Friday, 14 August 2015

The Relative Nature of "Social Class"

I appear to be stuck in a strange position when it comes to my social class. I only really discovered this when moving up north for university and being in an environment occupied by thousands of people from all different backgrounds. I'm not particularly well off, but I'm not badly off either. My parents live in a three bedroom, semi-detached house in the suburbs of Birmingham and I went to a fairly mediocre comprehensive school. So we're just quite "normal". 

But at university, it's as if I'm from the ghetto. What I mean is, because there's a large amount of kids from fortunate backgrounds and private, or even boarding schools, my normal status seems to label me as being different, more "street" (cringe!), or just kind of... "common". A university acquaintance could not believe it when I informed them that there are no boarding schools in Birmingham, and another had no qualms in telling me that they think Brum is a "shithole"- despite only visiting one attraction. My Brummie accent turns heads among the mass of Received Pronunciation, and I lasted a feeble two weeks on the Rowing Team... now that was posh! 

But in reality, I'm definitely not from the ghetto. In fact, many Brummies think that my suburb is rather swanky, and tease the occupants for it... so I find myself trapped between these social spheres. Normal northerners have said that I don't have much of an accent, when a week before I was told by a Scot that I have the strongest Brummie accent they've ever heard - how bloody bewildering. 

Ultimately, what these contrasts have taught me is that someone's idea of "posh" (and "common") is very subjective and relative. Fellow Brummies think I'm a bit laa-dee-daa, but my university friends would never put me and posh in the same sentence. There isn't a definition or set image for the concept of posh, and since moving to university, I've seen how people's perceptions of it contradict and contrast a great deal.. and I find it pretty interesting!



  1. I remember our conversation about this! I hate class-ism, I love people who are just open minded about it. Most of the world's successful, rich people have come from humble beginnings where money was not a given. I wish our generation would appreciate that more!

  2. You are such a wonderful writer! it is truly interesting how everyone has different thoughts and opinions, isn't it?
    Jenna Marie |

  3. This is a really interesting post. It's really irritating when people make such quick judgments. I'm also in a strange position as I'm from London so I either get 'London's so dodgy/you must be 'street' OR 'You much be rich/posh'. Though I think I generally experience the opposite of your situation as I went to private school where as not many people in my uni do. It's honestly come to the point where I hate having to mention that I went to private school because of the reactions I get! It's a shame people are still making preconceptions about people based on these factors.

    Loving you blog btw :)

    Amani x