"Watching the season premieres of HBO’s Girls and Showtime’s Shameless this past Sunday put the contrast in stark relief. The two main characters, Girls’s Hannah and Shameless’s Fiona, are both penniless twentysomething women finding their way through big cities, but they live in completely different worlds. Hannah’s infamous humiliation is that she relied on her professor parents for rent money for years; Fiona’s deadbeat folks have left her to raise her five siblings alone. Hannah struggles to find a job worthy of her college degree; Fiona juggles several gigs at a time, leaving no time to even finish high school. In other words: Hannah is broke. Fiona is poor. And never the twain shall meet?"I'm happy to see an article explaining the difference between systemic, multi-generational poverty, and the kind of poverty that comes with a safety net and a college degree. Being degreed isn't much of a consolation when both are working side-by-side at McDonalds, but there's a crucial need for clarification when taking about being temporarily "broke." (My biggest issue with the Occupy protests and the "I am the 99%" meme that circulated throughout Tumblr last year.) That being said, I think there's room for an even more nuanced discussion on class.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Broke vs. Poor
Jezebel linked to a great article in The Nation that offered some much needed clarification on being broke versus being poor using too recent examples from television: Girls's Hannah and Fiona from Shameless.