A Status Symbol

What is a ‘status symbol’

A status symbol is an object that is meant to signify its owners high social and economic status. Although which things act as status symbols changes over time, they always involve the main differences between higher and lower classes in society. In capitalist societies, status symbols are most often tied to monetary wealth.

Breaking down the ‘status symbol’

Expensive items like luxury cars and big houses, usually out of reach for lower economic classes, so these items serve as status symbols indicating that their owners can afford their exorbitant prices. Since most utility derived from status symbols due to their high price, the increased price for a status symbol may actually increase demand, not reduce it. Product that illustrates this phenomenon is known as a Veblen good.

Status symbols indicate the values of society and culture. For example, in a capitalist society, money or wealth and things that can be bought with wealth are considered status symbols. Where warriors respect, the scar may represent honor and courage. Among intellectuals, the ability to think intelligently and to be educated is an important symbol of status, regardless of wealth. In academia, extensive publication list and the position of the Professor securely in a prestigious University or research Institute is a sign of high status. Many believe that the earliest foods to be domesticated was a magnificent feast products used for the establishment of the place as a “rich man”.

Clothing as a status symbol

One type of status symbol is the uniform that symbolizes membership in the organization, e.g., military or law enforcement. The uniform as a status symbol may also display additional insignia of rank, specialty, position and other information about the status of the owner in the organization. The state may award orders, medals or badges that can indicate that the user has heroic or official status. In academic circles, colored academic regalia is often worn during the opening ceremonies, indicating academic rank and specialty.

In many cultures around the world, diverse visual markers of marital status are widely used. Coming of age rituals and other rituals may include the provision of and display of the symbols of the new status. Dress code can indicate who needs to wear certain types or styles of clothing, and when and where displays the specific items of clothing. A modern example of this can be seen in the professional world, certain brands ties, suits and shoes provides status to the owner.

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