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About the Author: John Markowski

100 Comments

  1. This reminds me of the popularity of the Adidas tracksuit in Slavic countries. It's a simple, functional garment that suggests athleticism and leisure at the same time. I think hoodies are pretty similar. They're (usually) pretty cheap, they require almost no effort, and they're simple and functional. In more mundane settings, they're not really all that remarkable, but when they're worn in professional settings, they definitely make a statement.

  2. Coming from a culture (Turkish citizen here) where hoodie does not have any significant meaning as a symbol besides being just another modern article of clothing, I can say that it's mainly seen a part of the black (American) culture in the society I live in, too. Though for me, practically, it's the most comfortable thing that could be worn in winter–both while going out and at home.

    But the point I wanted to make was actually something else: I thought that this video was going to be about the guy who punched Richard Spencer, when I first read the title when I got the notification. Huh. Maybe it was because the sentence was in past tense? Not sure. I still expected to hear about him while I was watching the video, and I'm still curious why he was not included. I think he would've made a great supportive example to the Luke Cage "costume" argument 🙂

  3. I'm immeasurably disappointed that there was no mention of the re-naming of a hoodie as "Bunnyhug" that is specific only to Saskatchewan Canada.

  4. hoodies have been part of the popular culture of fashion for …years. Kids were wearing them 20 years ago, white kids, black kids, everyone as far as I'm aware of in my high school, everyone owned a hoodie. White upper-class metropolitan hipsters weren't a thing then. We wore them because they were comfy. As far as I'm aware, that's why people still wear them? And I'm absolutely not trying to diminish the cultural attachments that go along with them, because those are very clear and loud, and in a lot of cases ugly and racist, but I feel like a lot of it has developed in the past 20 years. The baggage associated with the hoodie is a lot younger than the desire to own and wear them because they were inexpensive, snuggly, and easy to wear. They never used to mean much other than 'Oh, those are kids'.

  5. Living in a city, I prefer wearing hoodies when walking alone because they kind of act as a catcaller shield. If my hair and face aren't visible, I feel less like I'll be recognized or singled out by harassers. And also they keep me warm!
    I think this anonymity offered by hoodies also speaks to why they haven't been completely mainstreamed. Can't see who is under the hood? Can't trust them! Though that's certainly no justification for murder.

  6. First off, thank you so much for the thought and care you put into your videos. This one really got to me and provoked a lot of thought. I love them to death, please keep making more forever!

    Secondly, hoodies. I definitely agree with the association to those considered other by upper-middle class society, but the biggest thing I took away from your video was how the hoodie could be used as a way to understand privilege, and how it can be another facet of cultural appropriation. Specifically I am thinking of the different ways cornrows, locs, natural hair and hoodies as worn by white people are seen as just hair or are not considered to be a part of anything outside of themselves, while when a black person or "other" person wears their hair naturally or uses slang or dresses a certain way, it is considered to be wholly unprofessional or unattractive, and is also interpreted by those in places of privilege as the taking of a stance or the challenging of an idea when it might not be.

    TL;DR When individuals outside of societal groups adopt their ways of speaking, dressing, or behaving, they are outside or divorced from the stigma or politicalization of their actions. Hoodies are now included. Not saying that just wearing a hoodie is cultural appropriation because I'm not the authority on that but it's definitely something to think about.

  7. Good riddance to American Apparel. All I associate them with is boring and ugly clothes and sex scandals.

    I expect hoodies are around to stay for the foreseeable future. When I don't need to look professional, I wear them all the time since they're comfortable, and can keep my head warm without me needing to remember a hat. The next hoodie I'll be getting will be one with a cat-sized pocket at the bottom for relaxing at home with my cuddly kitty.

  8. You forgot to mention that Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman from ambush, punched him in the face, knocked him down, pinned him to the ground, and started smashing Zimmerman's head against the sidewalk while Zimmerman screamed for help. Only then did Zimmerman fire the single shot that killed his much younger, fitter attacker from a pistol Zimmerman had every legal right to carry and possess.

    These never-disputed facts are why the Sanford Police Department did not arrest or charge Zimmerman. They are why the FBI, the Justice Department, and a jury of Zimmerman's peers, which he had to face in spite of the fact that he had clearly committed no crime, all agreed that he was innocent of wrong-doing.

    The hoodie had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

  9. It would be an interesting experiment for some young man who might be mistaken for a miscreant while wearing a hoodie – to have said hoodie sport large text across the front that reads "Princeton University, Department of Mathematics" or something like that… to create cognitive dissonance in the eye of anyone else who might be quick to prejudge.

    Great video essay! Keep up the good work!

  10. I am a 20 something year old black man and I start my comment with this because it is relevant to the discussion. I would describe a hoodie as a utility garment that a person uses to express their own style but society dictates the cultural style. No matter your intention you can not determine how others see you in a hoodie see Kornhaber's comments on Trayvon's hoodie and Mark Zuckerberg's hooded sweatshirt. Kornhaber focused on American Apparel but many people order hoodies online now with varying and customizable styles like extra zippers, the little thumb sleeve thing, any pop culture figure on them, any color etc. For me my hoodies are my favorite garment because they are warm and give me a little introverted bubble away from people. I also wear them as a rebellion against the stigma young black males face wearing hoodie. So in summation I would describe the garment multifaceted.

  11. For those interested in video games, the hoods worn in the Assassin's Creed video games came to symbolize the historical order of Assassins in the fictional universe, and was embellished by the game's modern-day protagonist Desmond, who wore a hoodie throughout all the games, and only wore the hood portion over his head during the parts of the game where he went about doing assassin-y things. The hood was clearly chosen to represent anonymity, particularly in its use in resisting authority. After all, those figures in authority have less control over you the less they know about you. If they know your face and name, and can identify you at any point, you can be controlled much more closely than if you remain just an anonymous figure in the crowd.

  12. Tbh I just really like hoodies. That's all my opinion is about them. I like how they stay on you, the look so cool, especually if they're a bit oversized. Somehow they "hide" your body, but make you sexy at the same time. Or at least they just make you look good. And they just look cool. I feel both comfortable and beautiful when wearing one.
    And you know how different clothing kind of has a different vibe to it, different feeling that the look of that clothing gives off – I love the hoodie vibe. I love how it makes me feel while wearing it and I love the vibe of how it actually looks.

  13. I have pretty bad social anxiety and honestly, while a hoodie might make me look 'suspicious' as I've been told, it makes me feel safe and the anonymity aspect of it all makes me feel almost invisible, like nobody notices me, and I like that.
    I don't know where I'd be without them honestly.

  14. I just thought of the hoodie as clothes and an easier way of saying "hooded sweatshirt", which I never say. I never got any sort of dangerous or otherly connotations from it; it was mostly about function for me.

  15. the first time i saw the hoodie having a cultural significance was in the eminem music video "mosh", where it became a symbol of rebellion almost like what the guy fawkes mask became after the v for vendetta film

  16. What about anonymity? Large hats and hoods have been used to hide faces for a long time. I'm curious about historical uniforms which provide anonymity, to put hoodies in the same category as cloaks or masks. Are these uniforms tied to other? Do different groups take on the role of the uniform, or does the uniform conform multiple groups?

  17. If the hood is up, it makes you look sinister.
    If the hood is down, it's just a shirt.

    If the hood is up at night, it's downright scary because it tends to be enough to cast the wearer's face in shadow, or at the very least break up the contour of the head which makes it identifiable as a human and not, say, some slenderman-esque creep out to play with your blood.

    The thing about hoodie hoods is that they are fairly impractical outdoors. They don't protect against wind, and really if it is cold enough that you would need a hood, then odds are you should probably be wearing a coat. A hoodie might be good down to about 50 fahrenheit, which isn't quite the point where you'd start to need warm headwear (unless you live in florida or LA, apparently).

    The only way not to look terrifying with the hood up is to wear warm clothing over the hoodie. This effectively turns the hoodie into a hat since the clothes worn overtop break up the contour of the body above the waist. It makes it clear that the hood is up to be warm, rather than to hide something. similar to how a balaclava is acceptable only if you are wearing gloves, boots, and thick clothing.

    Basically, if you are just wearing a hoodie, it looks incredibly suspicious unless there is something overtop of it or it is adorned with a cartoon school mascot, or really anything else familiar and friendly.

  18. Hoodies are pretty popular where i come from. It gets pretty cold in the winter and the hood keeps in the warmth. You need to get a nice thick one though.

  19. the first statement of this video is contradicted by the later content. A LOT of people (including distinguished academic institutions) have established that the end-all-be-all of punk rock and it's culture lived (and died) between the 70's and 80's (acting as a buffer between the death of disco, and rise of pop)…however these are people who never cared about punk culture and didn't catalog that the culture never went away or died, the mainstream culture just stopped caring.
    graff artists, hip hop artists, punks, emos, and all other pariahs will never die or go away….and thus the hoodie (a cultural symbol) will continue it's existence through these cultures….while "basics" (or pop) culture will move on, the article of clothing synonymous with the iconography of these cultures will stay.

  20. This makes the word too difficult to use online… Should we assume anyone who uses the term hoodie is black or lower class? Should we ask people when they say hoodie if they qualify to wear one or if they are wearing a hooded sweater.

  21. I'm glad they don't have any particular appeal for me (and I'm from predominately blue collar Upstate New York where they were born according to you). This shit is way to complicated for an article of clothing… LOL.

  22. Love my hoodies. Been wearing them since the early 90s. Here's hoping hoodies become nothing more than the Gen-X equivalent of the old man cardigan. You could explore the iconography of any article of clothing; it would be interesting history. Also, loved how it was used in Luke Cage.

  23. My personal prejudice of a person wearing a hoodie has most to do with whether the hood is:
    1. Down (No Threat)
    2. Up because it's cold (Small Chance of a Threat) or
    3. Up and it's not even cold (Moderate Chance of Threat But Still More Probably Just a Horrific Fashion Violation).

    Ill-fitting hoodies are also sometimes a concern because they evoke suspicion of concealed weapons or an intent to shoplift. And I've never seen Bill Belichick's hoodie before, but I already don't like it. I probably view THAT hoodie as more "other" than anything else in this video. I'm 25, so it's been 7 years since I've had to be in the same room as a fatjock wearing a halfshirt, you see.

    The first time I called the cops on someone, they were wearing hoodies. That is how I described them to the police. That is not why I called 911, however. It was because they were systematically opening all of the mailboxes in my parents' neighborhood at midnight a few days before Christmas.

  24. It's rare to watch a writer feel so hard amidst a machine of sources and theses. There's a kind of hyper-intellectual cockiness that undermines what could be a really powerful piece.

    Put another way, I find Mike to be really obnoxious.

  25. When the video mentioned how in some places, hoodies were symbolic of a person who resides in the “hood” and is involved in gang activities, it hit home for me. Growing up in a poor immigrant family, my parents lived in downtown Ithaca. Downtown Ithaca’s demographic is dominantly black and known for having low-income residents, and high criminal activity, especially during evening hours. Usually, the people who were caught roaming the streets selling drugs, carrying pistols were black and described as wearing hoods. Our middle school implemented a new policy that we can’t wear jackets with hoods attached to them, especially in class. Even though most middle school aged students viewed the hoodie as nothing more than a garment to keep themselves as warm, school authorities generally view them as a garment that is representative of gang-related activities. My school even went as far as making some kids change out of their hoodies, and sending them home if they didn’t have any alternative clothes to change into. I noticed that school authorities always cracked down observably more on the African Americans wearing a hoodie, than the whites who wore hoodies. Due to the local news selectively concentrating on black crimes, the school authorities associated black students and hoodies to crime, therefore “outlawing” hoodies on school grounds. In order to follow the constitutional promise of equality, they wrote that all students are banned from wearing hoodies on school grounds, but it was obvious that they were more lenient towards the white students who violated this code of conduct.

  26. As a kid in the 70s/early 80s, I wore hooded sweatshirts, a light grey usually, but I rarely wore the hood over my head except when it was actually cold outside. And that, I think is a key distinction not made here. People who wear a hooded sweatshirt have the hood hanging in back, normally, while people who wear hoodies have the hood over their heads, regardless of the weather.

    But never mind the hoodie, what about the windbreaker?

  27. The hood covers identity to a degree. We use it as a symbol for evil characters all the time, in part because the ambiguity of their identity is scary?

  28. So Mike I know you feel guilty about wearing the sweatshirt because of your lifestyle. But if you did not have the college education and experience that allowed you to be exposed to so many cultural influences you wouldn't be able to make the assertion that you were the of this particular item of clothing in the first place. This type of self flagellation in the name of ethno-masochism and class (?) Masochism is self-defeating. I was extremely enthralled with this video until it became about not wearing the sweatshirt as a practical or utilitarian aspect by about who is worthy of the slang term. For example I and a tall euro Caucasian American dude Whether a social justice inclined jury of my peers would but stove me "worthy" of calling whatever I'm wearing a hoodie or not would depend on if jury knew and saw legitimate I had type II autism spectrum disorder or the condition formerly known as Asperger's syndrome. Luckily no such when you're at the fashion police exists probably because this is so impractical. Because you need a high degree of education to understand why a person of a certain type can or cannot use a slang term for an article of clothing. Unless the goal of this is more than to affect who the author deems comfortable this seems like a big switch to make people feel bad don't fit the preferred demographic. Thank God for the comment section.

  29. I grew up in a midwest farming region, we all wore hoodies. I don't think we ever gave it a thought to what group they were associated with, it was just a convenient article of clothing in a place that could go from hot to freezing in a matter of days lol. We have what we call "hoodie weather", where it's somewhat warm but the wind can be cold. Then again, we're all middle to lower middle class. I had no idea it was like a status thing…I think if I became rich and famous I'd still wear my hoodies haha

  30. Started in the 12th century Europe? What about the inuit anorak? It had a hood and was warm and came long before the 12th century?

  31. I grew up in a town with little to no black people in Upstate New York. I would argue that the image of a hoodie changes based on the area you live. Living in an area where young white men were more often the types committing crimes I would sometimes get stopped if I was wearing my hoodie. Especially wearing a hoodie with a back pack. walking in a store with your hood up was a no-no because people felt like you were trying to shoplift. Obviously black people face this issue more but as a young white male I rarely wear my hoodie up in fear of getting harassed. With Anarchist using hoodies to shield their identities while rioting, destroying, and beating police officers this idea of hoodies being related to crime is only going to get worse.

  32. I wear an actual hoodie. I'm not a fan of hooded sweatshirts. Being able to open my hoodie open depending on the weather or how hot or cold it is inside.

  33. A lot of clothing people refer to as being "hipster," is just clothing that people in the pacific northwest. Hooded sweatshirts, flannel, even big beards. We wear them to keep the rain off our heads. I first heard the term "hoodie" in a gap commercial. I try not to use it.

  34. I feel like a hoodie is a symbol of warmth and a thing that is blissfully lacking of gender roles. If I'm sad, I wear a hoodie, if I'm sick, I wear a hoodie, and if I'm cold I wear a hoodie. I feel like, as a person on the trans* masculine spectrum, that hoodies help a lot with both gender and general dysphoria which is the state of mind where you hate a part of parts of your body and would like them to change. I personally have 2 hoodies, one of which I really hate washing because it looses that feel of wear and warmth until I wear it for a while. This is what hoodies are for me, and I don't feel like I'd be the same person if they did not exist

  35. Okay, I know I am super late to this party but the distinction Mike draws between "hoodie" and "hooded sweatshirt" seems like pure classism to me. I mean, obviously the distinction is supposed to highlight classism but it also seems to commit classism at the same time. Did this bug anyone else?

  36. If AA could have put a better zipper on their hoodies I imagine they would have sold far better. Their t-shirts are easily top-grade underlayers for warmth.

  37. "A group of people well known for moving into spaces, both literally and figuratively, and reconfiguring them for their own purpose."

    Weird that you'd say that, as it describes many species, including humans. But it's just white hipsters?

  38. <_< I had no idea that there was so much symbology in the hoodie. I always figured it was cheap, effective and casual. You wear it because you want to be warm, and you're not trying to be fashionable. It cures you of nudity, but doesn't express a grand status.

  39. Why was it "groundbreaking" on Luke Cage when literally the same thing happened in Unbreakable? I actually thought the hoodie in Luke Cage was an homage to Unbreakable when i first saw footage of it.

  40. For anyone who loves hip hop and or rap music give my channel a try i have an array of songs that are freestyles and will be releasing a apparel line in the near future highlighting, Yes you guessed it HOODIES so check me out guys and -stay blessed

  41. Mike's pronunciation of initial [H] in the first half sounds so fricative that it's almost like pseudo-Yiddish. "What Was The Chudi?"

  42. While I don't think you're wrong, I think an important consideration is how is the item worn. I have a ninja-style hoodie that comes with a covering for the lower face, that when all is up, leaves only my eyes visible. Great for keeping me warm, but I can also tell there's an immediate reaction of uneasiness from others when they see me wearing it like that, and have even had one person jump away in fear after I got on a train, telling me afterwards he literally thought I was a threat after I took the face mask down and took the hooded part off my head. (It was warm in the train, so I no longer needed it up)

    While it may seem a small thing, the size of the hoodie one prefers to wear in relation to their own physical frame as well as choices like hood up covering the face, or hood down are small visual clues that we as humans are hard wired to process when trying to assess if we think someone is a threat, and if personal experience, media, or popular culture tells us that someone wearing baggy clothes hiding his face is dangerous, we're more likely to treat them as such because humans also generally operate on the "better safe than sorry" mindset.

  43. What about wearing a hoodie as a sign of depression or sadness. You could see it almost as a shell in which to hide. The long sleeves and hood used to hide, like a Hooligan would, not to do something wrong, however; it's used because they feel that THEY are that something wrong. This might be why there is the trope of the hooded teen on a swing wearing converses, on in which I tend to fit, because teens are trying to find themselves. They feel they must use more superficial shells until they have a "real" shell for themselves; all of this almost hermit crab like.

  44. I reckon that a lot of the "intimidation" or "suspiciousness" might come from posture and other body language. just a though.

  45. You use the phrase "tragically hip" but dont use a photo of the famous Canadian band by the same name? opportunity lost

  46. Hoodies are warm and cozy and they help protect us from the elements. Everyone in my family has them and uses them, although we don't normally wear the hood unless it's very cold. Hoodies can also help to obscure identity without calling attention to that fact. I think it's natural to feel cautious of people who may be concealing their identity. Aren't reflective sunglasses weird like this in a similar way? The person wearing them seems devious because we can't tell where their eyes are looking.

  47. I've never been able to successfully find a hoodie that felt comfortable on me. They're always too tight around the neck, too tight around the body, the hood is constricting, etc. And you may say "You're getting the wrong size" but I can never find size that works. And I'm not really big. I'm kinda big, but I see guys way bigger than me who pull them off.

  48. Here in Britain, you can't have your hood up in the metro centre, if you do, do it, you get kicked out the metro

  49. You mentioned the black hoodie specifically was a garment of punk and metal, but it is also a symbol of rebellion akin to a leather biker jacket.

  50. ill wear a hoodie whenever I want and cover my head and face as well until berkas are banned .
    also I don't want big brother watching me all the time

  51. ive always seen the word hoodie as a shorter way of saying hooded sweatshirt regardless of who dons the garment. the only exception is if its a really thick kind, like something you would put on in a snow environment, then i address it as a hooded jacket.

  52. I get yelled at to take my hood down constantly when I enter stores. It's probably the shoulder length crazy hair though. I'm suuuper white. That's how you become nonthreatening in a hoodie, by the way. Be white and "normal" looking. For the rest of us be prepared to be shot multiple times when you reach for your wallet after being pulled over.

  53. I stopped watching this channel a few years ago for some reason (algorithms, maybe? …probably algorithms), but now I'm really sad that i did, and that its shut down. This just feels like my channel, like a youtube *home*. RIP Idea Channel.

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