What follows is a list of various occupations and a few non-occupational traits. They are ranked by how socially preferable they are in the United States (with 1 being the highest). Some animals and inanimate objects are thrown in for comparative purposes.
Though the list may be humorous in some ways, it should seem fairly accurate. Doubtless, you will find a few rankings you disagree with, but that is true of any list.
The "Messiahs, Super Heroes, Wizards" and "Deities" seem to include only fictional beings, but some people really believe that gibberish. I included them just in case. Messiahs, super heroes, and wizards should clearly rank very high due to their incredible powers. Deities rank relatively low. It's obvious that people don't respect deities because even the deities' followers don't obey the deities' alleged directives. Instead, they follow a silly mish mash of "traditions" that serve to help brainwash them.
In more mundane cases, the primary sources of social standing in the United States are:
Military power is key. If someone can kill you, it doesn't matter what social standing you have. When you're being dragged out of your house and employed as slave labor while people are gang raping your wife and children, whatever situation you're in has changed.
However, it is only in groups that soldiers have power. A large group of soldiers can do whatever they like, which is why governments go to a great deal of effort to brainwash their troops. An individual soldier is essentially a rapist/murderer with better weaponry.
The more money you have, the better. Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy your way out of prison. It can buy automobiles, trophy wives, and furniture. Money is representative of power.
Fame serves much the same purpose as money, though not quite as well. To be really high on the list, it is important to have both money and fame. The only alternative methods for reaching the top of the social ladder are developing magical powers, joining an occupying army, and somehow getting elected to a high political office without fame or money.
Sex is just important in American culture as it is in every other culture that has ever existed. Sex is the means by which the species is propagated (though that will probably change in the coming decades), so it's not surprising that alot of energy is spent on it. Sexual behavior is also factored into social standing.
There is a double standard of sorts here. Males improve their social standing by having sex with as many women as possible. Male virgins are lower on the social ladder than sex dolls. Females, on the other hand, are often valued for their virginity. Female virginity is valued primarily because males think of females as property, not as thinking beings.
Most would think that this double standard is beneficial to men and harmful to women. That is the case in Middle East countries where women are gang raped and murdered for having sex and/or forgetting to wrap themselves in curtains while they toil in they desert heat. In the United States, this isn't the case because religion has little effect on the way Americans act.
So, in the United States, females can wantonly prostitute themselves to gain social status as well as money and drugs. Females who publicly have sex as many people as possible can gather a great deal of fame and money. There is some danger in this, but that only affects people who dislike pregnancy, STDs, and/or unwanted sexual contact.
There are three obvious approaches for females: have sex with everyone so that they like you, have sex with only one person to acquire some of his status and money, or have sex with no one to raise your value as a commodity. There is also a fourth approach: have sex with everyone so that they like you but tell everyone that you don't have sex so that you still have a high value as a commodity. This approach works well if you can pull it off, but it's difficult to do. Paris Hilton screwed up this approach; she says that she's only had sex with 2 people, which happens to be the number of people she's been caught having sex with on video tape.
A female who has had sex with only a few people is worth little as a commodity, and she hasn't gathered the benefits of having sex with everyone available. When marketing a female as a sex slave, the number of sexual partners she's had is usually a non-issue. Unfortunately, females can make far more money as a house wife or trophy wife. For both of these occupations, virginity can drastically increase potential earnings, whereas near-virginity is of little value. As such, having sex with only a few people is usually a poor approach for a female.
A male must have sex with as many women as possible. To do otherwise is to invite scorn and practically guarantee a low rung on the social ladder. Males as young as 9 years of age have been mocked for virginity. The absurdity of a 9-year-old having a fulfilling sex life doesn't seem to deter these people.
One possibility for a male is to remain a virgin, but not admit to being one. For some people, this is easy. In my case, people I barely know walk right up to me and ask me if I'm a virgin (or equivalent questions). When this happens, the best thing for a male virgin to do is to lie. Even if you're a rich wizard who works as an astronaut, admitting to be a male virgin will drop you to the lower rungs of the social ladder.
Perceived Value is how useful society as a whole views you to be. This is determined in part by your occupation. Astronauts, factory workers, and prostitutes are examples of useful occupations. Politicians, severely disabled people, and welfare recipients are not.
Additionally, people who don't own cars are perceived as valueless in the United States. Socially speaking, it is better to stop eating than it is to stop driving. People without cars are considered to be non-people because car ownership is one of the major goals of most Americans. Automobiles are not just useful tools; they are gods. The average annual cost of car ownership was $7,967 in 2006 and has presumably gone up since. In some parts of the United States, it's possible to survive on $7,200 per year if you don't own a car. The federal poverty level for one person was $10,787 in 2007.
This all ignores the slow destruction of the planet being brought about in large part by the automotive industry. Impending doom has little effect upon social standing.
Given this data, cars are more valuable than poor people. Poor people must acquire cars to matter socially. This drives up minimum wage, allowing poor people who don't have cars to build wealth. The best honest wealth-building option for poor people who value the status of owning a car is to buy a cheap car once every two years and then immediately crash it without ever obtaining insurance. Though you have to pay the relatively small cost of the car, you can avoid the prohibitive monthly expenses. You do not face as much of a social stigma as you would if you voluntarily chose not own a car. An even better option is to just lie and say that you crashed your car without ever having had one.
The sad fact is that cars serve little use except as a status symbol. They're good for traveling long distances and for moving large objects, but that doesn't justify spending $7,967 a year and contributing to global warming. Just walk to work and get some exercise. Fight the power!
Normality is another factor, though it's a minor one. If you have enough fame, money, or sex, people will ignore your little quirks. And if you're waving a knife in their faces, they won't even think to ask about what you do in your in free time.
There are a few "gross out" abnormalities like being a user of sex dolls. Though these things may place you low on the scale, they only count if you are part the proletariat. As one of the elite members of society, these abnormalities have little effect.
Being from another country fits in this section. English-speaking countries are generally ok, though people in the United States seem to consider Canadians to be inferior for some reason. (Though Conan O'Brien says that Canadians are ugly, the author of this article has something of a fetish for the exotic women of the far away land of Canada.) People who don't speak English are an object of scorn and ridicule. Since the United States is filled with rednecks with brain damage from all the pollution, most people who do jobs requiring higher education come from other countries. Additionally, alot of people who do jobs that no one else wants come from other countries. Some of these people don't speak English well, which annoys all the drunken rednecks.
Sobriety is almost irrelevant. However, if you are so addicted to alcohol or a drug that you can't function, you will drop towards the bottom of the scale. Being any more sober than barely functional is of little or no use socially. Still, it's best to avoid such things because you'll become a corpse sooner.
Trivial Traits are often mentioned when harassing people, but they actually have only a small effect upon social position. For the purposes of this article, "Trivial Traits" describe things that don't affect someone's ability to work but that people don't like. For instance, ugliness would fall into this category except that it isn't particularly important. The main effect of ugliness is that it prevents women from getting certain jobs.
The lowest humans on the social ladder are sex slaves. Though circumstances vary, they are typically the victims of gang rape, kidnapping, and torture. Sex slaves that don't perform well are killed. Other sex slaves can expect to die quickly due to the atrocious conditions they live in. A sex slave can reasonably expect:
On the bright side, sex slaves receive room and board (though it's not conditions most people would consider livable) and don't have to pay taxes. Some sex slaves receive free antibiotics every day to treat the numerous STDs they're sure to have.
Sex slaves that are for personal use only might be luck enough to have slightly better working conditions (after they're initially raped and tortured into submission), but they're still slaves. Sex slaves that are forced into prostitution have it much worse.
In the unlikely event that the authorities capture someone who owns sex slaves, the perpetrator(s) can expect to spend a long time in prison. If they're United States citizens, the sex slaves will be freed. If they're from other countries, the sex slaves will usually be deported.
Due to social stigma, some freed sex slaves won't be able to return to their families. Many will no longer be seen as desirable wives or employees. Some will only be able to work as prostitutes. All will suffer from conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
To help combat sex slavery, do the following:
A google search will reveal more information about sex slavery.
Obviously, it's possible for one person to be at two different rungs of the ladder. For instance, it's possible to be a "Male Virgin" and a "Computer Programmer" at the same time. In general, the lower rung should be considered the person's true position. In some cases, these things don't matter. And some low status rungs can be concealed. For instance, a "Computer Programmer" could keep his social status so long as he doesn't tell anyone that he's a "Male Virgin".
When an occupation isn't on the list, it should be fairly easy to guesstimate it's position by comparing it to the other occupations on the list.
Caution is advisable when using this list. If you use this list to mock people, they might beat you up.
Copyright (C) 2008 Steven Fletcher. All rights reserved.