Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why "Classy" is Classist...

How often do we hear/use the phrase “show some class?”

Before I identified as a feminist, I never really thought about the meaning of this statement. Dictionary.com defines classy as “of high class, rank, or grade; stylish; admirably smart; elegant.” Personally, I wasn’t aware that people of a lower socioeconomic status, or class if you will, couldn’t be stylish, admirably smart, or elegant.

We attempt to raise awareness of inequalities and the distribution of wealth in a capitalist system. At the same time, we constantly preach about loving who you are and where you come from, yet in the back of our minds we know that there is a default group. A group we consider to be “correct.” So when we tell someone to “show a little class” we are actually telling them to emulate people with more privilege and resources. Because who we are and what we’ve grown up around just aren’t good enough, even for ourselves.

How do we show that we can emulate people of a higher class? Material status symbols like high-end hand bags, luxury cars, over-sized houses, and expensive name-brand clothes. When you buy a coach purse, are you really paying for a better made bag or just that coach label? And yet we wonder why debt is such an issue in this country? The counterfeit market, which very often uses virtual slave labor, is booming because people crave these status symbols. How can we actually expect people to save money? Especially families of a very low socioeconomic status with youth feeling especially pressured to match the class of those around them.

We can certainly teach ourselves and our children to put a priority on respectful behavior and schooling, but we need to be more careful about being content with what we’re able to own. We also need to raise awareness about the poor distribution of wealth. Some people are happy to survive day-to-day. Who are we to say that’s not good enough? Achievement is self-defined and, unfortunately, often limited to the circumstances we were born into.

So think about what you’re really saying the next time you tell someone to “show some class.”

We Need a Fucking Revolution,

~Zaneta

2 comments:

  1. When I tell someone to show some class, its usually because they are digging through the trash for half-eaten popcorn at the movie theater and its embarrassing.
    Im not actually telling them to buy a house or act like a rich white man. Thats fucking ridiculous.

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  2. Classy or trashy has nothing to do with monetary status. This is just another batch of "check your privilege" bullshit all over again.

    Acting classy doesn't mean you need to present yourself with nice things. Kim Kardashian is a poster child for having money and still being trashy. Having class is all about presenting yourself with an air of self esteem and kindness towards others. Believing that you and others around you have worth, and treating everyone accordingly, with respect and dignity. I've seen people in t-shirts and jeans with more class than people in expensive suits.

    This author has completely misunderstood the meaning of classy and taken a SJW stance where it wasn't needed. Take your socialist manifesto to China.

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