Monday, June 1, 2015

Women & Their Place in the Upper Class

I have found our study of the "class system" in the United States to be a very interesting one. It really caught my attention when I started realizing how difficult it is to move from one class to another despite the idea of the "American Dream". I also realized it isn's always the best to be at the top.

One of my good friends recently brought to my attention an opinion piece about the very upper class on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where the median income is $125,362 per year compared to the median for all of New York which is $58,023 per year. "Poor Little Rich Women" by Wednesday Martin follows a number of women around their lives in one of the wealthiest parts of the country and shines a negative light on the high society women for some of the crazy things they do. 

One of the strangest things the article mentioned was what many women on the Upper East Side call a "wife bonus". According to Wednesday Martin it "might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a 'good' school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks”. I am still shocked by this and cannot fully wrap my mind around the fact that it really happens. Is it good because it puts value on work women do in the home or is it negative because it gives the husband complete control over the money the woman has access to?

Just last night I was speaking with an family friend and they said, "For crying out loud, you are so lucky to be white"(Gale). While our conversation had nothing to do with the color of people's skin, this struck me as a weird and perhaps telling comment that relates to class in America. After all, the Upper East Side is more than 75% white. What do you think about skin color and how it helps or hinders class movement?


  1. Rose, I find it so shocking the way this "wife bonus" is described. It is clear that our society is still deeply affected by gender roles, just like we saw in The Great Gatsby with Tom and Myrtle, when he gives her money to buy as many dogs as she wants (Fitzgerald 28).

  2. Rose, Nice job blogging overall this term.This post nicely offers personal observation, a graph, and links to outide sources. I find the article shocking too, but are you really unsure as to whether this might be a good sign that women's work is being valued? Also, the 75% white figure on the UES needs to be put into perspective: we're talking about one of the most diverse cities on the planet, so a rich white enclave is especially dramatic I think.