The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

Stop Pretending You’re Poor; It’s Not Relatable

Art by: Natalie Waggoner

From the dawn of capitalism, there has always been a clear line separating the rich from the poor, serving as a reminder of the differences between classes. One has access to healthcare, education, comfort, high-quality food, fine clothing and many other luxuries, while the other simply does not. Therefore, if the rich live in a privileged reality, why would the common rules of society apply to them? In this pursuit of exceptionalism, rich people have made many efforts to prove they are not doing what everybody else is. However, that might not be the most advantageous idea in the social media era, where being relatable is essential.


For some, being rich might mean living in a mansion, spending weekends playing tennis at the country club or traveling to Europe for every vacation. However, trends followed by the super-rich have shown that these privileges are a bit overdone and unrelatable to their audiences.


A recent example from this year is the viral clip from the D’Amelio sisters “working” at Walmart to promote their new popcorn brand. In the video, they smile and laugh while pretending to ring up bags of their product at the cash register. They are so out of touch with reality that they don’t realize this reenactment doesn’t land as a joke for everybody else. It comes across as a mockery of working-class jobs and of the very real struggle of working 12-hour shifts to earn low salaries and barely afford to live.


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Another example is a throwback to the pandemic when rich celebrities would appear on social media saying, “We are all in this together,” or “We are in the same boat.” If we were really to make an analogy out of this, it would be correct to say we were all in the same ocean, but while some were navigating cruise ships and yachts, others were almost drowning in row boats. Therefore, when rich people try to seem relatable, they are only insensitive and socially unconscious of their privileges.



This Insensitivity is not limited to individuals but is also represented through brands. Take Balenciaga’s controversial move: selling ‘destroyed’ sneakers for  $1,850. The audacity is not just in the price tag, but in the message it sends. By glorifying pre-worn, ‘destroyed’ footwear with a crazy price tag and the Balenciaga name, the brand transforms the real struggles of those living in poverty into a fashion statement. This act not only laughs at the harsh realities faced by many but also exposes a complete disconnection between the brand and the genuine experiences of those who can’t afford to buy better shoes. 


Urban Outfitters also sparked outrage when describing their customers as “upscale homeless persons” back in 2018. This labeling reeks of insensitivity and exposes how unaware the brand is about the seriousness of homelessness to reduce a painful reality to an unserious statement for marketing and comical purposes. 


The disdain and sarcastic approach of these brands towards the struggles of the working class, and homeless people, try to make poverty a fashion statement, but the only thing they state is that they are so out of touch they don’t realize how disrespectful and dumb they look.


What celebrities try to do when reenacting financial struggles is to create a connection with the average working-class viewers by saying they also struggle, and that their life is just as hard.  When confronted about the moments when they were being rich and not trying to seem relatable, they will probably advocate for meritocracy. However, the truth is, that no one really cares. What working-class people really care about is not being disrespected and mocked by desensitized rich individuals who should work on their awareness and be grateful for what they have.


Choosing to work is not the same as being forced to, the same way that choosing to wear destroyed sneakers is not the same as being forced to. Rich people should stop pretending to be poor. Aside from being ethically wrong, it is ridiculous, out of touch, and, honestly, embarrassing.


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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine. 

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