The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
“Social status” is a psychological term that measures a person’s value to the level of respect, dignity and competence, harmonized to people within a society.
Social status can affect humans significantly without even knowing. A person’s social class may be altered in terms of their lifestyle, life expectancy and finances. It can impact someone’s life mentally and physically. The award-winning film Parasite follows a family in South Korea struggling with poverty, and compares the division of wealth between two very different families: The Parks, who are filthy rich and The Kims, who are very poor. The film highlights economic mobility along with a strong message about classism. Parasite is easily one of my favourite movies as it showcased many internal factors that made each character act the way they did. The film touched upon themes regarding the overlook of high-class neighbours, due to a family’s low social status, and how greediness can cause natural desires for wealth through several psychological theories.
The Parks lived in a cramped, semi-basement and relied on unprotected wifi from their neighbours. In one scene, The Kim family argues with a pizza shop to pay them for the boxes they folded, despite the mistakes they made when assembling. Rather than seeking out to find a new job or reaching out for help, The Kim family thought of a clever plan to take advantage of the rich. These experiences and environmental factors contribute to the absence of motivation for The Kim family. They believed that they were born to be unsuccessful, and thus, never felt the need to aim for a high occupation. Life was boring and repetitive, and for that reason, they were able to come up with a plan to change their life to what they thought was “good.”
When Ki-woo, the son of The Kim family, had a friend who referred him to take over his job as an English tutor for The Park family, he pretended to be a university student. After Ki-woo’s first visit to The Park family residence, he knew he wanted to experience living a luxurious life. He was fabricated with the identity of wealth after observing the beautiful mansion and family. Ki-woo found a way to get his entire family to work under The Parks. In Parasite, the behaviour of The Park family is attributed to internal causes such as luck, among others.
It was by coincidence that The Park family was easily deceived into believing that The Kim family had previous connections before working together. The Kim family never sought to aim for a lawful job, thus, they believed that lying to get the job was a smart idea. Parasite explains how The Kim family arrived at causal inferences and how their behaviour led to consequences. By analyzing these scenes, we can see what situational factors hinder an individual and what attributes to their success.
All in all, Parasite is a provoking film of social inequality and financial equity. It highlights the discrimination and gap between the rich and poor. The abundance of challenges that The Kim family experienced contributed to their absence of motivation and affected the choices they made. The unsavoury body odour was a significant realization that, no matter how hard The Kim family tried to change their appearance and attitude, they would never be comparable to the rich. Social status heavily influenced The Kim’s choices, making them extremely motivated by greed.