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To wonder why we are happy to define middle class but not working class?

(121 Posts)
Argos Fri 23-Sep-11 11:47:09

This is continued from another thread but I felt it deserved it's own because it is something I would like to get views on! There was a thread on MN earlier this week along teh lines of what makes someone middle class and posters wrote long lists of their ideas on this.

Why when people define working class in the same way do they recieve lots of hmm 's and patrionising comments?

I am not class obsessed, I just want to know why this is.

StrandedBear Fri 23-Sep-11 11:52:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fanjobanjowanjo Fri 23-Sep-11 11:57:21

Where am I?

I have degree level qualification, a 3 bed house that I have a mortgage on, but have a rubbish paying job and there aren't any better ones about - I feel I "survive" on the money I have.

WibblyBibble Fri 23-Sep-11 11:57:56

What do you call people with several degrees who are in low paid jobs/on benefits and live in small HA houses, then? I need to self-define.

Argos Fri 23-Sep-11 11:58:44

It is very hard to define, I think most people fir somewhere between working/middle with fewer people at teh extremes, but I could be wrong!

fedupofnamechanging Fri 23-Sep-11 12:00:23

Agree with Stranded.

Belonging to a certain class doesn't necessarily mean you have class. I have seen appalling behaviour in terms of parenting and looking down on those who have less money, by people who would define themselves as middle class. I have also seen 'classy' behaviour in people who don't have two pennies to rub together. And of course, it's true the other way around as well.

Jazzicatz Fri 23-Sep-11 12:00:43

Well from a marxist perspective, the working classes are anyone who sells their labour, so to be honest most of us are infact working class!

AKMD Fri 23-Sep-11 12:01:56

I think because there is a lot of confusion about whether 'class' is defined by money or manners and people tend to confuse not having much money with willful ignorance and crime, which is rather nasty. Class is such a mish-mash of money, education, manners, birth... it is hard to have a single definition of who is what. To me, someone can have a lot of money but still not be upper class e.g. Jordan.

Hammy02 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:02:02

I reckon about 70% of people are working class, 29% middle and 1% upper. Not that that defines it but I think far more people think they are middle class than actually are. I have a degree, work but don't really have to as DP earns plenty and live in a house big enough that we have rooms we hardly use but I am no way middle class.

chill1243 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:03:27

Some silly people said "we are all middle class now" which is as daft as it gets

There are no precise descriptions of working class; but the following is a rough idea,

Manual worker, may live in council property, still speaks with their parents workling class accent; does not read broadsheet papers like Guardian or Torygraph....thinks Melvyn Bragg needs to get a hair cut....prefers footie to rugger, never calls the toilet the loo....prefers bog or Lavvy....W.C couples tend not to call their children Peregrine ot Christobel.....and send them to private schools. Working class sex? Men on top in the bedroom; or underneath on the stairs when the partner has got very randy all of a sudden after seeing Clooney in a film.

Seriously there are no precise definitions of working or middle class but it can be fun messing about with definitions. Have fun. And dont let the bar stewards get you down.

beatrixkitto Fri 23-Sep-11 12:04:02

I am confused really as to what I am, I am married with two dc's (1 on the way) We live in a 3 bed detached house in a very middle class area, I am educated to GCSE level, I do have my own business. My DH is a carpenter, we have two cars, One prestige and the other a 'banger' We have enough money for the things we want, cars, holidays, gadgets etc but we do have two 42" tv's and sometimes read the Sun, sometimes DM.

AKMD Fri 23-Sep-11 12:04:06

Also... shock horror, I think the minor royals *cough the Yorks cough*and celebrities that regularly appear in Hello and magazines like that might be rich and famous but don't seem to have much class.

catgirl1976 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:04:19

Class has nothing whatsoever to do with income. If it did, Wayne Rooney would be "upper" class when he is and always will be "working class"

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 23-Sep-11 12:04:44

No-one wants to define working class because no-one these days thinks they are working class. There are 'nobs', 'middle-class' and 'the underclass'.

StrandedBear Fri 23-Sep-11 12:06:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ivykaty44 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:07:39

because there are a lot of people who don't want to admitt they are really working class, they want to be middle class or they think they are middle class.

Who cares if anyone is middle or upper or working class

we are all human class

chill1243 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:07:39

Prem footie players are an ex WC minority and dont prove anything. Except that football finances are bonkers and the fans are being ripped off.

catgirl1976 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:11:23

Well that was just one example chill but class and income are not particularly closely linked. A penniless member of the aristocracy is still upper class, a euro millions winner will stay working class (if they were pre the win). There is mobility between working and middle classes but you are upper class or not - that is an issue of birth. Working and middle class is still not closely tied to income however and is more to do with other factors such as education, beliefs, values - what another poster correctly (IMO) described as culture more than anything else

squidworth Fri 23-Sep-11 12:12:58

I find that for me it seems to depend on postcode, I would class myself and DP working class but due to us both owning houses when we met ( old enough to have bought when still affordable) we now live in a middle class area with excellent schools and although incomes are not huge the fact of no mortgage leaves us with disposable income. So while I still feel working class most would call us middle class and and my children would probably see themselves as middle class when they are older.

bringbacksideburns Fri 23-Sep-11 12:12:59

Why are there so many class related threads on Mumsnet? hmm

What's it all about?
Is there some rule in 2011 that, even more so than in the past, we have to rush to compartmentalise and label everyone?

I'm another one who can't be labelled and doesn't want to be. I have a middle class education and am in a low paid job. When a certain 'professional' colleague found out i had a degree, years ago, she started to talk to me with more respect and wanted to be pally. Is it because she suddenly thought she could share Guardian articles with me because W/C have no brains and don't question anything?? I found her attitude shocking.

I find the constant reference to cleaners and Gardener in a point scoring type of way on here irksome too. (Unless it's a pisstake i'm missing?)
Maybe we could have an 'I'm more Working Class than you' competition? Who wants to go first? grin

fedupofnamechanging Fri 23-Sep-11 12:13:34

I would define myself as working class. I think money means you might buy nicer things but it doesn't alter your roots. If you grew up watching your parents struggle, then that always stays with you and impacts on the parenting of your own children, even though they themselves might not have experienced hardship. Background informs the choices you make.

I think there is something in the idea that people who've always had money, have a sense that they are entitled to it and to a better lifestyle than the working classes on lower wages have.

chill1243 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:13:46

Seriously in seriously opinion research; a very high percentage call themselves working class. Above 40 pc Its a few daft politicians who said we are all middle class now.

In the final analysis, we are all human beings. But income groups of a feather do feel more comfortable with each other. hence classes

JUST NOW....a bloke close to me has farted. He did say SORRY. That makes him upper working class

ilovemydogandMrObama Fri 23-Sep-11 12:19:07

grin chil

I used to live in a very posh area. The working class and the upper class seemed to migrate together and have a laugh. The middle class seemed to go to the near by wine bar hmm grin

AKMD Fri 23-Sep-11 12:22:37

The class system is still reeling from the industrial revolution and the world wars anyway. To give a potted history, in the early 1700s the upper class were the aristocracy and landed gentry, who had all the money. Most people lived in the countryside so it was easy to see who was working class because they were peasants etc. Things had got a bit more muddled by the early 1800s, with super-rich industrialist 'mushrooms' having far more money than most of the traditional upper class but not being accepted into the upper echelons of society due to manners and birth. The aristos slowly realised they could only save their old piles by marrying into the mushroom class, which first mixed money and manners. After the First World War especially, it started to not be so normal for everyone with a house to have servants, which mixed the working class up a bit more. Now it's a bit of a free-for-all, with some people clinging onto the old class system with a bit of everything and some going for a class system where anyone with money can buy into the upper class, aristos mixing with 'celebs' and the working class not exactly sure what they're doing. I'd probably go with a 'criminal class' consisting of the benefit cheats, gang members, drug dealers and the wilfully ignorant, a 'working class' consisting of people living in a council, HA, ex-council or new estate house with a standard education and a low-skilled or junior admin job, a 'middle class' consisting of almost everyone else and an 'upper class' of people with professional jobs bringing in an income of over £100k a year, traditional landed gentry and aristocracy. 'Celebs' will always belong to the class they started off in - witness Wayne Rooney - although subsequent generations are a bit harder to place. Even that isn't perfect!

TLD2 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:24:32

This country is far too hung up on class. It's outdated and shouldn't have any place in a modern, socially mobile society.

Constantly labelling people is negative.

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