White trash. Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Let’s try. Hillbilly, Redneck, Cracker?
Trash. The others don’t quite work. This is the name for the discarded, or for those who simply got passed on by. It’s a mean slur but a slur that our society doesn’t seem to mind and in fact perpetuates as a running joke.
And I’m not immune because when I think of white trash I think NRA. Rick Santorum. Pleather Coaches. Methamphetamine. I think of awkward encounters in rest stops and confederate flags. So I am trying to understand why the idea of ‘white trash’ fascinates the fashion world, and more importantly why it is a legitimate source of inspiration.
White trash fashion is essentially the glamorization of poverty, where trailers suddenly become home to La Vie Boheme, a life of smoking cigarettes on plastic patio furniture in a tube top and push up bra. The girls are blonde, skinny, with big boobs and a look like they just got felt up. And they always always look like they got stuck in the 80s.
The truth of it is, most girls don’t look so good in tube tops, that push up bra isn’t doing nearly enough, and the cigarette she’s smoking is starting to look more sad more than sexy. But by making white trash look good we can brush over what it means to be poor. Because being poor in America, no matter what color you are, now that ain’t sexy. And maybe we need to start to think about what that actually means.
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