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AIBU to not understand British class angst?

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

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

Spero Sat 02-Feb-13 19:27:54

Every place I have ever lived in - USA, Australia, France and UK - had cleat groups of people looking up or down at other people, judging each other on their clothes, educational attainments, what their grandparents did etc, etc, etc. I really don't understand why you single out this country. Sadly it seems to be a universal human need to organise societies in this way.

FlickSticks Sat 02-Feb-13 19:24:31

I mean domestic life

MorrisZapp Sat 02-Feb-13 19:23:44

Which bits of their culture have they left behind? Are we talking about culture as in books, music, art etc or culture as in way of domestic life?

I'm MC and unchuffed at the hint my life is devoid of culture when in fact, it's very rich.

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

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

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

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

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

WidowWadman - Absolutely, but then I am MC wink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn't generalising about MC people being class angsty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lol yeah all working classes get pissed on haven holidays grin

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

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

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

Class thread excellent.

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

Another class thread. Oh good. hmm

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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

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

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


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

Where do you call home, WidowWadman?

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

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

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

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

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

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