Define Social Status

Kayaking Social

In my adult life I have found it very important to continue to educate myself. My mind is always hungry for more information. Sometimes it’s hungry to learn about gear and safety in my sports, other times I need something different. Lately I have found an entertaining way to feed this thirst of knowledge, by listening to podcasts. My friends and I are good about being sharing our podcasts with each other too. This creates some interesting social conversations at times.

Podcasts make my morning commute entertaining along with getting my mind fired up and working for the day. One of my weekly podcast choices include The Hidden Brain, and this week specifically there was an episode called “Boycotts And Buycotts: How We Use Money To Express Ourselves“. There was a piece of this episode that has really stuck with me this week, they talked about how we show social status in different cultures.


Do you remember in grade school how important the clothes you wore were. How about the backpack and other gear you had was? I remember it all too well. Growing up in a small farm town in western Minnesota, material possessions showed your status and either how well traveled you were and how wealthy your family was. When entering school the first week of the year some of the girls would brag about how far they had to travel to get the cute clothes they had.

I thought this was just a small town stigma. I was given the opportunity to start over my freshman year of high school as my family moved. Now living just outside twin cities metro I opted to change my views and personality on this material social status idea I grew up with. I started putting myself out there and talking to more people.

Throughout high school I started busying myself with different activities like pond hockey. I also was first introduced to snowboarding by my friend Laura. Soon, activities became my life rather than objects. However, I will admit I swooned for a coach purse which I worked hard to purchase by the time I reached college. I’m human, sometimes material objects do hold a status still.


Throughout these young years of growth and shifting my focus from material to experiences I have found myself, now in my later 20’s to be a social butterfly and adventure junkie. I meet a lot of great people through my sports including some of my closest friends and my boyfriend. (Looking for a man? Maybe you should try snowboarding😉)

I’m out and about every weekend with friends on a new adventure, sneaking some family time in here and there of course. I am, breaking away from the social norms of materials and choosing to spend my money on plane tickets or gas to go places. Or am I? That’s where this podcast really got me.


I felt like I was being different, choosing my own path. However in this episode they point out that currently here in America our social status is determined by how busy we are. Each country’s social status is “determined” if you will, differently. An example they mention is Italy where your social status is determined by your family. They mention how in another culture having nice things like a super nice car determines social status.

Maybe here in the United States this message get’s a bit muddled as we are a melting pot of many different cultures but overall, there is one main message. The busier you are, the higher of a social status you have.

Mind blown. Here I thought I was being different, breaking the norm. As I ponder this idea of social status, I really think that I felt so different because I look at the generation ahead of mine. Not all generations are viewing our social status the same way. The generation ahead sees me going out and doing what I want when I want. But they don’t know how I actually live day to day, they just see the wild photos and videos I am sharing.

I think, unconsciously I was following the status quo of those around me. Which, really disappointed me upon this realization. However, we are in a unique time with so many opportunities available. I am still a believer in “you do you”. Whether that means your following the status quo or not. You are living your life the way you want to live it.


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  • Reply
    Megan Cook
    December 4, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    This is really interesting. I’ve noticed moving out to California that people out here really value nice cars and having a nice car is a status symbol because LA people spend so much time driving. In places like NYC where basically nobody drives, they don’t care about cars so much but they show their status more with clothes, handbags, and watches. In the Midwest, maybe it’s more about the size of your home, or if you have a boat or a cabin, or how many snowmobiles you have 😜.

    Social media has switched some of the focus too — now your social status is resting on how much fun it looks like your having, how exciting your adventures look, and how great your Instagram pic is. Instead of spending our money to show our status through things we are spending our money to show our status through travel and experiences.

    We have to remember that these platforms are basically a highlight reel. Everybody posts the good and most people gloss over the bad or leave it out completely. Like you said, you do you! Choose experiences over things because that’s what you want.

    • Reply
      Kaitlyn O'Malley
      December 5, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Interesting about the time driving and wanting to show off the car. Definitly makes sense.

      I totally agree, many use social to show how awesome their life is but you don’t know the troubles someone is going through. I try to remember that when going through the beautiful Instagram profiles I’m obsessed with.

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