Rookie Mag’s Class Discussion


According to most of the adults in our lives, openly talking about money is the rudest thing a person can possibly do—there’s a good chance we could only embarrass some of our parents more we you burped, farted, and swore in unison while seated at the president’s dinner table…and then asked how much he paid for his car. But we at Rookie don’t buy this “no money, no problems” attitude about what’s OK to talk about. There’s no better way to expand our perspectives than to try to understand what’s going on with other people, and there’s no better path to understanding than straight-up talking it out. Publicly discussing the actual factuals of class privilege isn’t bad manners—it’s a necessity if we want to support and educate one another, which I’m pretty sure we all do!

Rookie Mag published a conversation after our own hearts today. In a roundtable discussion between some of their writers, editors, and illustrators, they talk about everything from how they grew up, class signifiers, food and tv, class shame, and the difference between poor and broke (“less about dollars and numbers and more about resources and access.”).

It is excellent!

I liked this acknowledgment of the disparity between what class others might perceive you to be, or what class you “are” versus what class you feel yourself to be. It’s all so relative:

RACHAEL: I had an inflated idea of my family’s class status when I was growing up (I thought we were upper-middle-class, but we were really lower-middle), because I was surrounded by a lot of people who were poorer than us; and now I think I have a deflated view of my class status (I’m probably technically middle-class, but I feel far below that) because I live in Washington, DC, where there are a lot of rich people, and I’m not one of them. I’m the sole earner in my household right now, and I’m supporting an unemployed sibling, so money is really tight and I feel poorer than I did growing up, even though in reality I have a really good standard of living. I know that everything could come crashing down at any moment, and that’s a fear I’ve never felt before.

Also, this sounds great:

GABBY: MY DREAM IS TO MAKE A TV SHOW/MOVIE FOR TEENS WHERE THEIR OUTFITS CAN’T COST MORE THAN $50 TOTAL

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6 Comments / Post A Comment

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

This is one of the most thoughtful and nuanced discussions about class/race/privilege/money I’ve ever read.

mariajoseh (#405)

That was so hard to read! The part about electricity being turned off and stuff like that… My family lived like upper middle class but we were constantly having services cut off and I always got notices about my school tuition.

Heather F G (#6,074)

This was really, really interesting. I wish Tavi herself had participated in the conversation, too, actually. I’d be very curious to see what she had to say.

garli (#4,150)

I love all of it, but I super love the shout out to Veronica Mars for depicting realistic class division at California high schools. I recently (due to the movie coming up) re-watched the entire series with my husband and while we grew up in different parts of the state we could both totally relate to the super rich students and the totally not rich kids and the resentment that exists.

eemusings (#6,021)

“Now I think I have a deflated view of my class status (I’m probably technically middle-class, but I feel far below that) because I live in Washington, DC, where there are a lot of rich people, and I’m not one of them. I’m the sole earner in my household right now, and I’m supporting an unemployed sibling, so money is really tight and I feel poorer than I did growing up, even though in reality I have a really good standard of living. ”

Different city/country and supporting a husband not sibling, but otherwise THAT IS ME RIGHT NOW.

Going over to Rookie to read this, stat.

Brunhilde (#78)

The part about Pok Pok in New York made me sad because I ate it when it was just a dude bbqing in his driveway in Portland and it was fucking amazing.

But yes, awesome article.

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