Cate Blanchett is being attacked for calling herself ‘middle class’. There are two sides to the story.

Cate Blanchett has an estimated net worth of $140 million which apparently makes her... middle class.

During the Cannes Film Festival that took place last week, Blanchett took part in a United Nations press conference, talking about the work she does with refugee filmmakers and how it has impacted her life. 

Watch: An intimate conversation with Cate Blanchett. Post continues below.

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During this press conference, she made a comment that has generated worldwide headlines. 

“I’m white, I’m privileged, I’m middle class," she said. "I think, you know, one can be accused of having a bit of a white saviour complex, but to be perfectly honest my interaction with the refugees in the field and also in resettled environments has totally changed my perspective on the world.”

A clip of the quote was posted to the Associated Press' TikTok account which has now gone viral, gaining over 273k views. 

@apnews From @AP Entertainment ♬ original sound - The Associated Press

Personally, I thought her response was decent. 

She acknowledged that the work she does can make it appear as if she has a white saviour complex, which is when white people help non-white people for self-serving reasons only. She also acknowledged that the work she’s doing is important when it comes to enacting change, along with changing her own perspectives on the world.

It was the other part of her response that left me and many other people very confused...


Blanchett identifies herself as white, privileged and middle class and it's clear right off the bat that one of those things is not like the others.

Identifying herself as middle class resulted in an onslaught of social commentary with people disputing what she said. Comments on TikTok such as "I love Cate Blanchett, but in what world is she “middle class” or "She’s been in two major franchises and is worth an estimated 90 million [USD]", and "MIDDLE CLASS, Cate Blanchett?", showed that most people believed that this statement was absurd and untrue. 

The Guardian published an opinion piece saying that Cate was correct in labelling herself as middle class, saying that class definitions between the US and Australia are different. 

In the US, class is defined by capital — The amount of money you have negates the class you slot into.  

Whereas in Australia, The Guardian argues that class is defined via societal values that incorporate other factors like education, the area you grew up in, and your upbringing.

This has resulted in the internet (myself included) becoming increasingly confused about what middle class actually is.

It's unfortunate that the "middle class" comment is the one thing from that entire clip that is going viral instead of the reason why Blanchett made the statement in the first place — To urge the film industry to use refugee voices and to tell their stories. 

Even by Australia's apparent definition of class, is Cate Blanchett actually in the middle? Maybe she was at one point in her life, but does she have the right to continue to label herself as such? 

And if she is middle class...then what the hell does that make me?


The commentary around Cate calling herself middle class is now split into two camps. Those who think she makes too much money to classify as middle class and those who believe that her life experiences have allowed her to label herself as such.

Listen to The Spill hosts discuss all the drama from the Cannes Film Festival.

I am embarrassed to admit that until now; I considered myself middle class. I had always assumed that there were a few more steps between me and Cate Blanchett, but apparently not...

After watching the video a few more times, I believe that the middle class statement was a slip of the tongue. 

It’s one of those words that usually gets grouped in with the other words identifying factors she listed in her response. 

I’ve heard the phrase "white, privileged and middle class" many times and I think Cate forgot that she only fits the brief of two of those three things. 

It’s clear that in today’s economy and with the pressure people feel to live in the “right” area or go to the “good” schools, there is no true consensus on where individuals fit within their socio-economic groupings. 

One thing I do know however, is that Cate Blanchet and I are definitely not in the same class. 

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature Image: Getty/Canva.   

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