Etiquette refers to the customary code of polite behavior in society. Many people believe that etiquette is a way to show respect and consideration for others. However, there is a growing concern that etiquette is classist, meaning it is only accessible to certain social classes. This is because etiquette classes and training are often expensive and therefore, not accessible to people from lower-income backgrounds. In this discussion, we will explore whether etiquette is classist and the implications of this for society.
Understanding the Basics of Etiquette
Before we answer the question of whether etiquette is classist, let’s begin by understanding what etiquette means. Etiquette refers to the set of rules or conventions that dictate the way people should behave in social situations. These rules may vary depending on the culture, occasion, and social status of the people involved.
Etiquette covers a wide range of behaviors, including table manners, dress codes, greetings, and forms of address. Etiquette is often associated with good manners, politeness, and respect for others.
The Origins of Etiquette
Etiquette has been around for centuries, and its origins can be traced back to the courtly traditions of medieval Europe. In those times, etiquette was primarily concerned with the behaviors of the aristocracy and the nobility.
Over time, etiquette evolved and became more widespread, encompassing the behaviors of all members of society. Today, etiquette is taught in schools, and there are many books and courses that teach people how to behave in different social situations.
The Relationship between Etiquette and Social Status
One of the issues that people often raise when discussing etiquette is the relationship between etiquette and social status. Some argue that etiquette is inherently classist because it is based on the behaviors of the upper classes.
For example, table manners such as using the correct utensils or knowing which glass to use for which drink are often associated with fine dining and formal occasions. These occasions are typically attended by people of higher social status who have been taught these rules from a young age.
However, others argue that etiquette is not inherently classist because it is a set of guidelines that everyone can learn and follow. They argue that etiquette exists to make social situations more comfortable and to promote respect for others.
Key Takeaway: Etiquette is a set of guidelines that everyone can learn and follow, and while it may have originated from the behaviors of the aristocracy, it has now become more widespread and taught in schools. Etiquette remains an important part of modern society as it can be a way of showing respect for other cultures and can be used to create a level playing field in social situations. However, etiquette has its limits and cannot solve all social problems or change the underlying social structures that create inequality.