When I initially started writing this blog I planned to include content covering a variety of topics that interested me from interior design and food to art and movies. As time has gone on, I’ve instead found myself writing predominantly book reviews and sharing with you what I’ve been reading.
But now I’ve decided to concentrate on three areas that I enjoying writing about and discussing; feminism and working-class studies as well as the intersection of class and gender on educational matters.
This has been a strong area of academic interest for me for some time now and whilst I will continue to write the odd film, theatre or restaurant review (I’ll be doing this mainly on my Instagram page) the main focus here, as I mentioned, will be on issues concerning gender, class and education.
Class issues, especially those relating to the working-classes have been neglected by academia and the wider community. The trend in recent years has been a move towards the intersection of race, gender and sexuality with class either left overshadowed or outright ignored. That’s not to say that class issues are somehow more important than those of gender, race, sexuality or disability but rather that a better understanding of issues surrounding class can bring us closer to an appreciation of how class structures can impact our everyday lives and influence our values and behaviours. What I want to try to understand is how social class can effect everything from the schools we attend, the jobs we get, the films that are made and the books that are written and more generally the opportunities we’re afforded in life.
We all desire to see images in our own likeness, to have our experiences acknowledge, to know they matter. To acknowledge that an imbalance does exists means we can then to do something to rectify it. Some might ask what difference it makes if books and films, to single out two examples, are full of white middle-class, heterosexual, able-bodied men? I believe that as human beings we have an inherent need to have individuals we can look-up to, to admire and/or aspire to. I know that was and still is true for me. In order to know that something is possible I look to others like myself, people I can emulate. That’s why pioneers are so important.
But more than that our life experiences and values shape who are and we carry these right through our entire lives. If, for example, you’ve lived a life of priveldge and never wanted for anything, then how can you possibly know what it’s like to stand in line at a food bank, to not be able to afford new school uniform for your children or be one of those kids whose names called out as having free school lunches. You cannot imagine what it’s like to put your name down on a council waiting list wondering if you’ll ever get access to affordable housing or if your benefits will come through to pay the bills that month all the while being demonised and ridiculed. If all you’ve ever had is the best of everything and found yourself surrounded by the same kinds of people, how can you legislate, capture on film, write books or plays about people who haven’t.
For all these reasons and many more I believe that a greater focus and attention should be paid to class in all areas of life because class does matter.