Written by Frances Lee, The Smart Show Staff Writer

Today’s topic on The Smart Show was about class and what that word means in todays society.
In a society that glorifies the Kardashians and The Real House of Beverly Hills, what does that say about the consumer?
As we struggle in this awful recession do viewers look at Kim Kardashian’s custom Bently coupe with desire and hope that one day they might drive one too? Or upon Adrienne Maloof’s glass of $1,000 Angel champagne that one day we can bathe in it just to say we did?
As a child my mother always told me to never yawn in public, cross my legs at the ankles, carry my cash in neat folds and keep an impeccably clean household. Neither of these concepts cost anything except keeping a clean home but soap and hot water doesn’t cost much.
I was taught that class begins at conception. From what the mother eats and the music she plays for the baby makes a difference in the world of class. Once the baby is born the method of manners and education plays a huge part in the classy behavior of a child. And into adulthood, the art of conversation and dress tells the world what class one belongs in.

Class seems to be a mindset that cannot be bought, as much as people think it can be.

Case in point, the washed up celebutante Paris Hilton who comes from a family of wealth dating back generations. She comes from a very high class background yet her behavior is nothing less than a street hooker in designer heels. (And her even those are questionable these days.)
I was encouraged to be humble in action and appearance with a wholesome appeal withrole models like Sandra Day O’Conner, Anna Wintour and Dr. Virginia Apgar. These are women that are pioneers in their fields that never sold out and became successful by making their own rules. Yet I am not a daughter of an oil tycoon with a bevy of blue-blooded friends. My rank in the much scrutanized class structure is nowhere near the top, yet does that make me classless?

In my marketing class in college, I learned that there are about 7 different sections in society’s class structure.

  • In the bottom we have the low-lower class (that lives under a bridge and pan-handles for beer and drug money) and the higher-low class (that lives in some sort of residence with little or no income).
  • Above that is the middle class which is sectioned off into three levels:┬áthe lower-middle class, the middle-middle class and the upper-middle class. Each has a varying degree of monetary value and living standard.
  • Than we have the high class that is divided into two sections, the lower-high class (people that are well off, have little to no money problems and lives comfortably but still works hard for a living) and the upper-high class which contains the filthy rich and blue-blooded families. Needless to say, the upper-high class is a whole different discussion for another blog entry.

In this technologically forward culture where appearance and platform is manipulated with photoshop and profuse editing, the idea of class is greatly changed. One can look and sound wealthy, educated and cultured in pictures on a Facebook page and a carefully written bio section.
As a journalist I’ve had the pleasure and honor of meeting people from every part of that structure from the most poverty stricken family to the snottiest brat of a child from a family of consumate wealth. I have concluded that class is a characteristic trait that is learned, taught and bred and is unable to be purchased.

What do you think?