Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

AIBU to not understand British class angst?

(28 Posts)
WidowWadman Sat 02-Feb-13 18:13:38

I've been living here for 8 years, and still don't get it. Why are people so bothered by class?

germyrabbit Sat 02-Feb-13 18:14:37

bothered in what sense?

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 18:17:00

I think people are bothered by class in most countries and Britain is really unfairly singled out for this. I lived in South America, Italy and two SE Asian countries and they was no difference in perceptions of class and class angst as there is in the UK

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 02-Feb-13 18:19:19

I think the East Coast of America is just as bothered by this. Or India. Or Italy. Loads of places really.

I never gave it a passing thought until I joined MN and I don't notice it in RL.

WidowWadman Sat 02-Feb-13 18:33:44

Never been to SE Asia, and only spent relatively short holidays in Italy and US, so maybe too short to spot the same attitudes there, certainly don't know it from home.

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 18:35:14

Where do you call home, WidowWadman?

WidowWadman Sat 02-Feb-13 18:36:23

Germany

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 18:39:45

Wasn't there a big divide due to the Berlin wall?

I think Mumsnet brings discussions on class to the fore which you wouldn't necessarily have in real life, online anonymity being what it is.

kim147 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:43:43

I don't worry about class. My friends have similar backgrounds to me and similar values. I go on holiday where I want to go - it's just that the places and holidays I want to do are not where you find "working class " people. That's not trying to be pretentious - maybe it's better to say I go to places where people with a similar outlook to life on me go - like YHA, camping and generally places where people don't get pissed and ruin my holiday.

I have been on a Haven holiday - the chalet was nice but the actual venue with the arcades and people getting pissed in the main centre was just not a place I enjoyed.

I don't get on with pretentious people who try to have the labels of class - whatever they are. Boden and Kath Kidston? No idea. I don't care where I shop - when you have not much money, that's not a problem.

BumpingFuglies Sat 02-Feb-13 18:45:54

Another class thread. Oh good. hmm

thebody Sat 02-Feb-13 18:48:36

Germans are known for their tolerance and ability to love and respect their neighbours though, yes?

Class thread excellent.

germyrabbit Sat 02-Feb-13 18:49:30

lol yeah all working classes get pissed on haven holidays grin

and people wonder why working class mumsnetters get wound up by the middle class posters.

WidowWadman Sat 02-Feb-13 18:49:47

Flicksticks - I don't think the Ossi-Wessi thing was about class - at least it's not a term which would have been used in that context. Yes, there was (is?) looking down on the other on both sides, but the divide was more geographical.

grovel Sat 02-Feb-13 18:52:41

I think (may well be wrong) that Germany's class system pretty much evaporated with WW2 and Hitler. The Kaiser had a Court. I seem to remember writing essays about the "Junker squirearchy" at university etc.

I have observed (upper) class attitudes on the East Coast, and in the deep South, of the US. Ditto in Italy. "Old Money" does not socialise with "New Money". Less of an issue though with the "middle class vs working class" debates we seem to have.

What's curious here is that "middle class" is something none of us seem to want to be!

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 18:54:59

I think class angst is everywhere if you look closely, people are naturally programmed to be suspicious of the 'other', DH is from a very working class background (he says underclass), I am from a liberal MC background, there are massive cultural differences between us, I find it fascinating & so does he we often take the piss out of each others class

MidnightMasquerader Sat 02-Feb-13 18:56:33

There's another thread going in this exact topic in this form already... wink

<helpful>

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 18:57:08

grovel - I find it curious too, I think people want/aspire to be financially MC, but when they get there they find it is relatively devoid of culture in comparison to being WC or upper class. In my personal experience anyway...

MorrisZapp Sat 02-Feb-13 19:00:04

Interesting view, flicksticks. What kind of culture do the WC have that the MC lack?

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 19:04:35

In my personal experience there is less 'angst' among the working class people I know, DH's family and the working class side of my own family are much warmer, more affectionate & more down to earth than the majority of MC class people I know. I realise this is a massive generalisation but it is my own experience.

WidowWadman Sat 02-Feb-13 19:09:05

Isn't generalising about MC people being class angsty?

grovel Sat 02-Feb-13 19:11:28

FlickSticks, that's a really interesting thought about culture.

On here (MN) I also think that "middle class" is often equated with nastiness (Daily Mail, pretension, smugness, tutoring for 11+, pulling up the ladder behind themselves as people "progress financially" etc). I was fascinated to watch Obama appeal to the middle class in his Presidential campaign. He was, I'm sure, talking to millions who, in the UK, might be considered working class but were proud to be considered middle class over there.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Sat 02-Feb-13 19:17:09

It's a particularly English thing OP. it's not the same at all in Wales, and I don't think in Scotland so much either. It's a shame because it does sometimes stop people relaxing and just bring friends, particularly the inverse snobbery of it all.

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 19:19:19

WidowWadman - Absolutely, but then I am MC wink

I have a theory that 'middle class' being a fairly new concept in the UK, is culturally uncharted territory. Most people come from working class backgrounds if you go back 1, 2, even 3 generations so still have the 'aspirational' attributes of their parents/grandparents. The grandparents/parents being so keen to move up the class ladder also left behind huge parts of their culture.. That is my theory anyway

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 19:20:30

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird - No I don't think it is an English thing at all, my mum's family are Scottish and class angst is alive and kicking even in the Highlands

mrsbunnylove Sat 02-Feb-13 19:23:02

sikhs do it and they hail from the punjab. caste. its against their beliefs but they can't let it go.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now