to think this class system only exists on MN?

(309 Posts)
GildedWingsOfGrace Fri 13-Sep-13 20:00:38

All the time I hear "middle class" bashing on here.

Or "working class" guilt. Only on MN.

I wouldn't have a clue what class I am or what class my friends are, or the people I work with are.

It doesn't even occur to me, and I never hear it mentioned in day to day life confused

LittleBearPad Fri 13-Sep-13 20:02:59

You clearly don't read the daily mail. It is obsessed with class.

If you don mind me asking - are you English? Class obsession is built into many English people in a way that other European countries etc don't understand.

GildedWingsOfGrace Fri 13-Sep-13 20:03:51

Yes I'm English.

I also notice a lot of "British Bashing" on MN too.

Why is MN so obsessed with class?

DuelingFanjo Fri 13-Sep-13 20:05:29

I am obsessed with the amount of midle class people who try to convince people they are working class when they are not.

LittleBearPad Fri 13-Sep-13 20:07:28

Possibly it is shorthand used to describe someone
Possibly it's judgy and can be used to undermine people.
Possibly I don't know grin sorry.

Watching the English by Kate Fox is interesting on this. It's popular anthropology and spends a lot of time on class.

I find that class exists everywhere and its only more vocalised on MNet.

Saffyz Fri 13-Sep-13 20:10:01

It's irritating when "middle class" and "middle income" are used interchangeably too.

Taz1212 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:10:43

Oh no, you haven't met DH's family. They are obsessed with class! Mostly mocking what they consider to be posh I.e. me and how we're raising our children though strangly they appear to aspire to a "higher" class when you look at how they spend their money- all expensive cars, clothes and holidays. Very very odd. grin

I am astonished you have no idea what class you are if you are British / English. Even if you don't consider it day to day.

mercibucket Fri 13-Sep-13 20:12:29

i always wonder how people can, for instance, look at the background of the current government,and not see how class shapes everything in the uk

meditrina Fri 13-Sep-13 20:14:54

It's still possible to read Jilly Cooper's "Class" and recognise exactly the system she describes, even though it was written backin the 1970s. The structure and key identifying characteristics haven't changed.

Taz1212 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:15:03

As a side note, I find the class threads on MN fascinating! I think it's because I struggle to understand the sneering that goes on and MN gives a great insight as to how people think. I can't exactly ask DH's family half the stuff I garner from here!

commuterbelt Fri 13-Sep-13 20:17:01

love that book meditrina, it's so true

classes exist in the rl, mnetters just don't feel ashamed about talking about which class they are

it was an eye opener to me

Bowlersarm Fri 13-Sep-13 20:17:36

I agree OP.

My friends, and I have a lot wink, are from a variety of backgrounds. No one seems to give a toss about where you have come from.

GildedWingsOfGrace Fri 13-Sep-13 20:21:04

I am astonished you have no idea what class you are if you are British / English. Even if you don't consider it day to day.

Because I don't care enough to know. How will it affect my life?

Will I stop being friends who are a certain class? Start shopping in Waitrose? Get a promotion?

No. It would make no difference to my life at all.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 13-Sep-13 20:22:58

Guess my social class, because I have no clue:

HGV driver, paid-for education, obese, possesses cafetiere, prison haircut, RP accent, says "fuck" a LOT, drinks gin, eats at KFC, has hit people while sober, OU degree, votes Labour, lives on estate, drinks Amarone di Valpolicella, announces farts, drinks St Jean de Minervois, DD has tricolor hair and says "innit", has hit people while drunk, drinks Brewdog, changes shirt every other day.

Oh yeah: born in Yorkshire. Automatically whatever than you.

LittleBearPad Fri 13-Sep-13 20:24:07

It does make a difference though. It affects how people interact with each other. This isn't right and it isn't fair but it is true.

holidaybug Fri 13-Sep-13 20:24:56

Yes, seems to be a Mumsnet and Daily Mail obsession - probably says a lot

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 13-Sep-13 20:25:58

Ahem. Hitting people in this instance means in a sporting context. Ish.

greenbananas Fri 13-Sep-13 20:27:02

I am about 90 pages into a book called chavs - the demonisation of the working class it is fascinating so far.

I am definitely working class, though university educated, and I live in one of the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. Mumsnet is about the only place I get to interact with middle class people, and sometimes I feel like I am living on another planet to some of the posters here.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Fri 13-Sep-13 20:29:42

"How will it affect my life?"

Class affects everyones life in all kinds of ways. It's a shorthand way of discussing the structural inequalities in society - why children born into different families have different opportunities. Why people's access to capital and assets is so different, and how people's position in the labour market affects their life, standard of living, and choices.

Pointing out that class exists doesn't mean claiming that the fact that it exists is good!

The trouble is that people get obsessed with picking over the indicators of someone's class rather than the structural issues themselves. A lot of quibbling about what class someone is depending on whether they shop at Waitrose or play tennis or darts is silly, really. Trying to pigeonhole individual people is silly.

But the structural concerns are still important. Class is, in the end, all about people's relationship to capital and degree of power in the labour market.

GildedWingsOfGrace Fri 13-Sep-13 20:29:47

It does make a difference though. It affects how people interact with each other. This isn't right and it isn't fair but it is true.

Does it?

Maybe I am blind to it, but this has never happened to me.

If I was interviewing someone for a job or the other way around - how would I know what class they are?

bsc Fri 13-Sep-13 20:35:03

greenbananas I am about as mc as one could possibly be... but trust me when I say I feel like I'm living on another planet to most posters! grin

Rufus43 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:36:07

Love watching the English

I don't know what class I am for definite, but I'm pretty sure by everything I've read it's middle class. Don't really care one way or the other as it doesn't affect my life!

What interests me is the amount of vitriol some of the classes seem to attract and why some people are desperate to stick to one class even though by most definitions they are another...

That paragraph makes no sense, and needs punctuation!

bsc Fri 13-Sep-13 20:36:48

Gilded- one would know by class signifiers and shibboleths.

It matters to some, not to me most.

Rufus43 Fri 13-Sep-13 20:37:52

I would say that it doesn't affect my life if I was middle class though wouldn't I

greenbananas Fri 13-Sep-13 20:37:57

bsc grin glad it's not just me!

usualsuspect Fri 13-Sep-13 20:38:17

Only the MC care about class.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 13-Sep-13 20:38:28

there is far more bashing of the wc than mc on here

i find many are desperate to show they are so mc

who really cares, well many on here obviously do

but sadly many people do judge what class you are from by what you wear, say, how you talk, where you go on holiday and even if you have your tv hanging on the wall hmm

GildedWingsOfGrace Fri 13-Sep-13 20:39:45

What other classes are there apart from working and middle?

In terms of Titanic would working class be steerage?

FreudiansSlipper Fri 13-Sep-13 20:41:33

It's irritating when "middle class" and "middle income" are used interchangeably too.


LittleBearPad Fri 13-Sep-13 20:41:41

There's a whole gamut of classes

Upper, middle and working being the main ones but there are subdivisions in them. Ie Upper middle / lower middle etc.

GildedWingsOfGrace Fri 13-Sep-13 20:41:43

i find many are desperate to show they are so mc

I am obsessed with the amount of midle class people who try to convince people they are working class when they are not.

When it comes to class MN just straight out confuses me confused

LittleBearPad Fri 13-Sep-13 20:42:15

Because class and income are not the same thing.

LuisSuarezTeeth Fri 13-Sep-13 20:43:13

If you meet a wide variety of people daily, as I do, you would soon become aware of "class". It is definitely not restricted to MN.

LuisSuarezTeeth Fri 13-Sep-13 20:43:53

LittleBear - exactly

FreudiansSlipper Fri 13-Sep-13 20:49:38

yes i am well aware of that

but what i do not understand is why it is irritating to someone

TheUglyFuckling Fri 13-Sep-13 20:52:26

Social class should never be confused with income. Perish the thought.

Because of a complicated family background and a convoluted education I have lived and observed both sides of the WC/MC divide.

On the whole living a MC life is much nicer.

Rufus43 Fri 13-Sep-13 21:04:40

But can you move round from class to class? It seems to be mc people saying my dad was wc and when I started out in life I was wc so I am wc til I die

And although its not related to money most people seem to equate being mc to the type/amount of stuff you own or money you earn (husbands in some cases)

Seaweedy Fri 13-Sep-13 21:12:22

What Mercibucket and ThumbsDown said. I think you'd need to be seriously blinkered not to see the workings of class in the day to day way this society functions. I say that as someone not from the UK.

i do agree with whoever said up the thread that Mn focuses on 'reading' the details of class and class aspiration rather than larger class structures or politics. The baby names forum is particularly interesting for that. There's a thread currently discussing whether or not Megan is a 'chavvy' name.

HalooJones Fri 13-Sep-13 21:33:26

Most people that think they are middle class are really working class.

kaosak Fri 13-Sep-13 22:52:39

Amazed that you could be British and not be aware of class and whereabouts you fit in for better or for worse.

It's everything from the newspaper you read, where and how you take your holidays, which supermarket you shop at, which schools you care to go to, where you buy your clothes blah blah.

I think you need to feel comfortable wherever you fit in within that class structure, aspiring to be something you are not is never going to feel great I wouldn't have thought.

DuelingFanjo Fri 13-Sep-13 22:54:59

Hallo, funny I would say the opposite is true. People seem desperate to be working class when they are clearly ot. They think because their father or grandfather worked in a shop or the mines it means they are still working class.

kaosak Fri 13-Sep-13 23:00:14

Yes I agree Dueling, it's more street innit. I blame Call Me Dave grin!

usualsuspect Fri 13-Sep-13 23:01:23

Posters on MN are desperate to be seen as MC.

"I am astonished you have no idea what class you are if you are British / English. Even if you don't consider it day to day.

Because I don't care enough to know. How will it affect my life?"

I don't care about/believe in astrology, and don't think it could possibly affect my life; but I still know what star sign I am.

Prambo Sat 14-Sep-13 00:33:18

I only became class-conscious when I joined mumsnet and I am ashamed to say I am now sneery of those who are middle class.

DuelingFanjo Sat 14-Sep-13 00:48:25

I suspect there's a huge misunderstanding of what middle class is!

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 01:07:04

class is about social and economic status, it's not rigidly and absolutely definable.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 01:16:52

as for who is middle class and who is working class, different people/groups will use different criteria according to their purposes.

We are multi dimensional and tend not to slot easily into clearly defined categories.

Thats not to say that class doesnt exist, clearly we live in a very unequal society.

stitchy Sat 14-Sep-13 01:25:26

The class system is alive and kicking, I just don't know into which class I fall as neither the working class or the middle class would have me as a member. On the one hand my brother is a banker, sister is a curator, mates are solicitors etc and yet I'm a non-university educated, daughter of a salt-of-the-earth (more patronising middle class term for chav) proper northern, 'you can't go to heaven if you vote tory' dad. It's class limbo.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 01:28:16

weren't there some new categories proposed just recently?
It was discussed in the news and what have you, I filled in some online survey but I cant remember what it said I amconfused

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 14-Sep-13 01:54:56

That was just some new research/BBC survey.

There are various ways of defining/ascribing class, and not all of them overlap neatly. Most are about forming collective perceptions of each other though.

I said it already upthread, but although people's consumer choices are the most visible signs of their social class, I don't think they are really the most important aspect of class. Getting hung up about lawyers popping into Iceland for frozen pies and chips for their tea and checkout assistants buying artisinal cheese and biodynamic wine isn't very productive.

I would disagree with this though:

"I think you need to feel comfortable wherever you fit in within that class structure, aspiring to be something you are not is never going to feel great I wouldn't have thought."

I don't think that discussing class should ever be a way of encouraging people to stay 'in their place'. Personally, I think it's good to have an awareness of how class and power function in society, and where you stand in respect to that power, in order to see exactly what hurdles and barrier you - and others - face in their lives, and think about what action can be taken to overcome them.

On the subject of middle class people insisting that they are working class, I think people often feel that becoming middle class is like suddenly belonging to another distinct category of society. But being middle class is really more like being in the middle of a power dynamic. In the middle of the everyday push and pull of power between working class people and people who control markets and industries. Just because you, personally, have more leverage, doesn't mean you have to switch sides. So I don't see any conflict between having middle class means and working class values.

GrandstandingBlueTit Sat 14-Sep-13 02:09:21

Most people that think they are middle class are really working class.

Why do you say this?

BobbyGentry Sat 14-Sep-13 02:16:30

Do the BBC's class test and find out for yourself :D
(Before the age of reason, 80% (not aristocrat or clergy) of the population were classed as 'other' with little or no rights and absolutely no voice. "We're all born equal, just some more equal than the rest,' Wilde. Why would a nation wish the 80% to bash each other, I wonder?
* I'm technical middle class according to the BBC's test

Chottie Sat 14-Sep-13 02:29:16

If parents are from two different classes (according to the BBC test smile) what class does that make their DC?

The comment about MC people insisting they are WC rings true. I know of several friends and extended family who insist they are WC.
I'm not sure why they do this?

raisah Sat 14-Sep-13 02:42:32

It is not just the British who are obsesses with class, most Asians are unashamedly snobbish and that is why arranged marriages are so favoured. External variables like the family background, economic & education status are rigourously scrutinised and only potential spouses who tick the boxes will then be considered. Things are changing with people meeting partners at work & college but some still do subconsciously filter people so they marry the person from the right family. It is drummed into us from birth, we often don't know that we are doing it!

MummyBeerest Sat 14-Sep-13 03:10:03

As a non-Brit <love you guys!>

I am constantly astounded at how "class" is determined, and how it affects, your daily life. It's nor just the education and job a person has, but the meals you eat (MC has lunch, WC has dinner, MC then eats dinner while WC have' tea'...WTAF?) the words you say (UC says "what," MC says "sorry, " WC says "pardon,"
...again, WTAF?) and your social interactions (MC people don't open their presents at the birthday party, they wait. WC people open their presents at the party...thrice, I swy WTAF?)...

All these are apparent indicators of a person's class.

Perhaps you all are just more refined than us North Americans. Granted, money and other wordly possessions are noted 'status' symbols for us, but they're just things. If you say please and thank you and excuse me, people think you're A-OK.

*Disclaimer-this is IMO and IME. This may or may not be applicable to you. Yes, you*

JustinBsMum Sat 14-Sep-13 03:24:57

Nowadays I would say that MC are people who are not skint. WC are people on benefits, yes, I know that seems daft but the working class jobs are largely gone, or if they exist are highly paid eg train driver, so the working working class are largely MC and, working class on benefits.

Silverfoxballs Sat 14-Sep-13 08:32:49

Mummybeerest read Watching the English by Kate Fox

There are regional differences as well to add to the confusion.

JakeBullet Sat 14-Sep-13 08:40:32

The BBC thing put me in the Precariat class....the poorest and most deprived. Accurate?

Not in the least as I don't feel poor or deprived in any way. I have a good education, I worked for 30 years before taking time out to be a Carer so have lots of things around me that many people do not.

I can also cook from scratch.....most things and make do and mend. My life is fairly rich I would say.

Admittedly I have gone from being a HR tax payer to being in benefits.....a hell of an eye opener but we manage.

OwlinaTree Sat 14-Sep-13 08:49:34
OwlinaTree Sat 14-Sep-13 08:59:13

There are 2 systems corrolating here, a traditional classssystem with very little social mobility ie Victorian era, and a more modern socioeconomic system with a lot of mobility. This is similar to the States, who have the latter but not the former.

Problem is traditionally people were to some extent grateful for the fact they were mc or uc as you were born that way and supported the wc through charitable work, donations or taxes. Now we have moved to the more socially mobile US idea that if people are poor it's their own fault so as a society we are becoming less tolerant of each other, going in both directions.

Social inequality is a massive problem in the uk. It's more to do with changing attitudes towards each other than traditional class groupings tho.

Rufus43 Sat 14-Sep-13 09:05:43

Established middle class here, but that seems to be based on income and house rather than anything else!

And it also says they do lots of cultural stuff (we don't, and there was no section for going down the pub and cinema) and they went to university (we didn't)

And it's based on my husbands income, I'm a dinner lady

Rufus43 Sat 14-Sep-13 09:07:11

And as has been stated up thread , its a bit too simplistic to say this is my job, or income, or education and be put in a box because of it

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 09:08:34

Justinb- disagree. I know lots and lots of middle class people who are skint. If I was defining class on a simplified form I would look at education first and foremost, and then career. There will obviously be those that don't fit this but it is a good starting point. For example-true middle class is degree educated, however there will be lots who don't have degrees who see themselves as middle class based on their income and possessions.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 14-Sep-13 09:08:39

The trouble is that there isn't as much mobility in the UK (or the US) as people want to think. When researchers look systematically at people's educational outcomes and employment situation they tend to find that people's circumstances do fit with the circumstances they were born into, and social inequality persists.

So we get the worst of both worlds in many ways. Not much social mobility and, at the same time, a hardening of attitudes because people believe if people are poor it's their own fault.

OwlinaTree Sat 14-Sep-13 09:11:00

OK maybe not a lot of mobility, but I was thinking of the mobility changes post war era as a whole.

bakingaddict Sat 14-Sep-13 09:15:12

I grew up in a working class household but now live a middle-class life. I think confusion about what to define yourself as is because for some people class is dependent on what your family background is. To my MIL(who incidentally is Asian and far more concerned about class than any English person I know), I am WC because my father was a lorry driver and my mum a housewife even though I myself am university educated and in a professional occupation.

Other people see me as MC because of the occupations of DH and myself. I guess a lot of people including myself will say we are WC even though on appearance we aren't because we define ourselves through our WC upbringing

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 14-Sep-13 09:18:43

Sorry, I wasn't disagreeing with you Owlina.

Of course the war, and the post-war era, had a massive effect on social values and there were sudden instances of blocks of social mobility, like widening access to education.

But we don't have anything like that level of mobility at the moment. As you say, social inequality is a massive problem in the UK, and in many ways its made worse by the hardening of attitudes you describe, irrespective of people's actual opportunities.

OwlinaTree Sat 14-Sep-13 09:24:46

And therein is the British dilemma, bakingaddict.

I wonder why it is so important to some to belong to a certain class? I have friends from different soci economic groups (no landed gentry!). I'm not so daft I can't see differences in their lifestyles but I like then as people. Most of my friends like the same things as me tho, that's why we are friends, so most are similar to me and my dh.

Where I work is very different to where I live, in terms of income, so I think I can see a little the effects of economic hardship on children's life chances.

OwlinaTree Sat 14-Sep-13 09:27:51

X post headsdown! I didn't think you were disagreeing, just adding a good point.

I'm guessing the recent economic hardship has a part to play in this too, society gets less tolerant as belts get tightened.

EastwickWitch Sat 14-Sep-13 09:31:10

Jaysus, according to the bbc I'm Elite.
hides Asda list & trots off to Fortnums

CremeEggThief Sat 14-Sep-13 09:57:57

I am a qualified teacher, currently working 5 hours a week as a dinnerlady. I live in a rented house, can't afford to drive and mostly shop at Tesco and Lidl.

I might eat Lidl cake, but I eat it with a fork. Therefore, I declare myself middle-class! grin

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 10:12:10

Class does affect people's day to day life. Certainly in particular industries. The old boys back slapping, employing each others kids network is very much a part of that.

Why can't I find the test? Clicked the link etc but no test.

thebody Sat 14-Sep-13 10:13:16

no never heard anyone in RL talk about class at all.

have a wide circle of friends from university educated lawyers to jobbing builders. All get on as all are nice.

who cares. I suspect that those who do angst about class are a pita and boring.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 10:20:54

I think it is an English thing as we don't really care in scotland or maybe I just don't care but people mix and match their lives so a working class person might love museums and art and give their children music lessons,

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 10:22:05

no never heard anyone in RL talk about class at all.

I haven't either thebody maybe mumsnet just gives people an excuse to say middle classness loads, it just seems the middle class that is most talked about thing on here though

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 10:23:55

In rl people's class never rears it's head.
BUT I met a woman on the ferry over summer who summed up all those judgy stealth boasty threads I have seen on MN over the years. The questions, the name dropping, the not very stealthy boasts. DH and I were pissing ourselves. She was a complete parody.
I was heartily pleased that we live in Lancashire and not Surrey if she was typical grin

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 10:32:59

people near me tend to think they are better than somebody by their house and estate they live on but that is just boasting isn't it ? rather than a class thing.

Binkybix Sat 14-Sep-13 10:33:13

I was interviewing someone for a job or the other way around - how would I know what class they are?

I think the point is that for UC and some jobs there would not be an interview - it worked this way for my brothers who fell in with the Eton crowd at uni!

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 10:42:21

The fact that people don't make direct reference to class isn't the point.

We all make inferences about other people's socioeconomic status, and socioeconomic status plays a large role in determining who gets what in life.

The well off tend to be Better educated with better health

Elsiequadrille Sat 14-Sep-13 10:46:03

I think (and in my experience) people are as obsessed with class in real life as they are on here. I find it very interesting.

Most people seem to describe themselves as middle class (in here and real life), I find, even those with very working class roots (which I find odd).

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 14-Sep-13 10:53:58

only the middle class care about class
I find it's more the wannabe middle class that care more.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 10:54:44

I wonder if it because people are surrounded by their class and need to keep it all up It confuses me not that i give it much daily thought just when i see it on here because I don't understand it, I have been told on a previous thread that because i am confused and dont really get it I am probab;y very working class made me grin

Elsiequadrille Sat 14-Sep-13 10:56:36

I find the wannabe middle class mention how middle class they are at every opportunity (in case you forget grin).

NandH Sat 14-Sep-13 10:57:13

I'm British and I can't say I particularly notice class. I don't really understand it either to be honest smile

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 10:57:57

It is all a pointless status nonsense the need to identify seems to overcome some mumsnetters people

DjangoTheDisSilent Sat 14-Sep-13 11:06:52

I have never once heard anyone in real life say I'm middle/working class.

I find the people that discuss it and seem obsessed by it rather weird.

I didn't notice it when I was younger, more aware of it now. I do wonder if living in the home counties is what makes it so obvious to me. Hard not to notice the massive class differences when you are surrounded by such contrasting towns/villages.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 11:07:11

We come out as elite. This is mostly due to my DH's job but I was brought up UC (although I went to grammar school - twisted kent system and my parents wouldn't let me board). DH wnet to the local comp, his parents were brought up working class and very poor although were a teacher and an engineer and I reckon MIL has more money than my mum now. MIL looks down her nose at her hairdresser and the sort of people who go on holiday to Spain. My mum has lunch with her hairdresser and thinks everyone should have the holiday they enjoy. MIL also openly sneers at posh people.

MIL and FIL act(ed) working class but looked down on it.

DH still thinks he's working class even though his success is what makes us elite. The DC think it's all a lot of codswallop - just had a chat with DD who asked how do you two know all these people - DD and DS say they prefer just hanging out with ordinary people.

Boils down to money and conduct. Money with application and a dose of good luck can be earned. Conduct boils down to niceness, honesty, and being oneself in a straightforward way.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 11:11:13

And I buy the basics: rice, pasta, waters, tins, etc., in Asda because it's cheaper and whilst I'm ther stock up for the week as well because there's nothing wrong with what they sell and however much money you have there's no point spending mre than u have to - ever.

On phone - excuse typos please.

Crowler Sat 14-Sep-13 11:13:39

Mumsnet is obsessed with class, stealth (and not) boasting abound.

I have never met anyone in real life who has actually talked about class, apart from a friend of mine who is desperate to be seen as posh and has slowly gone bonkers over the years (possibly as a result).

thebody Sat 14-Sep-13 11:21:40

but what is 'elite' and what are 'ordinary people'?

Crowler Sat 14-Sep-13 11:34:36

Correction: I have never heard anyone talk about their own class IRL.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 11:40:46

why do they say ordinary people though what is common- ordinary people ?

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 12:16:53

I think they mean the people they know who are nice, kind, honest and straightforward regardless of who they are, where they live and what they have.

Elite is as defined in the researh in a post above.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 12:19:10

if you want to know what elite means just google a dictionary definition

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 12:32:11

Oh i get you now married I read it so much different blush I guess If you are in certain circles like all people some nice some not so much ,

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 12:33:42

Guess my social class, because I have no clue:

HGV driver, paid-for education, obese, possesses cafetiere, prison haircut, RP accent, says "fuck" a LOT, drinks gin, eats at KFC, has hit people while sober, OU degree, votes Labour, lives on estate, drinks Amarone di Valpolicella, announces farts, drinks St Jean de Minervois, DD has tricolor hair and says "innit", has hit people while drunk, drinks Brewdog, changes shirt every other day.

I have no idea what social class you are, but you sound awful.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 12:42:27

Tends to agree with subliminal

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 12:50:19

or if you want a basic marxist take on it most of us are proletariat, or lumpen proletariat

of course marxism is a bit old hat these daysgrin

YoungBritishPissArtist Sat 14-Sep-13 12:51:24

It makes me laugh when posters on here say they're "too poor to be MC" grin Class is not entirely about money.

I grew up very WC, through education and moving away I've become somewhat MC. I find it hard to come up with tangible examples but life feels easier as an MC (even if I'm faking it!)

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 12:52:42

but apparently class is born not made so I dont see how people can jump classes ? see how confused i am about this grin

LegoDragon Sat 14-Sep-13 12:55:20

As an American (so from a society which has a class system too) I think class doesn't affect every day life if you live in a varied class society. If you live in a predominantly working/middle/upper class area, then it will be more noticeable if you aren't- obviously. Where I live now, I stick out like a sore thumb (and not because I'm American btw!) but where I used to live, I blended in. A few years ago, I'd have said class didn't affect me probably!

MN is confusing. People seem obsessed with being wc (or rather- 'working class guilt' is overused. Being mc isn't bad!) and what I think of mc is vastly different to a number of MNers- my idea of upperclass is their idea of mc etc; confused

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 14-Sep-13 12:56:09

If class is down to money please explain the Rooneys.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 12:59:34

what is working class guilt ? is it if you made a nice life and then you say well I grew up in a shoebox kinda thing just to balance it out,

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 13:01:25

Class becomes a problem when the supposedly MC look down on the WC.

You only have to read the baby names threads on here to know that it's a real problem.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 13:04:51

Surely everyone knows class isn't just about money, or birth or other words it's not one dimensional

And the USA may not have a 'class system'but it's far from egalitarian

TigerFeet Sat 14-Sep-13 13:07:30

Dh and I are both from a very working class background but don't live a traditional working class lifestyle now. Dh has a real bee in his bonnet about class, he has a real problem with anyone who he considers to be"posh" which I think stems from some sort of self esteem thing... really fucking annoying as I was boarding school educated (dad was in the army) and went to university which is everything he seems to dislike. We've had many a row about it, apparently none of it applies to me as the MOD paid for my education, but I still think wtaf when he starts going on.

The huge irony here is that despite the fact he left school at 16 with crap exam results and was taken on as a yts trainee, he has an extremely successful career and has educated himself via day release from work. It's his salary which pays for our the majority of our lifestyle as I gave up full time work and out my career on hold a couple of years ago.

He has many redeeming features but this class obsession is most definitely not one of them.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 13:10:21

My DH never feels guilty but he does feel slightly awkward in social situations with the noticeably "Old Etonian" brigade. I don't but I thought DC was a prat when I met him at a dinner party when he was still working at Conservative Central Office as a policy twonk. Guess he was 25 and I was about 28.

AFAIAC a prat is a prat regardless of class or income; just as a nasty so and so is a nasty so and so. Just thought of a famous one of those too who was the rudest person I've ever spoken to - Maxwell. Prats and gits come from all walks of life and don't make my address book regardless of who they are.

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 13:12:01

I don't think you can move class tbh.

You are what you are.

Why would you want to be seen as MC?

Do you assume it's better than being WC?

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 13:12:20

Tiger it sounds like he's worked very hard to get where he is, maybe he resents people who seem to have success handed to them on a plate (I think that would be quite understandable btw)

Wannabestepfordwife Sat 14-Sep-13 13:13:30

The only people I meet who are obsessed with class tend to be hyacinth bouquet type characters or inverse snobs.

I have no idea what class I am dp and I aren't university educated and neither are our parents however dp earns more than his friends who do have degrees and I was a manager before becoming a sahm. We live on a council estate but we own our house so I have no idea where we are.

If you marry someone from a higher class do you still become that class?

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 13:17:06

Of course you can move class, it's not a caste system.

However its difficult to eradicate the effects of social background, I think partly its to do with which group you identify with, we tend to absorbed elements of whichever culture we want to be part of

Wannabestepfordwife Sat 14-Sep-13 13:18:52

The only thing I really comment on about class is what a difference it is moving to the SE from the north. Back home I would say people are predominately working class and down here mostly mc or "uc" I find the divide quite shocking

Elsiequadrille Sat 14-Sep-13 13:24:47

"If you marry someone from a higher class do you still become that class?

I don't think so. Somebody was saying today on another thread That Kate Middleton isn't UC but their child is.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 13:26:57

'You can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of the girl'

exoticfruits Sat 14-Sep-13 13:27:39

I don't think you notice in everyday life, but it does become quite noticeable if you are entirely surrounded by those of a different class.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sat 14-Sep-13 13:32:22

I think one is very blessed to be able to ignore class.

Class is part the system, it is built into the infrastructure all around us. It effects a person's life chances, their access to education and health care, how their represented, how likely they are to be incarcerated for the same crimes, it fits in with other parts of the system like sex, gender, race, health, and so on and so forth.

Social mobility currently being at it's lowest in decades, it affects pretty much all of a person's life chances down to their lifespan - people literally die because of the class they are perceived to be in and are far more likely to be living in pain (as doctors are more likely to fob off a person if they are perceived to be lower class - because of the perceptions fed from every side about scroungers and drug addicts. I have a gentleman who has had a condition that includes chronic pain for over a decade whose new doctor wanted to 're-adjust' his pain meds - and we found weeks after when he was in agony that he had been given sugar pills).

Look at the media, people in lower classes are not represented as human as people of middle class, not as moral, not as deserving of comfort and to be deserving of the bad things that happen to them. That's part of the class system. It's the concept that perceived wealth is related to a human's value and morality. Like sexism where just being perceived as female will mean I experience things very differently to men even when they can't see the sexism or the extent of the difference.

TheUglyFuckling Sat 14-Sep-13 13:34:06

I agree with that ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

In my day to day life I really don't notice 'class' as such. But realistically that's probably because my close family and friends are pretty much all MC. The parents of my DC's friends are all MC and we live in a MC area.
The majority of my work collegues are also MC.

But once a month I have to go and work in a different area with different collegues who are predominantly WC and then I do very much notice a difference in their conversation, their attitudes and the lives they lead.

Taz1212 Sat 14-Sep-13 13:37:31

TigerFeet, my DH is exactly the same! DS goes to private school and you should see DH when he's dragged along to parent's evenings etc. He feels he doesn't fit in and that everyone is looking down at him. Ignoring the fact that no one really cares what he does for a living, he is in fact a successful professional and should feel at ease. It's absolutely nuts! I keep telling him that they are all just normal friendly people but he seems to think it's this completely different world where he doesn't belong. Drives me batty!

Lilka Sat 14-Sep-13 13:57:16

Spork Well said

It's important to know that class affects people. You can't even begin to tackle social mobility issues etc until you understand the basics of class and how it influences people

Do I obsess about class? No. I know where I fit in and where my children fit in. I don't talk about class a lot, certainly not with my friends irl.

I do think that in recent decades the way we decide who is in a certain class has changed a bit. I was born in 1965. When I was a kid in the 70's, class was much more about family background than it is now (your background still plays a part now but other factors have increased weight when we decide what class we and others are in). There was still a more Victorian way of looking at it than there is now

And to some extent, we still have a Victorian viewpoint. Mostly when it comes to the 'upper class'. Being Upper Class, in most people's minds, is heavily dependent on your family background. Upper Class usually implies inherited wealth, land ownership and titles. A Duke is upper class. Even if he is having to sell off half of his possessions because he's massively in debt.

Society has changed in the last few decades, and with it our views on class have changed a bit, and suddenly we are thinking about education, income, and habits more and more

Either way, if you think class doesn't affect you, then you probably largely mix with people in the same class as you. In my mind, not noticing class is a bit like not noticing white privelage, the way the security man at the shop is only following the black male teenager around etc etc. "oh but it doesn't affect me". Well it does. But not as obviously as it affects that teenager. It does affect you, but you arent conscious of what you have (or don't have).

FreudiansSlipper Sat 14-Sep-13 14:17:42

very true TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy

i am not sure if it is the true mc or those that are not but desperately want to be seen as mc that feel it is so important for other people to know that they are

how many threads have we seen on here calling others chavy for name choice, holiday choice, because their children have their ears pierced, what bag they carry, pram pushed and so on its never ending the sneering on here. Katie Hopkins is at least open with her sneering on here it can be hidden behind a screen

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 14-Sep-13 14:48:26

YABU... the class system is alive & well but it's been updated and not as clear-cut or restricted as maybe it was in the past. Snobbery is rife in the UK and runs far deeper than you think. A particular name, job title, car you drive, accent you speak with, taste in soft-furnishings, dog on the end of the lead, presence or absence of tattoos .... and somebody somewhere will be making a snap judgement on what type of person that makes you. Inverse snobbery such as 'posh' politicians can't possibly know how 'ordinary' people live... that kind of crap is everywhere.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 16:38:48

I think usual has a point - I don't really think you can move class, although you might inch up/down towards a higher or lower class than the one you were born into, depending on how your life pans out. You may well be enthusiastically accepted into a social group that is totally different to one your parents inhabited when you were growing up, but they will alway know deep down that you have not always been one of them, and this works both up and down the class ladder. Accent and dialect (or lack of) is almost always the main indicator that you may not have always been what you appear to be now.

But you children will not necessarily be the same class as you. They will, in all likelihood, be 100% absorbed into the class in which most of their peers inhabit, and end up with the same accents and the same expectations/values.

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 16:44:32

I mean I could win the lottery, buy a mansion etc. Have all the trappings of a MC lifestyle.

It wouldn't make me a different class though.

So I'm not sure how you can move class.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 16:56:09

I don't think you can ever really move classes either- I think we just inherently know someones class from lots of little signs what someones background is. You just become attuned to whether someone is the same as you or not.

Interesting about not being able to move class, I kind of feel like I have (or at least I'm aware some people perceive me differently). I guess that's why I'm aware of it. Had a very MC upbringing but now seen as being very WC, and the way people react is so very different.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 17:07:09

*don't think you can move class tbh.

You are what you are.

Why would you want to be seen as MC?

Do you assume it's better than being WC?*

Now ^ ^ I understand and agree with being working class is nothing to be ashamed of and if people are ashamed then they are aspirational twats imo

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:09:14

I think it is probably easier to pass yourself off as working class than it is to be working class and try to present as middle class.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 17:13:22

I think it is probably easier to pass yourself off as working class than it is to be working class and try to present as middle class

How so ?

as I said it doesn't seem so prevalent in scotland people do not have the same attitude to peoples names their education the house they live in as I have seen on here saying that there is snobbery which could just be seen as the same as the class system as lots of people look down on others regardless of class are just a bit more open about it,

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 17:15:44

saying that I was snubbed recently by a woman I thought i got on well with and trained with as she was with her^middle class^ friends and ignored me I couldnt work out what I did but I just don't think i fitted in that situation and the friends she was with, hmm

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 17:17:33

My sister does a very good job as passing herself off as MC.

She's not though and never will be.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 17:20:07

But does it matter usual? If she is 'passing' as whatever she wants to be or feels she is, then she's doing a pretty good job of it, and I'm sure her friends don't care either way. Why do you care? do you feel she is somehow betraying you by getting 'above her station'?

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:22:11

Because one of the clearest signs of class is speech.Someone middle class can deliberately use incorrect grammar or use local dialect for example, but someone working class can't use what they don't know if that makes sense? There obviously are working class people who use correct grammar but it is how I personally would identify someone's educational background.

I am in Edinburgh and class is alive in kicking there. The differences between the lives of very well off, private school educated and those from a working class background is hugely noticeable.

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 17:25:24

I don't give a toss tbh.

I'm just saying you can pass yourself off as whatever you like.

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 17:27:27

She feels she has to 'fit in' with her circle of friends.

I find it a bit ridiculous tbh.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 17:30:06

Yes Scarlett that makes perfect sense to me. I've heard people say 'I can speak nicely with proper grammar when I want/need to.'

i'm afraid I don't share their faith. grin

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 17:30:48

I don't think anyone's above my station. grin

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 17:32:37

Well we all want to fit in with our friends, don't we? confused In fact if we don't fit in, or we feel constantly a bit uncomfortable and out of place then we don't tend to view those people as real friends at all.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 14-Sep-13 17:34:33

If it is the case that you might not be the same class as your parents, as somebody suggested, then how can you be sure what class you/somebody else is?
What are the boundaries then? What are the determining factors, because I really don't know.
Sometimes it is obvious to me that a particular person went to Public or Private school, their parents may have won the Lottery, and not been born into money.

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 17:35:44

Scarlett, believe me, a middle class person cannot imitate working class dialect just by using poor grammar or throwing the odd dialect word in. Real working class people would either laugh at them or be very offended. A working class local dialect is just as rich, expressive and complicated as middle class speech. You seem to be implying that it is inferior in some way. It's not, it's just different (and has lower social status).

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 17:37:29

No we don't all pretend to be someone we are not to fit in with friends.

My friends don't care much about who has an RP accent and who doesn't.

Real friends wouldn't expect/want someone to pretend to be something they aren't.

Actually on the class thing I'm actually finding it hard to meet people as there tends to be this real divide a lot of the time (one of the reasons I like MN is that it isn't actually so divided), where the MC people tend to assume I have nothing in common with them - based on daft assumptions, and the WC tend to think I'm a snob because I have more MC interests.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:41:36

Green- probably depends where you are. I am from northern Ireland and not all working class areas have an obvious dialect in the way that I have noticed areas in Scotland do. I have a couple of friends from extremely well off, upper middle class back grounds in Belfast, who as teenagers adopted a faux working class persona in a fit of teenage rebellion and now in their late twenties and thirties someone who met them would struggle to identify their middle class background. However, if you knew them well you would know they were imposters.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 17:43:57

I am in Edinburgh and class is alive in kicking there. The differences between the lives of very well off, private school educated and those from a working class background is hugely noticeable.

I suppose you are right maybe I am just oblivious or not that interested in it. I have a nice accent and can speak right grin doesn't make me middle class though ,

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 17:45:26

a Posh Edinburgh/Glasgow accent is different to a normal accent where i live there is a few accents going on and dialect I can slip in and out of both maybe it is me who is the aspirational twat blush

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 14-Sep-13 17:46:05

Tell you what, usual I bet her friends can tell....

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 17:47:58

Yes, Scarlett, a lot of middle and upper class teenagers do this, but they don't fool the genuine working class and precariat, not for a second. In the same way that working class people can't "use what they don't know" in order to sound middle class, the teenagers you are talking about also can't use what they don't know.

Some of the very deprived teenagers I have worked with and lived with in my community feel rather offended by well off teenagers trying to pretend they know what it feels like to be marginalised, jobless, permanently skint, from chaotic backgrounds.

And how would you feel about someone from Surrey speaking in a comically bad Irish accent and pretending to be Irish, just because they thought it was cool?

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:48:53

The very well to do in Edinburgh that I know would struggle to be identified as even Scottish at all, and their children are growing up the same.

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 17:51:40

I don't think her friends would care,it's not like they are any better than her.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:52:17

Green- I can't comment as I am not working class so I don't know if these friends were doing a good imitation- all I know is they tried very hard to shake off their prep school, holiday home and ski holiday filled childhoods, and did surround themselves with friends completely different to this.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 17:54:24

Scrlett maybe the friends were not deprived though not all working class children are from deprived backgrounds with chaotic households not al working class people are deprived or poor or chaotic

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 14-Sep-13 17:55:15

I know, usual, that's what's so sad really.

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 17:56:09

Yes, I can understand that. Most teenagers do rebel against the social conventions they are brought up with - it's all part of becoming an adult and deciding what you think is important.

I don't mean to sound snippy, by the way. It's just that I really am working class, and work with young people far more deprived than me, so I get a bit defensive sometimes.

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 17:56:31

I agree mrsjsy.

WC doesn't automatically mean deprived or poor.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:57:48

No, these friends were not in the least deprived, they just were not middle class. They all came from families where the parents worked and had lots of trendy clothes etc, but were still unmistakeable as working class.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 17:59:38

I think it also is important to remember that there is almost a sub group now that are very different from the traditional working class. Working class doesn't mean poor or deprived.

usualsuspect Sat 14-Sep-13 18:00:59

See I'm WC and get defensive about all WC being portrayed as uneducated, on benefits,deprived etc.

Not all of us are.

Many WC people have well paid jobs,own houses,read books,eat nice food have degrees etc.

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 18:01:30

Working class didn't used to mean deprived or poor. But it sometimes does mean this now. It seems to me that everybody is trying to escape from the working class... somebody up thread said earlier that working class meant being on benefits these days.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 18:03:27

I think the clue is in the word 'working'.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 18:03:35

Exactly Murder. I think usual may be assuming that her sister is trying to put on some sort of an act, out of insecurity or a pathetic attempt to climb the slippery social pole. It may be no such thing - perhaps she just is that person now. We all change between childhood and adulthood. It doesn't change the fact that she grew up with the same class background as usual, but neither does it mean she can't evolve as a person in any way she chooses. It doesn't necessarily have to be about fakery. hmm

My sister could say the same thing about me, but to be honest I've never spoken with the same accent as my sister since we were about 10, nor been drawn to the same sorts or people nor had the same mindset on everything. It doesn't mean I'm pretending around my friends, any more than it means she is pretending around hers - but it is true to say that we have very different types of friends, and always have.

We were brought up in a very typical lower middle class environment, but she has always leaned towards the WC, while I have always leaned towards the MC in the things that we just feel most comfortable with. Neither of us are pretending anything.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 18:03:54

*See I'm WC and get defensive about all WC being portrayed as uneducated, on benefits,deprived etc.

Not all of us are.

Many WC people have well paid jobs,own houses,read books,eat nice food have degrees etc.*

It gets right on my wick it is if we are all on the cider battering our children and running wild , although the people families greenbannas is talking about do exist of course and it is tragic how some people live but we are not all like that ,

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 18:05:40

I have seen in the last 10 years or so the wordsunderclass being used it makes me shudder

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 18:06:59

I think the clue is in the word 'working'.

do middle class people not work then confused

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 18:07:06

Working class used to mean you worked in some kind of industry that made/sourced things nothing more nothing less.

I remember a friend saying something snide about working class people. She shut up when I pointed out she was also working class. As am I. I don't usually discuss class work friends, there are more interesting things to talk about but it annoyed me.

Before WW2 you could tell what class a man belonged to at least, by kind of hat they wore apparently. Britain has been and remains a rather strange place.

TheUglyFuckling Sat 14-Sep-13 18:08:01

agree with Subliminalmessage. You really can't genuinely move social class in just one generation.

Through dint of university and now a professional career my Dh has moved a long way up from his upper working class background. But although his education has made him articulate his faint regional accent remains. he plays golf and squash and goes for a drink with friends who are doctors-solicitors-dentists. But the big societal difference is that his friend's dads were also doctors-solicitors-dentists. Dh's dad was an electrician all his life. So Dh now lives in a world that he didn't grow up in but grew into iyswim?

But our DCs are growing up in this new MC world, and their friends parents are all very MC. so our DCs will have crossed the divide and never think to question it.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 18:08:09

I also have heard the word underclass and agree it is a horrible word. However, this group is in my opinion very different to the tradional working class.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 14-Sep-13 18:08:23

It's not a popular opinion, but there is a class lower than working class. No intention of working, no aspiration, basically Jeremy Kyle types. To want to escape the stigma of being lumped with these as working class by people ignorant if real life is quite understandable in some cases.

Oh yes mrsjay, have been told I can't "even be WC class because [I] don't work, hur hur hur" hmm Fucking idiots.

mrsjay Sat 14-Sep-13 18:09:13

Before WW2 you could tell what class a man belonged to at least, by kind of hat they wore apparently. Britain has been and remains a rather strange place.

It so is , wasn't the class system created as some sort of census ?

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 18:13:08

Yes, the underclass thing is horrible. These are people trapped by circumstances, and even the feckless cider-swilling mother who neglected her children is probably a product of her own neglected childhood.

I live in a neighbourhood where we have more than our fair share of feckless cider-swilling mothers. I wish the media would see them as people instead of animals, and I also wish that middle class folk didn't assume that everyone in my neighborhood lives like that. We don't! This is a strong community where we support each other, . Mostly without judging.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 14-Sep-13 18:13:16


You can't say the underclass are Jeremy Kyle types, that is awful. Wash your mouth out.
The underclass are those that don't work, hence are not working class.
They are individuals and can have as many manners and morals than the other classes. Some attend church and are respectable members of the community. That is just an awful comment.
I hope it is through lack of intelligence, not a serious slur.

Rubybrazilianwax Sat 14-Sep-13 18:14:34

I live in N Ireland and there seems to be less of a definite labelling of classes due to the obvious religious division and also because the schools here are more a mixture of backgrounds. Of course there are well off people and less well off, but there doesn't seem to be the same mindset as to a person being a particular class. Also a large majority of well off people here are only a generation away from what was very poor background. I grew up in a well off home, but would not have known it was such until I was older. We wanted for nothing but were not spoilt and had to do part time work from we were 12 in family business. Both my parents had their own business and were very successful. I consider myself as working class, my attitudes certainly are. But I know in 'English' terms we would not be considered so. We own a number of properties, both have professional jobs, etc.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 14-Sep-13 18:18:40

People who don't work are not necessarily the underclass. It's quite offensive that you think that. I'm quite shocked you'd lump decent people into the underclass, potato. It's the people that have, as I stated, no intention of ever working, as a lifestyle choice, breed feral children indiscrinately, etc. I'm going to be generous and assume you haven't actually visited the real world.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 18:22:18

Ruby- I agree that class isn't as obvious in northern Ireland, however, I don't think poverty is nearly as widespread or as obvious as it is in scotland. There are pockets in NI, but when I grew up there in the nineties, none of my friends were poor or lived in social housing.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 18:27:52

'underclass' is just a term for the people the bottom of society in terms of social and economic capital, people without an income are clearly going to be at the bottom in terms of income.
It's not synonymous with a lack of morals

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 18:30:12


I'm not sure. I find it very interesting, if I'd ever done a history degree that would be what I'd have done my dissertation on (I appreciate it's odd to have "what if" dissertations!), because the class system is fascinating in an awful way.

Apparently social mobility is at an all time low now. Grants this is probably since records began in the early 20th century. I imagine it has been lower still in the more distant past.

The the term underclass is not new (nor is it pleasant) and in the main it appears to be being used with reference to the same group of people as it was historically. Only difference now is these people don't live in slums and the general public doesn't in the main, turn a blind eye to starving children. Look at the slum clearances in London. I saw a map recently which showed which class of people lived where (colour coded) at the turn of the last century. The most wealthy in the next street over from people living in streets with the kind of deprivation modern Britain does not have (thankfully). Slums were only cleared after WW2, finally clearer anyway. We've all heard the stories about the evacuees sent from the cities to the country side not being able to use knives and forks,not toilet trained etc. They came from the slums. People looking after them saw a side of life they didn't even know existed.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 14-Sep-13 18:33:20

Middle class people can be poor as well. If you subscribe to the notion of class, it's a state of mind, attitudes, what you aspire to and so on. It doesn't concern wealth. If a 'working class' person suddenly wins millions on the lottery does that mean that they change social class overnight? What if a 'middle class' person gives up a highly paid career for a low paid job that is far more satisfying?

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 18:35:33

Underclass just makes me think of untermensch.
Which makes me want to weep a little. Mind you, so does a lot of this thread.

I don't want to think of people being classified, it's just crass, outmoded and a bit shit. I think only the embarrassingly aspirational give a shit anyway.

ModernToss Sat 14-Sep-13 18:37:34

Inverse snobbery such as 'posh' politicians can't possibly know how 'ordinary' people live... that kind of crap is everywhere.

But it's not crap. I am just about lower middle class, lots of working class mates, from a fairly rough Lancashire town. Delivering leaflets round the estates there as a holiday job was a complete eye-opener for me. I had no idea people lived with those appalling levels of deprivation.

Are you seriously saying that our Eton-educated, private-income, nanny-raised cabinet would know all about living like that? I would bet everything I own that they don't.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 18:38:04

greenbananas I agree and I also think my DS does this and probably comes across as a bit gauche silly with anyone but his mates when he does it. I dropped him at the airport in the summer for a mass descent on a ghastly infamous resort. He met up with about 20 chums in the queue all behaving like 18 year old boys amongst 100s of others. TBF 20 public school boys stuck out like a sore thumb and God knows what the other 200 thought. Mind you when they got there they teamed up with the marlborough faction, Stowe faction, St Pauls faction, etc --and thought they were street because they come from London.

On that note I went to a nearby shopping centre and what I do love about london is the fact that all the different groups exist rather comfortably side by side. There were: afro carribean's, black africans, antipodeans, south africans, indian asians, chinese asians, white UC, white wC, etc, etc, all co-existing and say excuse me, sorry love, all with a smile and all prepared to exchange a pleasantry in the queues.

And DS deigned to have a coffee with me and like any mum from any part of the world I thought goodness you have grown up and I love you.

TheUglyFuckling Sat 14-Sep-13 18:41:34

and again I agree with Subliminalmassage. If you're from a WC background but go on to university and have a professional career but your siblings don't and stay very much in the world they grew up of course you're going to be on a different path to them through life.

it's nothing to do with fakery, you just start walking down the new path that opens up at your feet. And it's not surprising that if you're on a different path to your siblings that you will see different things and have different experiences and meet different people, yes?

Or are you meant to only make friends with people from the same background as you? are you only allowed to live in the same sort of house as your siblings do.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 18:42:12

Not all of the cabinet is eton educated and some of it live round the corner from me where people of all races, cultures, classes and denominations live cheek by jowl.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 14-Sep-13 18:42:58


I suggest you read an A level Sociology text book, because if you are right then our ed system is teaching our dc incorrectly.
The underclass are those that don't work, yes often by choice but not always.
To suggest that they are typical of the people you describe is awful.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 18:48:05

Modern- lots of people don't live in extreme poverty and it doesn't mean they all don't know it exists.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 14-Sep-13 18:48:45

Actually you used the term underclass. I said a lower class. You chose to judge decent people. May I suggest you read what I wrote. Or is that too much for you?

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 18:49:42

sociological theory doesnt have the last word on class definitions
(although it will tend to have the best thought out and useful
definitionsgrin )
Really it's a bit silly to argue about who is and isnt underclass without first agreeing on what we mean by the term, clearly different people use it to mean different things!

morethanpotatoprints Sat 14-Sep-13 18:52:26


I have studied this briefly in the past, just as an interest.
Weren't the poorest areas marked black on the map?
There are similarities to the underclass of today and if I can remember correctly many were reported as salt of the earth type, with sense of community, and whilst lacked manners were responsible citizens.
I know many of the women had to turn to prostitution to feed their children and many of the menfolk were Hawkers and petty thieves.
This to me is a completely different intent to those on Jeremy Kyle.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 18:53:16

But but, what if you go to Uni but don't go into a profession? What if you earn as you learn and end up as a professional? Like Legal Execs etc?

I think to be absolutely honest all I want for myself, my husband and my children is that we are not wankers. Nor do we mix with people who label and classify. Ugh.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 18:56:14

Hitler used the term untermensch. For the Jews and the Russians.
Not a label I think we should be resurrecting?

morethanpotatoprints Sat 14-Sep-13 18:58:12


Your attitude is typical wc because if you were mc you would be bothered. grin

Just kidding smile
I have no idea what class I am. A mix of uc, wc, and mc, I think.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 18:58:13


Yes that's the map! I've also read an old book on the slums in Portsmouth which was very interesting.

I wasn't agreeing with the "Jeremy Kyle" comment more mentioning there have always been people who have been considered to be the "underclass" due to deprivation etc. Lived hard lives then and I don't doubt some live similarly hard lives in this day and age. Sad all around really.

34DD Sat 14-Sep-13 19:00:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 19:01:08

Yes, I have heard his accent described as mockney.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 19:02:39

Morethan, how very darebyou! I will get my butler to flog you with the ancestral whip grin

To be honest I would rather be wc than mc any day if I belueved in all that shite.

Non wanker will do me grin

morethanpotatoprints Sat 14-Sep-13 19:03:07


Being serious, I had no idea that was a term Hitler used, it really is in the dcs text books. Definitely AQA.
I feel like writing and complaining to the publishers now.
I can also see why others are angry with the term.
If used correctly though without prejudice or malice to describe a class of people, it would be ok. But even here it seems that there is discrepancy in the meaning.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 19:03:35

Yup, Guy Ritchie, Mick Jagger, Lily Allen....they all do it.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 19:05:30

No worries Morethan, untermensch means subhuman, not underclass. I was taking a bit of dramatic licence to prove my point.
Still, it's a slippery slope eh?

burberryqueen Sat 14-Sep-13 19:06:44

Lily Allens mockney accent in her singing voice really grates on me - she went to Bedales ffs....
wheras in a real singing voice like Adele's there is no audible accent at all.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 14-Sep-13 19:08:11


I never thought you were being nasty to underclasses.
Historians are usually pretty fair and don't discriminate. (is that indiscriminate)?
It is such an interesting subject, I am presently reading Workhouses and spotting several of my ancestors. grin. No guessing my class then.

TheUglyFuckling Sat 14-Sep-13 19:32:57

Didn't Mick Jagger go to LSE for fuck's sake?

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 19:39:56

Mick Jagger went to Dartford Grammar School. You'll be waiting for hell to freeze over if you are looking to hear a posh person in Dartford. Even at the grammar school.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 19:40:19

and then LSE I believe, yes.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 19:47:09

But certainly not a boy from the mean east end streets as his put on accent supposed. He was hardly a barrow boy, and this in a time when accent was more telling.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 19:49:51

The very briefest of googles confirms it, Mick Jagger, most mc member of the Rolling Stones, one of first people to actively downgrade his accent, as it were.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 20:08:33

re Lilly Allen & Mick Jagger, if you are trying to sell yourself to a certain 'class' then is obviously pays to act as if you are one of them, that way they will identify with you, see you as something to aspire to and buy your records

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 20:10:53

same goes for fabulously wealthy footballers, if they suddenly started trying to emulate the habits of the ruling classes their audience would feel alienated and no longer willing to pay for the tickets and merchandise etc which funds the astronomical salries

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 20:16:01

What? So wc people can identify with the footballer's Bentleys and mansions can they? Not all of them are massively extravagant.
And only wc people with accents buy popular music?

This. This is exactly why I hate classes and labels and assumptions. It is lazy and dangerous.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 20:24:47

Exactly why Mrs beckham isn't posh. If only her DH would keep his gob shut he might be attractive. Not my cup of tea and she looks as common as he sounds. Jagger had stle in an indy, earthy, clever way. They just don't. IMO any way.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 20:30:45

But married, it doesn't matter what class they are, the Beckhams are both marmite anyway, as people.
Silly voice or no, I would with David and I would love even half of Victoria's ambition and work ethic.

I just don't see people in terms of class. I see people I would want as friends, people I admire, people I wouldn't. ....even if they were on fire.

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 20:31:33

Who in this day and age wants to be posh/uc?

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 20:39:52

And only wc people with accents buy popular music
erm no, it's just a case of...oh ffs I give up

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 14-Sep-13 20:42:26

That's a brilliant analogy. Yes, they are like thick, vile, brown goo - nothing appealing about either of them grin. Can't stand marmite!

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 20:50:09

No Lazy, that is what you were saying, no?
Otherwise why downgrade your accent to appeal to a certain "class"?
Unless you hadn't explained yourself very well?

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 20:58:23


Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 21:01:26

And if you are pretending to be wc, what are people aspiring to be?
A wc popstar/footballer. But still wc. What is the point? If class is so important?
Gawd, you can have gazillions of £££ s like the Beckhams and people still sneer.
I just don't think people care about class like they used to.

FreudiansSlipper Sat 14-Sep-13 21:09:40

It was fashionable to be working class in the 60's. It was the first time in the uk working class people had a voice in the media, tv, films and of course music it was a revolutionary time. Not sure if it started with The Beatles but I guess they were part of it 3 working class young men (and one who was not really) over taking the music industry

If you hear very early interviews with Mick Jagger his accent was quite different

Lizzylou Sat 14-Sep-13 21:18:12

Exactly,being wc was cool, era of the Angry young men, A Taste of Honey etc etc
They were pretending to be from the mean streets to fit in.

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 22:32:09

The era of the angry young men thing is interesting... there is an equivalent thing going on right now, with middle class teenagers acting like they are gangsters and trying to appropriate some of the language, mannerisms and dress code that go with this.

I think it's largely down to the music culture - but can't speak for middle class kids because I don't know many. I do know that the issues of drug dealers on the corner, violence, anger about lack of opportunities etc. are very real to some of the young people who live near me, and that some of them find it odd to say the least that more privileged young people think it is cool to identify with the lyrics in the songs. Maybe to some middle class young people, the lyrics are part of some fantasy world, like living with superheroes or zombies or something, but to some young people round here they are simply gritty reality, and they identify with them because the songwriters have somehow magically articulated their own experience and actually got it published and played on the radio.

Of course, I may not be making sense after too much vino...

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 22:45:57

How can you ^l

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 22:49:25


Married How exactly does Victoria Beckham "look common"? confused

They're both people who have done very well for themselves, spectacularly so actually. Both seem nice enough. She looks like a stylishly dressed woman. Have always felt sorry for VB, she's suffered years if vitriol for no reason I can work out. Strong work ethic, successful, lovely kids. Yeah, what an awful woman she is hmm

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 22:52:50

Hate to say it, but I think Victoria Beckham looks common too. She just has a harsh face.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 22:54:52

So common people have harsh faces? Who is common? Poor people? People you deem to be chavs or nouveau riche?

There are no hard faced posh people?

Why not just say "she looks like she has weak genes" and be done with it? Christ.

Lazysuzanne Sat 14-Sep-13 23:01:00

she has a bit of a weak chin
(not that I'm exactly blessed in the chin deptblush )

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 14-Sep-13 23:02:16

Apologies, reading it back my comment was a bit blunt. I was looking at in the context of class signifiers and agree that VB does often look harsh.

PenguinBear Sat 14-Sep-13 23:06:58

Not sure what area of the country you are in op but everyone seems to be obsessed with class in the south east where we live.
Some of the mums at the school gate are dreadful for deciding which of the new Nursery parents are working class and which are middle class. Happens most septembers and is very bitchy. sad

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 14-Sep-13 23:08:33

Does she have a weak chin? Looks small and pointy to me, no face sloping into neck going on.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sat 14-Sep-13 23:11:13

she looks as common as he sounds

The nastiest thing I have read on this thread. And completely does with the 'class doesn't exist' notion that started the conversation.

mam29 Sat 14-Sep-13 23:13:41

I grew up working class.

dad had white collar job engineer
parents split when i was 9
mum had odd jobs ironing cleaning.
i dont remember being free school meals
but we were skint.

became more pronounced seniors.

the timotie girls mostly teachers daughters did better got more attention from teachers.

I could tell even then that my teachers looked at my parents with disdain,

but was bright new world
nu labour
1999 when worked my arse off and went to uni to try and escape the depressing small town life and expectio(low)that was.

I escaped worked way up. got degree married to someone no degree god income live in afflunet postcode where everyone still seems richer than us mainly because we private rent and dident buy at right time.

so i feel between classes.

yes I sometimes do online shop at waitrose/ocado
order odd thing from boden/joules
but lso shop lidls/adis/farmfoods/
we private rent .

we do what we hae to do to pay bills. keep up appearnaces for kid sake but we by no means rich.

we strugle most months.

studies class at a level sociology really interesting subject.

we nearly as bad as india and caste sytem.
never admit it.

but class divide is never dead far from it.

we just have a new class the underclass.otherwise known as chavs.

ie ook at lilly allen early days so deperate to be seen as chav went to public school.

or pricess kate middleto with ancestors as minors yet her parents love in ,million quid house and all 3 privatly educated so how middle class and normal is she?

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 23:19:19

How did this thread descend into a conversation about Victoria Beckham's chin? ?? It looks alright to me, and I presume David Beckham also thinks it is okay!

Crowler Sat 14-Sep-13 23:24:10

I'm quite fond of Victoria Beckham, but I am super-common so it stands to reason. Marriedinwhiteagain says it's so, so it must be. She's the arbiter.

greenbananas Sat 14-Sep-13 23:34:51

Well married in white is also judging David Beckham on his accent. . I have no problem with his accent, but hugely admire him for being a positive role model, not swearing, spitting or thumping people on the pitch, being a good family man, supporting his wife to have her own career.

I dont think Victoria Beckham would deny that she is a working class girl who now has money, so why are we arguing about it? She might be a bit offended by people who criticise her perfectly normal and fairly attractive chin!

FreudiansSlipper Sat 14-Sep-13 23:46:55

VB parents are wealthy that is why she was called posh

Saffyz Sat 14-Sep-13 23:58:47

It's that old confusion between class and money again. They're not the same thing.

FreudiansSlipper Sun 15-Sep-13 00:01:40

yes we are aware

god forbid someone from a wc bacground would have the cheek to call themselves mc or even worse umc

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 00:24:44

'fairly attractive chin'
Damn her with faint praise why don't you

greenbananas Sun 15-Sep-13 00:37:22

Her superlatively attractive chin grin

I didn't mean to damn her with faint praise. She is stunning really. Not a perfect supermodel type but definitely attractive and stylish and generally beautiful.

Why should Victoria Beckham"s chin come into a debate about class? ???

She has got far more class than anybody who judges class on the basis of facial features.

usualsuspect Sun 15-Sep-13 00:40:20

Why would someone from a WC background want to be MC?

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 00:44:56

better access to money and status..broadly speaking

greenbananas Sun 15-Sep-13 00:51:04

And because working class has been devalued so that it now means benefit scrounger, chav, generally dodgy andinferior person

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 00:54:08

some aspects of working class pride were tied up with traditional masculinity and heavy industry, times have moved on technology and society have shifted and changed

greenbananas Sun 15-Sep-13 00:58:55

Yes, it was more respectable to work in a mine or factory than it is now to work in a supermarket or call centre.

usualsuspect Sun 15-Sep-13 01:28:03

So you think that there is shame in being WC now?

usualsuspect Sun 15-Sep-13 01:29:42

Because most WC people I know don't give a fuck about class.

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 01:38:35

there you go again Usualsuspect blatantly twisting other peoples words...

Laquitar Sun 15-Sep-13 02:49:37

Many degree based jobs have changed too though. For example a teacher with mortgage in london and with childcare is not comfortable. someone who trained to glue fake nails might earn more. And those who sign o. today might have one or two degrees but are unemloyed and on benefit.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 15-Sep-13 07:06:37

Vb is very middle class IMO her dad is a successful business owner, she went to private school, lived in a big house and her dad drove a rolls. I don't understand how she could possibly be wc.

I can't believe I have just outed what a vb fan I am

burberryqueen Sun 15-Sep-13 07:11:02

god is this still going on .....does anyone really care that much?

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 15-Sep-13 07:50:08

Vb grew up with money, that is not the same thing as growing up middle class.

exoticfruits Sun 15-Sep-13 07:51:38

Clearly they do, burberryqueen- and not just on MN.

Crowler Sun 15-Sep-13 07:57:25

I can't believe I have just outed what a vb fan I am


Calling her "common" is just silly.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 15-Sep-13 08:11:12

Agree that the use of the word common is horrible. However, it shows that some people are still conscious of class. I said it down thread without even realising that it would be so offensive. Apologies.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 15-Sep-13 08:15:37

Sorry for banging on about vb but would the posters who call vb wc would you call Kate wc too.

I mean Carole Middleton started out as an air hostess so would you say Kate wasn't mc she just grew up with money

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 15-Sep-13 08:16:56

No, because Kate went to university.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 15-Sep-13 08:26:47

Ah ok so your level of education is what defines your class

Crowler Sun 15-Sep-13 08:28:42

Scarlett, I'm not crazed about VB to the point where I'm offended. smile. But that word does make me wince.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 15-Sep-13 08:32:11

I think education plays a major part in it- there is another thread at the moment on the definitions within middle class. Someone who was middle middle class is highly unlikely to have skipped university to audition and be part of a girl band for example, so a major clue that VB didn't grow up in a truly middle class household.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 15-Sep-13 08:45:45

Being university educated doesn't make you middle class.

Though it may mean your children will be. You are the class you're born into no matter how rich or wealthy you become.

That's why people like Alan Sugar are mocked by some. He may be a Lord now but to some he's still just a bloke from the East End. Not my attitude by it's what some people think.

TheUglyFuckling Sun 15-Sep-13 08:56:05

agree with Alisvolatproplis. A university education doesn't magically change your social status overnight. But it's highly likely to change the social status of your DCs in a few years time.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 15-Sep-13 09:00:58

So do you then think Kate Middleton is working class as she grew up in a home without university educated parents? Did she grow up any differently to how Wayne Rooneys children will grow up?

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 15-Sep-13 09:20:47

The Rooney's aren't mc either. They're just very rich.

Class isn't just education. Going to university doesn't make you mc immediately. Nor does not going.As far as I know Kate Middleton's parents founded and set up a very successful business. Both were flight attendants at some point. Father was mc anyway, mother was not. She would always have had a comfortable background.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 15-Sep-13 09:42:09

Apologies if I offended with the use of a word. But as a comparison between the Middleton's and the beckham's has been drawn let's remember the wedding.

VB had her hair scraped up in a ponytail or bun on the side and David wore his medals on the wrong side - so all that money, all that style and they still got it wrong. The Middleton's OTH were understated style personified and don't seem to go out of their way to encourage the "ooh look at us" elements of privilege in the way that the Becks seem to court it. Doesn't mean the Becks might not be good family people and yes I agree with the poster who said they don't swear, work hard and live decent lives and I'm sorry if I took that away from them because itks very important. Their wealth though just seems a bit too conspicuous.

Not forgetting of course the two Windsor girls who arrived straight from the panto - not sure where that fits in but I felt a bit sorry for them.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 15-Sep-13 09:45:14

I think the Beckhams have changed quite a bit since their admittedly tacky wedding. It was in the 1990's!

grin at "arrived straight from panto" horribly accurate description!

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 15-Sep-13 10:54:49

So as taste bears an implication on class we need another class basically the nouveau riche

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 11:16:13

I seem to think VB had short hair when she got married.

The only "class" obsessed with class are the mc who occupy the most precarious position of being neither wc or uc. The fear stems from the fact that the self designated mc are beset with the fear that they may never match up to being upper class and may in fact simply be wc. This is where the cultural signifier takes on such importance to the mc.

They are self-conscious of their precarious position caught between where they aspire to be and where they fear they may end up.

The economic reality is that if you work for wages you are working class. Should your wages be denied to you because your skills are no longer needed or you are simply two a penny then your greatest fear will be realised. Your cultural signifiers will not pay the heating bill or afford you the luxury of keeping up pretences.

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 11:17:26

nouveau riche is a commonly recognized group Wannabe

Take a look at this article for a recent analysis of the UK social structure

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 11:20:25

if you work for wages you are working class

no thats not economic reality, it's just a particular way of defining what is meant by the term 'working class'

it's a rather outdated definition related to marxist theory and not what most people mean when they say working class.

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 11:25:53

This is why cultural signifiers act as a means of denying the reality. This benefits only one class of people and it isn't the working class. Its only outdated because those that have the social power over mainstream cultural and political messages would have you believe this.

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 11:27:12

Its called cultural hegemony. very basic explanation.

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 11:35:44

Mini, obviously those at the top have the most anyone denying that?

But we dont live in a feudal system where it's just landowners and surfs, people in the middle social strata have better lives than those at the bottom.

But yeah, I guess we are all just cogs in the capitalist machine sad

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 15-Sep-13 11:35:55

My post wasn't meant to refer to the Beckham's wedding; it referred to them at the royal wedding betwwen Kate and William.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 15-Sep-13 11:40:26

Thank God we live in a democracy mini and not a marxist state.

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 11:45:39

marriedinwhiteisback, in which case why not critique VB and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. Put a picture of the two together and then tell me which one has naff taste.

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 11:51:33

marriedinwhiteisback, democracy is a political aspiration under capitalism. Marxist theory would point out that capitalism is not compatible with democracy. You simply show that you know nothing about Marxist theory but hold a philosophical view that is probably not your own but the manifestation of cultural hegemony. benefits no one incl you.

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 11:59:09

quite possibly human nature is not compatible with democracy

Mini you sound like you just swallowed a dictionary whilst studying for level 1 NVQ in economic & political theory grin

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 12:01:45

(stuffing your sentences with long & obscure words just makes you sound pompous & pretentious wink )

ethelb Sun 15-Sep-13 12:02:24

It is odd the way people claim to not believe in the class system. Everytime I open my mouth I am judged in this country according to class prejudice. And some of those assumptions and predjudices may be correctgrin
Accepting we have a class system is not the same as being overly concerned about your friends backgrounds and I think sometimes people confuse the two.

DisappointedHorse Sun 15-Sep-13 12:05:54

I am born and bred working class but have a completely different lifestyle to my parents and my siblings. I am university educated, reasonably high earning, property owning and have a professional job.

In their words, my family now think I'm posh and actually a bit of a social climber which was a real insult growing up. That's not true but we grew up in real poverty always on the verge of eviction and I just decided I wasn't going to live like that and was going to do whatever was necessary.

I have a completely different accent now which just makes it look even more deliberate. I had to make a conscious effort to change it working with US clients as no-one could understand me and it's just stuck. I also live 300 miles away from my family and have done for years.

I don't care about being perceived as middle class and would rather be considered working but cant deny I prefer having this lifestyle.

Its the apparent need to be considered higher class that some people seem to have makes me cringe. The amount of threads I have seen about U and non U language and certain words being unutterable for example is just laughable to me!

It's a complex and interesting subject all right though.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 15-Sep-13 12:08:12

VB had her hair scraped up in a ponytail or bun on the side and David wore his medals on the wrong side - so all that money, all that style and they still got it wrong

This is totally irrelevant crap. The important structural issues at work when we discuss class are a) someone's access to and relationship with capital b) their degree of power in the labour market.

Everything else is window dressing which, unfortunately, people get obsessed with picking over because they think they can be so clever and enjoy pointing out what people have done 'wrong'. A total distraction from the real issues.

The economic reality is that if you work for wages you are working class. Should your wages be denied to you because your skills are no longer needed or you are simply two a penny then your greatest fear will be realised. Your cultural signifiers will not pay the heating bill or afford you the luxury of keeping up pretences.

This is absolutely right. Mini is spot on. And this has nothing to do with being 'incompatible with democracy'. What the hell are you on about?

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 12:11:21

Lazysuzanne confused which words have a used that are too long and obscure? I take the view that it would be contemptible to assume that everyone is dim and illiterate.

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 12:19:23

Mini, your general style is somewhat florid and verbose with rambling and overly complex sentences and sections which have the appearance of having been filched directly from an O level text book.
Or to put it another way you are far from succinct.

Damn you've got me doing it nowgrin

I take the view that it would be contemptible to assume that everyone is dim and illiterate.

^^I rest my case!!

junkfoodaddict Sun 15-Sep-13 12:21:36

I was born into what I perceive 'working class'. Mum 16 when my brother was born, 19 when I came along. She worked in manual jobs such as cleaning, bar tending, shop assistant and my dad work ed in car mechanics, later a bus driver and now he is a taxi driver and my mum a shop assistant. They started family life in rented accommodation then when I was 3 they managed to get a foot on the property ladder. They've owned 2 homes since then but they are still in the same type of work. They were hands on parents - always attending parents evening, school concerts etc and sat with us to do our homework. They instilled a sense of discipline and self worth in us, encouraging us to do better than what they did. I went to university and my brother worked his way up the ranks in the army.
Today I am married with a toddler, both of us are in 'professional jobs' having both been university educated. We own a car each, have a large home compared to many and manage 2 holidays abroad a year as well as a couple of weekends though we rarely dine out or have drinking nights out with friends.
I often get mistaken for 'upper class' because of the size of our home - i was just lucky with the housing market at the time and people often snub me because they assume I am posh and not from their class.
Personally, I don't give a flying monkey what class anyone is. I am friends with people who share the same interests and values as me and I believe that people of every class can do that. I consider myself to have an 'inbred' sense of working class values that was drilled into me as a child and thus respect those who do 'those' types of jobs because without them, we simply couldn't exist in the society we do. Without shop assistants, bus drivers, cleaners etc, etc we'd live in a very isolated, dirty environment with no means of being able to 'trade'. I simply chose my lifestyle because the job I do is the job I was interested in and liked.
I really despise it when people of all classes ignore, degrade, criticise and separate themselves from those of a 'different' class rather than accept them.
The class system has always been within our society and is a necessity to make the world turn and develop. The class system is developing as time goes by and people do migrate between them. We just need to have a more tolerant view and accept people for who they are.

TheUglyFuckling Sun 15-Sep-13 12:23:52

"I take the view that it would be contemptible to assume that everyone is dim and illiterate."

Oh ouch, ouch it's only a matter of time before you're trotting out 'Consequently, it is my hypothesis that' and 'Pertaining to my previous analogy I would like to further add'

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 12:29:03

yes, all those tautologies make one look so working class wink

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 15-Sep-13 12:30:33

I don't think there's anything unclear about the way mini has written, but to be honest, I'd rather see the occasional complex sentence than passive aggressive smiley faces everywhere.

Total distraction from the discussion.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 15-Sep-13 12:31:55

I know this is completely my issue but the thing that bothers me the most about class is how there all these studies and dm articles about how mc educated mothers are better mothers and how my dd won't be a successful as someone who's dm is educated. It just makes me feel like I've failed her already

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 15-Sep-13 12:37:07

It just makes me feel like I've failed her already

That's the whole point of those DM articles. To make to feel bad and wear you down. And to make other people feel smug and buoyed up.

When researchers look systematically at people's educational outcomes and working lives, they do tend to find that children born into middle class families have better outcomes. But this is because of an inequality of wealth and resources. But instead of tackling inequality throughout society, DM writers would rather try and belittle working class people and make them feel that they have failed or done something wrong.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 15-Sep-13 12:39:22

It also shows how pointless it is to move from broad generalisations and apply them to individual people by pigeonholing them.

Anything that suggests that to a working class parent that they aren't as good as parenting as a middle class person is horrible, offensive, patronising crap.

Wannabestepfordwife Sun 15-Sep-13 12:53:35

Thanks heads I always hope the fact that I want to educate myself and encourage dd will have an impact

mizu Sun 15-Sep-13 12:55:17

Emergent services worker on the BBC survey.

I am an English language lecturer and run a department in a college. We live in a very affluent area.

The test seems to think i am not middle class because we rent and don't earn much.

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 13:27:22

Well so far this week it has been insinuated I am up, wc, a teenager, an old hat, an o'level candidate and an academic. What am I? Does it matter? all of it stems from the fact that people will not engage with the argument and prefer resort to personal judgement. Again it matters "what" I am because people have a need to judge.
So if I say my car is 12 years old?
I watch Polo occasionally
I read the FT sometimes
I am a drop out
My children have very strange names
I never shop on the high street
I hate Asda
I have no o'levels grin I'm too young to have sat them.
My speech is more RP than cockney
My mother married a Count
I don't work for wages
I have no modern furniture or prints
I think floors are for walking on and I would be perplexed if you take your shoes off

Does it matter what I am to the extent that what I say can only be judged in light of what class I am? Now who is being pretentious?

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 13:56:06

'Does it matter what I am to the extent that what I say can only be judged in light of what class I am'

is that a tongue twisterconfused

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 15-Sep-13 13:59:02

No, but I bet you can be a pain in the bum mini - that much is clear. Marxism is just another way of installing dictatorship.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 15-Sep-13 14:03:29

Why are you two so determined to derail the conversation with passive aggressive smiley faces, extended scrutiny of mini's sentence structure and blether about dictatorships?

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 14:05:30

Mini, I'd say you belong to the 'class' of people who likes to brag about being clever and classless and free

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 14:09:07

but Mini herself used a smiley face, was she being 'passive aggressive'?

what exactly do you mean by passive aggressive anyway?

and to be frank her sentence structure hints at sophistry

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 15-Sep-13 14:12:50

Yeah, tbf I think her smiley face was being used passive aggressively as well.

It's obvious what I mean, or do you want to split hairs about that too?

Anyway, so what if her "sentence structure hits at sophistry"? She still had valid, interesting things to say about the thread topic.

If you want to spend time doing prat crit on someone's sentence structure, why not start a thread for that.

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 14:34:10

Well I could make the point that sophistry and validity are mutually exclusive, but you're right I should find some other way to amuse myself

HeadsDownThumbsUp Sun 15-Sep-13 14:39:11

A misleading argument doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't some truth, or worth in the points she made, even if you're suspicious of the conclusions.

Anyways, glad you agree.

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 14:48:13

gee whiz.

>We must never use long words or complicated sentences.

>Anyone working class must never claim to know anything because they are stuck on their l1 NVQs (what are they?) they must be thick

>Only the prizes awarded by the institutions of the ruling elite prove how clever we are and must be used to prove our place in the pecking order.

>We are prepared to plunge ourselves into debt servitude to acquire the outward signifiers: education, home ownership, the right clothes, car and holidays.

>We are so obsessed by class that we can only validate what others say if we first know what class they claim to be. This is why we prefer individual stories to theory.

>This obsession with using cultural signifiers obscures the real social relations under capitalism.

>We would like to hold on to these false propositions about class because we are not keen on the truth.

>To admit the truth may mean we have to admit we are not what we like to think we are.

TheUglyFuckling Sun 15-Sep-13 16:28:31

wannastepfordwife it really isn't that you have failed your DC. Any parent who loves and takes care of their child can never fail as a parent.

i think the Daily Fail relies on reserach which shows that it is the mother's educational background which heavily influences the academic success of their child.

Of course you can often get graduate Mums who never bother reading with their children or talking with them. but the chances are that even if that is the case, the child will be daily exposed to more articulate and expressive language and more erudite opinions. If necessary they can competently help their children with their homework even at an advanced level etc.

but typically the educated Mum is not only passing on her genetic advantage of good intelligence, but typically raises her child in a more intellectually stimulating environment. often it's not even deliberate, but the child grows up surrounded by books and decent newspapers and hears educated conversation and a better vocabulary of words.

These are generalisations of course.

SirRaymondClench Sun 15-Sep-13 17:00:24


Let me clear this up for you:

So if I say my car is 12 years old? - tends to be a UC thing
I watch Polo occasionally - more UMC
I read the FT sometimes - UMC
I am a drop out - universal
My children have very strange names - MC
I never shop on the high street - UMC
I hate Asda - universal
I have no o'levels I'm too young to have sat them. - me either not a class thing
My speech is more RP than cockney - MMC
My mother married a Count - is your father the Count?
I don't work for wages - universal
I have no modern furniture or prints - again not a class thing
I think floors are for walking on and I would be perplexed if you take your shoes off - UMC

Incidentally I am a dyed-in-the-wool aristocrat with a title and I work for my money. I am still an aristocrat.

Crowler Sun 15-Sep-13 17:13:05

If you distinguish between Victoria Beckham's & Kate Middleton's upbringing based on their sense of style (and VB's hair was a long, sleek ponytail at the royal wedding - very chic, actually), then that's problematic. I think we're meant to understand that class informs taste, not the other way around.

I think the difference between VB & KM is one crucial decision, which was KM going to Marlborough. This probably had a heavy hand in shaping her understated style & her path to St Andrews. You could argue that was a MC decision (it is), but it's just one decision.

EstelleGetty Sun 15-Sep-13 17:17:30

Class obsession is such a miserable, dull thing.

I don't find it's such a big deal here in Scotland, but you do meet some exceptions. Any time I hear somebody call someone 'common' in RL or on here, I shudder. It just makes the speaker sound like such a dick.

Lizzylou Sun 15-Sep-13 17:32:40

Exactly Estelle, you don't hear it here in Lancashire.
Perhaps it's a regional thing?

MiniTheMinx Sun 15-Sep-13 18:17:25

SirRaymondClench erm, thank you [shakes head]

The reason for my list of cultural attributes is because rather than it being a "hit at sophistry" it is all correct. It paints a picture though not just because of what I have incl but by what I have omitted.

So if I say my car is 12 years old = not through choice but necessity
I watch Polo occasionally = but only because it is free and Wimbledon isn't
I read the FT sometimes = but I always read the Mirror
I am a drop out = but not in everything
My children have very strange names = only because they are not fashionable
I never shop on the high street = I don't like shopping and most of my clothes are s/hand
I hate Asda = because it's owned by Walmart
I have no o'levels I'm too young to have sat them = I have those down rated GCSEs
My speech is more RP than cockney = not because of schooling but my mother hitting me with a fly swat if I dropped an H
My mother married a Count = she divorced him
I don't work for wages = I'm a student
I have no modern furniture or prints = that is just luck and choice
I think floors are for walking on and I would be perplexed if you take your shoes off = but only because I never do the HW, DP does grin

Using cultural signifiers as a way of working out class is using a flawed methodology.

To quote HeadsDownThumbsUp
Class is, in the end, all about people's relationship to capital and degree of power in the labour market But this was ignored and people duly continue to profess their class credentials based on nothing more than their own fanciful aspiration and dogged determinism. This is why Marxism has been replaced with very many other "isms" because those other "isms" prevent people from looking at the structural causation of inequalities.

There are two social classes, one owns the means of production and has access either to their own capital or other capital and they make surplus capital from your labour. The other class lacks either their own or access to capital and must sell their only marketable resource, their labour for wages.

There are two social classes and everything else is just wishful thinking and subterfuge.

SirRaymondClench Sun 15-Sep-13 18:47:40

Mini what a load of bollocks.

That may be your experience but not mine and whereas I am aware there are stereotypes for the different classes - some correct, some not - there are far more than two classes. That is a fact.

You didn't answer my question, was your father the Count or was he your step-father?

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