21st Century Class War

It’s funny how kids view the world. Just the other the week one of my daughters classmates decided my daughter was posh because she ate pasta bake for tea. I know it’s kids stuff but I felt uneasy at the thought of my 10 year old being labelled as anything. Coming back to that later I was more annoyed by the fact that kids that live in the same area and therefore come from a relatively similar economic backgrounds are judging already on class.

It did make me think though. I’ve always considered myself working class. I’ve worked from the age of 18, been in continuous employment, worked through both of my pregnancies and returned to work months after they were born. To not work has never been an option. 1. We couldn’t afford the lifestyle we want without my wage every month and 2. I’d be bored at home with only the pot plants and unlimited broadband for company. How anyone could look at us and say were posh really needs to get out and live a bit more!

Is it because we’ve bought our own home? Blimey, who knew that an ex council house in the Black Country worth £85,000 is equivalent to a 15 bedroom mansion in Surrey. Is it because we both go to work? Yep, both of us working in retail earning below the national average wage COMBINED is equivalent to having millions in the bank. But class is defined by so much more than where you live and how much you earn.

I realised the other day I couldn’t get anymore working class than I was by simply looking at my bedside table. I’ve been suffering from a cold, I need to blow my nose at night, I’m too posh for a box of pretty tissues, so what did I have at hand? A toilet roll. A half used toilet roll. A half used smart price toilet roll at that! I did consider a box of tissues but the scrimper in me said toilet roll is the same, you’re wasting your money.

But if some indicators are true then by watching BBC4 documentaries, visiting art galleries and museums, buying Olive Oil and shopping at Marks and Spencer makes you Middle Class. Hey! I do all those things, am I Middle Class then? No and I never will be. We want our kids to do well at school, we encourage extra homework, we want our children to do better than us. But ultimately they have been brought up working class and that will take a long time to fizzle out.

I’m comfortable with being Working Class. I’m not ashamed and I don’t want our kids to feel ashamed of their roots. They might be called a lot of things in their lives but I don’t want them feeling inferior to anyone else because of where they grew up or which university they went to. The trouble is that’s the snobbery one could expect from more affluent people and the snobbery we live with. Now we are getting reverse snobbery. The underclass in society making us superior and therefore a target for mockery. It’s stupid isn’t it? Us working class are stuck in the middle. People who we could consider our allies, people who we could become if a paycheque failed to arrive are laughing at us because we use our knife and fork properly and can tie our own shoelaces and the Middle Class who quite clearly are revolted to even look at us in our George@Asda jeans and a Matalan T shirt.

So to all of you readers out there, does class matter in the 21st century? What are your views on this interesting topic? I would like to hear about what you think makes you the class you are or if you consider you have no class. Thanks in advance, I’m just off now to pour some vinegar down the brown sauce bottle to get the dregs out for a brown sauce sandwich!

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