Middle class taste

In Grayson Perry’s documentary about modern taste he depicts two different sides of middle citizens, one being more cultural in the way they live and they way in which they come across in society and the less cultural citizens who base their opinions of being middle class upon materialistic things like cars and the size of their homes. This didn’t surprise me as it is known to many that class is always portrayed by the clothes, cars and home you live in, though I must admit I was taken aback upon the fact that these people also believe that they are identified as middle class citizens by the food that they eat. It seems that in their opinion Jamie Oliver’s food also represents their class taste which perhaps in my opinion conveys the idea that certain food and diets can separate them from lower class taste in a big way. Moreover the more cultural middle class citizens also assert this fact with one person describing lower class people who eat cheap food as fat individuals who ‘sit watching day time TV whilst eating sweet things’. In some ways I believe they may have a point however it is quite amusing to see what extremes middle class people go to in order to separate themselves from lower class standards.

Furthermore the term ‘new money’ and ‘old money’ came to light during Grayson Perry’s journey in middle class taste. The term new money were for the middle class people who purely base their wealth on income as they did not want to give off any impression that they were once classed as lower class citizens which may answer the question to why they come across as though they are showing off their wealth . On the other hand middle class people who are from ‘old money’ are identified by their mannerisms, their way of speaking, clothes and children’s names, do less of the showing off, as to them being middle class is about tradition. This may be from their previous generations or even come down to the way their homes are designed which is more out dated from what I see in Perry’s documentary. The clear divide between the two types of middle classes continues to be shown as the cultural side display more knowledge or more so referring to Perry’s term Capital Culture

This is evident by the cultural displays in addition to the mature maroon and brown colours and shades with old fashioned furniture shown around one elderly couple’s home, it was almost as though Perry was walking into a museum of ornaments passed down from generations. Hence perhaps why they have confidence with their wealth, as unlike the modern middle class society these people know their place in society as they have been born in to wealth but the modern citizens haven’t therefore the way I see it, although they have confidence they give off the impression that they do not quite know where their place is in today’s society because they base their lives on their aspirations.

In conclusion I believe I have learnt a whole new era of what it is like to be a middle class citizen, the competitive streak the modern class have when it comes to showing how wealthy they are and how one class can have people who portray so many ways of what they believe to be a life of a middle class citizen.

 

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‘Chavs’ vs Taste

This week we focused on how ‘taste’ has become such an importance in the way  our society produces social identity. We particularly focused on how ‘Chavs’ are portrayed through the eye of those who are seen to be more superior in our society than most. The upper class and the media. It is apparent to everyone that ‘Chavs’  are poorly represented as the figure of poor white people, being described as; ‘pasty-faced, ‘lard- gutted slappers’ and ‘working class drunks’ (James Delingpole 2006, p.25). ‘Chavs’ have even been marginalised to the extent of being labelled as the modern folk devils, a bad influence on society. The stereotypical identification of ‘Chavs’ include; baggy tracksuits, baseball caps and cheap gold hoops and rings’ and as a result of this stereotype many places like shops do not allow people who wear some of these items inside the shop, as they associate crime and fighting with people who wear these attires. In my opinion I feel this is unfair as ‘Chavs’ are not the only people who make trouble in our society, for example as a student I see many youngster making a nu-sense after a drunken night in a club and these people are far from ‘Chavs’ so how is it fair to discriminate these people because of their choice of clothing?
  Through the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s study I learnt the concept of ‘Habitus’, which explains how taste is learnt through our social experience and activities that differentiate people by their lifestyles and in the ‘Chavs’ case it seems that their lack of legitimate cultural capital emerge through their negative impact in the media and among other classes. Among various negative representation from the media and low opinions of these lower class people from the middle and upper class, the character Vicky Pollard portrayed by Matt Lucas embodies accuartly how people define the low working class citizens. She also introduces the term ‘Chav mum’, young working class mothers who choose to get pregnant as a career (James Dellingpole). Saying this, these facts intrigue me because to me, these bitter opinions sound like they come from higher class citizens particularly women who are aggravated by the fact these ”Chav mums” seem to conceive much easier than them as they see that focusing on their careers comes before making that ‘perfect family’ as they are financially stable enough to do so, however when they see these ‘Chavs’ gallivanting around with prams which have different mixed faced babies I am not surprised it does not bode well with them as that is not what a conventional family is suppose to look like to them. I also believe that middle and upper class British citizens are increasingly infuriated by how these lower class people seem to represent Britain; Britain’s teenage girls have become a generation of rowdy Vicky Pollards who binge drink, take drugs and have under-age sex (Imogen Tyler 2006 p. 29) and with Britain having the highest percentage of teenage pregnancy in Europe perhaps it may not be such a surprise that people have such a low opinion of these citizens, however saying this I do not agree with the way ‘Chavs’ are treated in today’s society as they are marginalised and alienated because of the class they have been born into, as though it is a choice for them.