[Commentary] ‘Social climbers?’: Fashion’s double standards lay bare social class bias

“We’re not social climbers. We just want to look presentable. Period.”

This statement resonates deeply with many of us who simply want to look and feel our best without any ulterior motives.

In a recent TikTok video shared by @Janessenicole, this shines through as three women are seen wearing chic sunglasses and head-turning outfits, reminiscent of those frequently worn by celebrities and influencers.

Unsurprisingly, being as stunning as they are, people in the background gaze at them as they make their way out of what appears to be a simple and ordinary neighborhood in the country.

@janessenicolewho can relate?♬ original sound – 🎶_INTXRFLY_🎶

Now, while it might seem like just a fun video for some, talking about how dressing up can be seen as something social climbers would do if done by those from the lower classes, it actually raises a critical issue surrounding fashion and social status for many years now.

Why is it that when individuals from less privileged backgrounds choose to dress stylishly, they are often met with skepticism and judgment?

This concern was actually amplified by social media users in the comments with one of them saying, “Bakit kaya pag walang car or private vehicle feeling ng iba bawal ka magsuot ng mga ganto [Why is it that when you don’t have a car or private vehicle, some people feel like it’s not allowed for you to wear these kinds of outfits].”

Instead of just feeling elegant, beautiful, and confident with their glamorous outfits, these women had to point out that they did not intend to look like social climbers in the eyes of the public.

This subtly critiques the double standards in how society judges people based on their appearance and perceived social status. When affluent individuals dress in high-end fashion, they are celebrated for their style and sophistication. However, when those from more humble beginnings make similar fashion choices, they are often labeled as social climbers or accused of “trying too hard.”

Through this TikTok video, the women, may it be intentional or not, bravely confront these stereotypes and challenge viewers to rethink their assumptions about fashion and social mobility. They remind us that fashion should be a source of empowerment and self-expression, free from judgment and societal expectations.

In fact, this lesson has already reached numerous individuals online, with comments reflecting overwhelming support and appreciation for the idea of dressing in a manner that encourages personal comfort and confidence, irrespective of social status.

In essence, it is time for everyone to feel free from unnecessary labels or judgments when wearing what they believe is best. After all, style knows no social boundaries, and everyone deserves to feel confident and empowered in what they wear. Period.

 

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