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First World Issues

By Pearl Bullivant on October 3, 2013 in Other

Photo: Click tock clack

Photo: Click tock clack

Since the GFC, it has come to my attention that the middle class families of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and North Shore have been struck by a syndrome called First World Issues, where the smallest impediment to one’s charmed life becomes an issue of grave concern.

First World Issues mean that one is never rich enough to buy all that one desires and apparently ‘needs’ (like that LV handbag), and they allow us to be ‘poor’ despite earning over $100k. And if one isn’t experiencing any of these issues, they can create an issue out of things like food, immunisation, breast feeding or schooling, or use the phrase ‘Third World conditions’ to describe our public hospitals or paid maternity leave provisions.

One only has to look at the SMH’s ‘Daily Life’ section for a sample of the First World Issues that impact upon one’s utopian environment of designer clothes, plasma injections and 4WDS.

One of the most self-indulgent articles ever to grace the section debated the issue of ‘gym selfies’, i.e. whether it was appropriate to post iPhone self-portraits taken at the gym on social media in order to gain approval of one’s perfect body. Wow, hard-hitting stuff.

And an article on head lice removal proved to be the prototype for all First World Issues, with the columnist bemoaning paying $200 for an in-salon lice treatment for her daughter, protesting loudly that her pregnant state made it impossible to remove the lice with chemicals. Since when did yuppies, notorious for their anti-immunisation stance, use chemicals, knowing too well that hair conditioner does the job perfectly well?

Weddings also loom large on the list of middle class First World Issues, and Rudd’s refusal to set a date for the election had spring brides in a tizz, his selfishness threatening to spoil their big day. Have you not heard of postal voting, ladies? And when it comes to pregnancy, “visualising pushing unborn bub in a new pram, or even driving kids around in a shiny 4WD, can temporarily help give us a sense of control and reduce some of the anxiety that is typical during potentially stressful life transitions”. And then there is the important issue of whether to take one’s ten year-old to a sex toy party (WTF?), because with your busy schedule it’s the only time you’ll get to spend together.

I have been accused of making light of these middle class First World Issues, and told that instead of mocking I should appreciate that the affluent have a different set of issues to the working class. Those issues may seem trivial but in the context of the middle class existence they should be taken seriously.

So, sweeties, may I use this column to redeem myself and feel your pain. I now understand what a terrible issue parking is for Yummy Mummies and how deplorable it is to walk 100 metres to a café or school, despite the fact that many Africans are forced to walk miles on dirt roads in appalling heat to obtain fresh water. I feel your angst when you are whinging that your boat is inadequate and your husband needs to upgrade to a bigger one with room for a barbecue. I feel the suffering when you are unable to find organic, free range, corn fed eggs in Woolworths even though many people exist on a handful of rice a day. Your child is certainly underprivileged when the only thing of value he possesses is ‘a sh..ty iPod/. And as for the ‘gym selfies’, darling, it’s certainly a pity when you are reduced to being one’s own paparazzi.