Skin in the game: idiomatic expression meaning to have money or something of value invested in an opportunity
This morning Iva Dixit told the world she quit her elaborate skincare routine. Roughly four million people heard her declare she’ll no longer be a financial prisoner to her now poreless face.
Apparently she used to have really bad skin but then landed a job at The New York Times and started buying products featuring ingredients like snail slime, sheep grease and human baby foreskin. I wish that last ingredient were a horrible joke. It’s a real thing. You can read all about it here.
We’re a country obsessed with keeping up appearances at all costs but only a handful of us have any efficacious say in the matter. Status is actually a global phenomenon. Iva is from a country where you’re born into opportunity and as such must play the part of your assigned caste, whether you like it or not.
In this brief clip, the Dalits Rights Activist, Beena Pallical talks candidly about the caste system which is sadly alive and well in India today. Dalits is the term used to describe the lowest members of India’s social ladder. The term comes from the Sanskrit word which literally translates to oppressed.
It’s possible Iva is using her platform to make fun of her upper caste mates.
-Iva Dixit, New York Times
According to a mysterious and recent tweet, Iva implies she’s simply playing the part assigned to her, presumably by the same editor who let David Brooks write 800 words about sandwiches. I don’t think his article intended to sound elitist but it’s hard to speak for people who were born without a voice, especially when you haven’t walked a mile in their Payless shoes. Spoiler alert: it hurts. Honestly though, Gucci mules don’t look like comfortable alternatives. What if you have to run home from the subway? The difference: some of us can afford options.
In a parallel and epically historic event, Paris Hilton is about to debut a documentary about Paris Hilton on Youtube in which she’s claiming to be the most “raw” and “authentic” she’s ever been.
“I’ve been judged on a character that I created at the beginning of my career and now I feel like it’s really time that people see who the real Paris is.”–Paris Hilton on Paris Hilton
Ugh, tell me about it. I hated those two decades where I was forced to act like poor white trash. Live in the projects for a few years and poof! Labeled for life.
We’re all forced to wear other people’s assumptions but some of us get to set the record straight…in fantastic vintage Levi’s. Have you ever had to defend yourself in a thrift store flannel only to get peed on hours later as punishment? So ghetto.
Maybe I want to be one of those champagne socialists. You know, someone who cares about problems and stuff but gets to see Europe and eat croissants in an all white hotel bed while staring wistfully at the Eiffel Tower.
If my pores were smaller, could I quit my job and get paid to write about the challenges of navigating class culture as a woman with complex trauma from generational poverty? Over done? Ok. How about the ways in which systemic oppression result in a perpetual cycle of neurobiological infantilization, social slavery, learned helplessness, violence, addiction and early death? *starts scrolling for celebrity gossip* Aww, come on! The data’s pretty exciting stuff. Maybe not as exciting as finding the Holy Grail of injectable lip filers but I’d do my best to keep it relatable and upbeat.
For instance, here’s a funny parody video about the behavior of people who feel helpless and don’t know what else to do about all the problems in the world but have just enough money that we think they should show they care:
Yeah. It sucks. Plus accurate sarcasm is depressing after a while.
Reactivity has replaced personal responsibility because there are too few role models offering proof that the latter makes any kind of valuable difference. Why should we choose a life of mindful compassion and monk-like, moral sacrifice when the people who seem to be having all the fun are rubbing their face with bird poop, tweeting about it and gaining twelve thousand paying followers an hour? Minimum wage is $7.25
No wonder we quit adulting.
This woman seems to have all the power and I’m fascinated. What kind of resources do we need to call those kind of shots in our lives? To forgo the possibility of an Ivy League education for a presumably better opportunity? What could be better than Yale? Iva chose Columbia but we’ll get to that. I’d read to find out the details of how it all went down but have reached my monthly ration of free articles and can’t afford the subscription because I owe $150,000 in student loans. I’ve paid well over $80,000 before, during and after graduation (while hurdling CPTSD, apartment fires and poor relationship choices) but have yet to earn enough to satisfy the best interest (rate) of my government.
As such, I’ve made it a reflexive habit to study the lives of people who appear to have reached the kinds of goals America says are possible for anyone if we just work hard enough.
It appears our skincare journalist may have attended a prestigious boarding school, likely determined, once again, by the social role she was born to play. I’m choosing to applaud her freedom but wondering what it means for the rest of us. While we don’t have an openly acknowledged social ranking order here in the US, we do need an admissions ticket to move on up which seems to come in the form of marriage, sex tapes, a reality show, bribery, concussions or some variation of personal exploitation (aka survival) for financial or status gain. Again, there are a handful of exceptions.
List of people born into poverty who got out without having to sell out:
(*whispers*: What about that sham-wow guy? I think he’s in jail. Oh.)
List of people born into privilege who got out without having to sell out:
- Maybe Megan and Harry?
How much breathing room can we realistically hope to achieve in one lifetime if scratching the surface of every person with true autonomy reveals roots to the aristocracy? Oprah is obviously the exception and we will praise her wondrous and mysterious name.
What if those of us with the least to lose actually have more freedom than we think? STOP! Don’t think too hard. You’ll get wrinkles.