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My observations on some of the recent GT classism talk

I would consider hijacking someone's thread, but I don't know that my observations really go in line with the specific issues they're pointing to. I sometimes have a hard time looking outside of myself to realize my privelege as a white, 20-something woman with a (what is probably considered lower) middle class upbringing.

There are certainly areas where I am well aware of my privilege, though. For instance, my parents made a huge deal about paying for tuition on my undergraduate degree. If I chose to live outside the home, I was choosing to pay for that myself, but I didn't get bogged down in the student loan trap like so many people. I was extremely fortunate that while I wasn't in the position to be saving money, I was in the position to be not drowning in debt. And when I chose to go back to grad school (which my parents always said they would not pay for), I was able to do so relatively cheaply with a very small loan and savings from having worked two years post undergrad. I was extremely lucky.

So what do I know about classism? Well, I don't know a bunch. I don't know how I contribute. But I have made a conscious effort to be thinking about it.

I didn't grow up poor. I grew up eating mac and cheese for every meal (which I thought at the time was just because my brother and I LOVED us some mac and cheese, not because it was what my parents felt they could afford), but I grew up with plenty of food. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs from my cousins and brother, but I always had stuff to wear that I wanted to wear. I grew up not ever taking any kind of family vacation, but I always had fun things to do during the summer with my mom (a teacher who had off summers and got to entertain my brother and me). I didn't grow up poor.

When I turned 16, I didn't get a new car. I didn't get a nice car. But I got a car. It drove and it got me to school and to my after school activities (which my parents paid for). It wasn't technically "my" car, it was my parent's car, but I drove it and they didn't so at that point it's all semantics. I look back and realize that there were times early on that I did think it sucked that I was so poor that I didn't get a nice car. I didn't think that there were a lot of other people who actually were poor and didn't get any car.

The article on the main page about the new Showtime show kinda made me start thinking about this whole "poor" thing. The author noted that she was "too poor" to have Showtime. Which, quite frankly, I wouldn't have realized before how much bullshit that is. I joke a lot about how "poor" I am, but I'm not. I don't have cable right now. I've said it's because I'm too poor, but honestly, it's because I made the decision that I'd like to buy a house next year and I can watch most of the things I want to watch online or on my phone. My thought was always why pay for cable if I can get it elsewhere and save the money. But what has come out is "I'm too poor for cable." Yeah, I'm not and I won't be saying that again.

I also have thought about being "too poor" for hair cuts. I haven't had my hair cut in nearly 3 years. I know we talk on GT a lot about how expensive it is to get a good hair cut. I get that. But the reason I'm not getting a hair cut isn't because I'm too poor and I need to stop saying that. The reason I'm not getting a hair cut is because I just honestly don't care. I don't need one, I don't want to spend my money on that when I can spend it on something else I would rather have or do. I can afford a hair cut. I choose not to use the money for that. There are a lot of people who truly can't afford a hair cut.

So, I'm trying. I have a ways to go still, but I'm trying. I don't know how to contribute to the conversation on classism, how to make it better. But I'm going to be making a conscious effort to not utter the phrase "I'm too poor to do that" and instead work on using the phrase "I don't want to spend my money on that" because it's a much more accurate statement and doesn't make me feel like an asshole for trying to claim that my money choices (as an individual who has the ability to make a choice regarding my money) are the same as other people's true money problems.

Those are just my thoughts. They may not be worth all that much.


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