Readers' Submissions

With Regards to Class Tension

  • Written by K-Stop
  • January 15th, 2014
  • 4 min read




A couple of entries recently have made complaints about those who 'denigrate Western women'. So I feel an explanation is in order for the qualms I have expressed for typical Western femme fatales in a few of my prior essays.

Frustration with American women is nothing new of course (though I have much enjoyed the company of British women…they have a lot of poise and make pleasant company in my experience). The Guess Who of course had one of their most popular songs about big city American girls, and the guy's longing for their sweet hometown girls.

But, to clarify, my criticism stems more from an issue of class than one of gender. So while I may seem to 'denigrate' Western women, I also aim the spotlight at consumerist and bourgeoisie culture. Raised impoverished, I have little common ground with people who had much provided for them, such as a stable home, new clothes, a car at legal driving age, a financed education, etc.

Additionally I spent many years homeless, on food stamps, and in dodgy living situations that hindered my ability to make my way in life. And much of this time I stayed sober, so substance abuse can not take the blame for my lack of progress. I was driven, but hit a wall over and over, which proved to me that my station in life stemmed more from economic standing at birth rather than drive, ambition, and work ethic, or lack thereof.

It takes money to make money. People born in to the privileges of secure finances most often have no clue about this. The ones who sing a chorus of 'hard work pays off' rarely had to start from scratch, without the foundation of family support, emotional and monetary. If the reader comes from a middle class background, he or she will simply never understand fully what I assert here, unless they lose it all. Privilege has the effect of blinding those who benefit from it. And I say this as a good looking white male. Sure, I am poor, but I know I have other privileges that can help me escape said poverty.

So I do apologize for any confusion stemming from my recent submission 'Why I May Only Marry A Working Woman'. I have a very different experience of Thailand than most Stickman writers. While there I could only afford to stay in a 90 baht per night guesthouse near Kao Sarn Road. I could not afford a GFE. I was surrounded by drug addicts, the desperate and downtrodden.

So I have a certain respect for working women of all nationalities that I lack for Western women of middle or upper class background, yes. And I venture that this respect and understanding goes beyond what many readers may have when they partake in paid escapades where bargirls attempt to extract as much money as possible from customers. But this understanding also carries over to poor people in general, both men and women. If you have never experienced poverty, you just don't understand. The average Westerner will never have to work as hard as the average Thai to accomplish half as much in life.

Now I also have an advantage as an American that most Thais don't of course, but I also have less of an advantage than the average middle class Briton, Australian, or American etc. So while I can never fully relate to the trials and tribulations a Thai from the vast underclass must undergo, I may have some insight due to my unique life experiences. I have slept in the streets, in shelters, eaten at soup kitchens, and labored for low wages until my body ached.

I enjoy the company of working women at least in part because they know how difficult life can get. In fact I too have sold my body. Only once, but I could have done so more and I have had the opportunities. I have certain privileges, yes, and I have also experienced life in the middle class. I can testify that the contrast of having one foot on each side of the economic tracks really jars the psyche.

Once I had an employer tell me 'you wear your poverty like a badge'. This from someone who drove a Mercedes, ate at fine dining establishments, and had never experienced poverty. Only someone who wears their socioeconomic status like a badge can recognize someone else who does the same.

In hindsight, sure I wish I would have written some of my previous Stickman submissions differently, for clarity. I do appreciate this forum, and value the writing of many contributors, even if they are of different means than I. Lots of well written content here, and wisdom. Happy new year. Maybe 2014 will bring me less of a chip on my shoulder.