Increasing trashiness of the poor and working class?

Nov 2014
288
ph
#1
So this is for a North American context only, but is it a fair thing to say that the poor and the lower half of the working class have gotten a lot trashier generally speaking in the way they carry themselves since the 50s? Ok this may be offensive to the liberal people here, but when you look at period photos from the 30s, or from the turn of the century, for lack of a better term, the poor and the working class just generally seems to dress and carry themselves better, compared to the type of people you see in the people of Walmart, even among the lumpenproletariat in the Depression years ,or the early 1900s, or maybe this is just conservative elitism?
 
Mar 2018
600
UK
#2
I'm sure that middle class people in 1950 thought the working class people of 1950 were just as trashy as you think working class people are today.

It can be simple as fashion: something which was every-day wear in 1950 is seen as rather formal now. So when you see pictures of working class people in suits from 1950, you'll think they look dignified. But that doesn't mean they *were* any more dignified than now, just that the meaning attached to clothes changes in time.

That, and selection bias. We have so many more pictures now that the trashiest from now are bound to be trashier than the trashiest from 70 years ago. And our attention is always drawn to the extremes rather than the mean.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,520
#3
So this is for a North American context only, but is it a fair thing to say that the poor and the lower half of the working class have gotten a lot trashier generally speaking in the way they carry themselves since the 50s? Ok this may be offensive to the liberal people here, but when you look at period photos from the 30s, or from the turn of the century, for lack of a better term, the poor and the working class just generally seems to dress and carry themselves better, compared to the type of people you see in the people of Walmart, even among the lumpenproletariat in the Depression years ,or the early 1900s, or maybe this is just conservative elitism?

The deportment and carriage of the wealthy has got much much more trashier, to a much greater extent.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,520
#4
There is also that much of the photgraophy from early in teh century was formal or often with people dressing their best. Even 70 years form now much of the media may depict a better dressed version of scoirty. I woudl think tehre was a bais ion photgehy generlaly towards tehbtter dressed, for a whole bunch of different reasons.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,528
Dispargum
#7
I agree with most of the posts above. Everyone dresses and acts far more casually today than in the past. People used to dress up, as in wearing suits and ties, to travel on planes and trains.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,018
#9
If anything the elite is becoming trashier, relatively speaking.

The poor, the working class, whatever disadvantaged part of the social spectrum, has always tended to be written off by their self-styled "betters".

It's one of the salient feature about rich people: The moralize endlessly, effortlessly, and unthinkingly about pretty much anyone and everyone less well-off than themselves. And they can continue to do this largely because they are insulated from any real effects of this near-unthinking sitting in judgement of less well-off people by virtue of their wealth.

How this used to work, well, somewhere between the lower classes actively deciding to avoid certain kinds of behaviour they knew would be censored, and observing their supposed "betters" failing to live up to their own standards and then working hard to do better than them.

The 19th c. bourgeoisie went for showing up the aristocracy as a bunch of effete, hypocritical wankers – certainly NOT some kind of "natural" aristocracy — while also insisting, fair or not, that the working class should keep themselves as tidy, sober and hard-working as themselves.

Frankly I suspect that precisely this phenomenon of a socially dominant bourgeois "middle class" sticks in this, AND the preassure it has come under in recent years.

You kind of need the dominant middle-class to somehow "shame" both upwards and downwards. At the decline, even demise, of a powerful middle class in society, what seems to appear is a pretty nasty situation where the rich and the poor as social strata more or less decouple from each other. The poor hate the rich, and see no point in behaving in some kind of commonly agreed socially acceptable forms. And neither do the entitled rich, who mostly end up seriously fearful of the Great Unwashed, and take their precautions accordingly.
 
Feb 2011
970
Scotland
#10
I would suggest that the standard of living and level of nutrition for the poor (or 'financially challenged' as we might say now) is far higher than it was in the 50s, let alone the 20s.

Maybe it is simply that instead of having basically one set of clothes for all situations, even lower income people now have a choice of clothing which means the opportunity to follow fashions.

The term 'trashy' seems to me to be used with imputations beyond the purely financial, though it is used for more in the US than on this side of the pond.