the uneasiness surrounding a dismal dystopian outlook and an uncertain geopolitical climate, Hopepunk has joined these ranks. 

A literary movement coined on Tumblr in 2017, Hopepunk is a genre of creative works that arose from a societal atmosphere of resistance against the current authority or regime. Think: the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, #BlackLivesMatter, the March for Our Lives…even donating toilet paper to national parks during the government shutdown. It means caring about humanity and showing compassion and empathy for others, even against all odds.

It’s “about standing up and fighting for what you believe in. It’s about standing up for other people. It’s about DEMANDING a better, kinder world, and truly believing that we can get there if we care about each other as hard as we possibly can, with every drop of power in our little hearts,”according to Elizabeth Rowland, the writer who coined the term, per Vox.

Recent examples include The Handmaids TaleThe Man in the High CastleSense8The Hate U Give, Parks and Recreation…really anything that depicts unfailing optimism in the face of impending doom.

But it’s not just another modern storytelling genre. “Hopepunk is a feeling,” Rowland told Vox reporter Aja Romano. “And the feeling has been around for ages—I didn’t invent the feeling, I just put a word on it. All throughout history you can find examples of people standing up to terrifying regimes and holding the line against them, and surviving against all odds just by force of sheer, bloody-minded obstinacy.”

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