How did ‘trailers‘ or mobile homes become associated with failure? Why did it happen and what can we do to remedy the stereotype? These are all questions I’ve wondered and written about here on MMHL. I find the entire subject fascinating.
I found ‘Immobile Dreams; How did the Trailer come to be a Symbol of Failure?” on Oregon Humanities website. This wonderful article was written by Rebecca Hartman. It was originally published in their magazine Encore, Oregon Humanities magazine and is a great read about the trailer trash stereotype and is extremely well written.
How did trailers come to be a symbol of failure?
Historically, class and social status in the United States have been linked to the acquisition of wealth rather than family lineage. As a result, class mobility—both upward and downward—has been a common experience for many Americans. Individuals may even experience changes in class status within their lifetimes. Partly as a result of this economic mobility, and partly because we tend, as a nation, to sidestep class as a category of social analysis, we rely very heavily upon cultural markers, such as trailers, to ascertain class instead. This means that class becomes more about consumer tastes than economic interests, so that what separated my family from trailer dwellers wasn’t necessarily income, but rather taste.