Status symbols come normally as a result of events in history and developments in culture as well as other varying socioeconomic factors. Each country and culture is different and as a result you will often see status symbols greatly differing around the world. Other factors such as age, gender and profession have an effect on what people consider being symbols of status. However, in this brief overview, we will be looking at some of the more common or popular status symbols around the world.
Status symbols can very a lot depending on region and social status around Africa. In the wealthier areas of Africa, particularly South Africa, technology and cars tend to be the most prominent status symbols and the ones that everyone vies for. Expensive cars, motorbikes, Blackberries and smart phones are all considered to be status symbols, with flashier brands being the ones that are most desired. The effect of the products you own and their influence on your standing is dependent largely on how much they cost rather than how they might benefit your life.
In areas of economic struggle, where the majority of people cannot afford these types of luxuries, status symbols are very different. In West Africa, in Mauritania, amply sized women are regarded as symbols of high social status for their husbands. Having a plump wife is thought to indicate wealth because a husband must be able to afford enough food to keep her well-fed at her impressive size. This cultural phenomenon, however, has had dangerous effects and there are several charitable societies in Africa fighting to change this tradition.
Because there are such a variety of cultures within Asia, there are many different status symbols to be found. In Malaysia and Thailand, braces are considered to be a fashionable accessory and a symbol of wealth and many teenagers have fake braces attached to their teeth. In China, buying form particular brands is an indication of status and wealth, much like it is in other countries. However, it isn’t just designer clothes and sports cars that they consider to be symbols of status. Starbucks, for example, is considered to be a luxury brand due to the comparatively high prices of their products and the company’s internationality. In addition to this, in recent years status symbols have started to move away from the mainstream and the Chinese wealthy are looking for commodities that are expensive yet uncommon, such as purebred Tibetan Mastiffs, which can sell for $1million per dog.
Elsewhere around Asia, exotic animals are status symbols, particularly exotic cats such as cheetahs and lions. Young millionaires will often take selfies with their expensive pets with as many indications of wealth as possible present in the picture, like speedboats luxury cars and their lavish homes.
While the majority of wealthy western countries still hold to traditional status symbols – like expensive tech, vehicles and properties – another trend has come about in recent years that has seen the upper tiers of society pursuing ‘guilt-free’ pleasures. A healthy lifestyle, for example is a symbol of status and money is often spent on products and services that are environmentally friendly and natural. Many people with expendable income choose to spend it on expensive organic foods, exercise equipment and services that can go towards nurturing one’s physical or spiritual health. None of these, however, come cheap and spending more money on these products and services is seen to indicate your wealth as well as your dedication to health and wellness.
There is another side to this type of western status symbol that the west has in common with Japan and a range of other countries. Productivity is seen as a symbol of status and professionals are considered to be more professional depending on how hard they work. In Japan, falling asleep at your desk is seen as a good thing in some instances as it indicates how hard you have been working and the majority of American CEOs worship a work-centred lifestyle, working as many as 100 hours and more per week. This is typically a result of cultural mind-set and in both Japanese and American culture, being lazy is considered to be a deplorable quality in the working world and it is somewhat expected of professionals to make their job their main priority in life.
Culture is only one of the many things that you need to think about before you relocate and as well as how you might adapt to your new environment. If you need any help getting settled or would like to learn more about your new home, feel free to use our relocation services or get in touch today.