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Thread: Mostly for Rob: please explain the concept of social classes

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Mostly for Rob: please explain the concept of social classes

    You use the phrases "lower social classes" a lot. Now, I certainly understand various /economic/ classes, but I don't understand what you mean by social classes. What distinguishes these classes? And how many lower social classes are there? Are there "markers" of who is where? As a middle (economic) class person, I recognize certain hairstyles or purses as someone trying to display a certain status. I assume there must be something present that those in the know would be able to distinguish one social class from another?

    Why do you include yourself in a lower social class? I could see lower economic class, yes, due to your work decisions. But you are well spoken and articulate (if overly dramatic . You have had what I would call typical middle class ambitions (going to school to improve your lot in life etc). Why do you brand yourself other than middle class?

    This is genuine curiosity, not snarkiness, but I'm sure there will be others who jump on this thread who will be snarky.

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    This is such a complicated question, isn't it, about the intersection of economic and social class determinants. I saw your comment here "I recognize certain hairstyles or purses as someone trying to display a certain status" and just had to ask what are those indicators, for you, that someone is trying to display a certain status?

    It's a fascinating topic!

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    You use the phrases "lower social classes" a lot. Now, I certainly understand various /economic/ classes, but I don't understand what you mean by social classes. What distinguishes these classes? And how many lower social classes are there? Are there "markers" of who is where?
    well there are the homeless living on the streets, and then there are the homeless who live in their cars and RVs, and then there are poor people that at least have permanent shelter but maybe have food insecurity or little access to healthcare. Ok I suppose I'm being snarky, but it's kind of the reality of poverty if not an academics definition.

    Why do you include yourself in a lower social class? I could see lower economic class, yes, due to your work decisions.
    But you are well spoken and articulate (if overly dramatic . You have had what I would call typical middle class ambitions
    (going to school to improve your lot in life etc). Why do you brand yourself other than middle class?
    honestly I sometimes wonder that too, probably just over healthcare in his case (but if healthcare is what one needs it is a problem). But that is an economic issue. There are also VASTLY different experiences of WORK depending on class to the degree that I'd define it as maybe the primary characteristic of class. But to what extent that affects Rob he will have to answer. I mean if he still thinks his job is better than a corporate job I don't think it can be that bad as many working class jobs are worse than white collar work any day (but it is true some have a personality that they just can't tolerate a white collar job). There is just no comparison except for outliers (especially bad corporate jobs for instance).

    I have very indirect experience of this with my bf. So he's management, but in a blue collar environment. No vacation time, no sick days (goes in sick regularly), everyone is working 10-12 hour days, 6 days a week. Bad words, anger, crudeness allowed to the extent they wouldn't be in a white collar environment (this part has plusses and minuses as in some ways it's more honest, but there is open racism at times that I can't believe happens in a *work* environment). Almost noone can afford to live near work (and it's not that fancy an area) and so they are commuting not an hour but an hour and a half, two hours EACH way. Verbal abuse is a constant at work. People are routinely cheated out of commissions they have earned, promised raises they don't get etc. I don't think I understand the full horror of it, because I think it's one of those things my bf thinks I would never fully understand. But he's moving on now, he's from a middle class background like me (but with more education than I have for darn sure), so we are meant for better . Sorry I think it's beyond f-ed up the way things are ...but we have to and will get better for ourselves.
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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I saw your comment here "I recognize certain hairstyles or purses as someone trying to display a certain status" and just had to ask what are those indicators, for you, that someone is trying to display a certain status?
    Well to give a stereotyped example: there is a certain haircut that is popular among well to do soccer moms who have some entitlement going on- its become a meme. There are certain markers that identify someone as part of a group- ie bikers have been historically known for leather jackets and tattoos. There are certain consumer products that are "in" at a given moment with a particular crowd, and one of the ways you can show you "belong" is to prominently display that consumer product. We often identify with certain groups by the way we dress, what or if we drive, the types of leisure activities we participate in and the like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    Well to give a stereotyped example: there is a certain haircut that is popular among well to do soccer moms who have some entitlement going on- its become a meme.
    I have not been a soccer mom for 25 years, so this is news to me--what does this haircut look like, and how does it indicate that these women "have some entitlement going on"? How is it a meme?

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    I have not been a soccer mom for 25 years, so this is news to me--what does this haircut look like, and how does it indicate that these women "have some entitlement going on"? How is it a meme?
    I think I know it, it has angles.

    It signifies that one goes to a salon because it is not something you can do yourself.

    every time I think I might chop off my hair, I remember that i then have to go to a salon occasionally to have it cut. ugh, no thanks, I will continue to pile it into a clip in a messy granny 'do.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I remember from Sociology 101 that there are numerous definers--how education intersects with net worth, social mores, and so on. I don't know if Paul Fussell's Class is still relevant, but it was a fun read.

    Was that entitled soccer mom haircut a bob? Worn with mom jeans and loafers? I think I've seen a few around here.

    Iris Lily and I have the exact same do. And for the same reason.

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    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    This is the haircut I am thinking of, it has wisps not angles. The angles haircut I referenced upthread was popular as I remember it 15 years ago.

    Edited to say: i am not making funof this haircut, I think it is cute. The currently poplar one I think is NOT cute is the one that has purposely bad waves.


    IMG_1080.jpg

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lily View Post
    This is the haircut I am thinking of, it has wisps not angles. the anled haircut is the one from 15 years ago.

    IMG_1080.jpg
    Ah yes--what I characterize as the "chewed off by weasels bedhead look."

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    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    This is the one I dont like, reminds me of 80's frizzy big hair:

    IMG_1081.jpg

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