COVID-19 is Altering How People Think About Status
Today, the rich and famous look less heroic than scientists and front-line workers
Do you have a freezer? How about a well-stocked bookshelf? What kind of mask and gloves do you have? Do you know how to hack a website to get priority delivery slots? How fast is your internet? The answers to these questions may say a lot about your status during lockdown.
The concept of social status has been around since humans have been around. We live and work within a group context, and status is the way we rank each other in a group. It’s our pecking order. While status in the past may have been indicated by how much land people could farm, or whether or not they had oxen or horses to plow it, or even if they had land at all, status evolves and changes over time. We are in the middle of such a status change right now.
Just a few months ago, people might have awarded the highest status to those people with the most money, or to those who wear the biggest diamonds or drive the most expensive luxury cars. Celebrities and athletes have held high status in society due to their wealth, fitness, beauty, and performances. Industries have sprung up over time to monitor and rate their moves and choices. The media industry has profited from publishing photos and videos of these people—because we like to look at others in the group, and we like to see how we measure up.
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