I am trying to find a word or a phrase to state that someone is posturing they had an impoverished or lower middle class childhood, even though that was not the case. Especially if they say it to foster communion. I do not want to use the simple word pretend(ing) and fraud(ulent) seems to be too malevolent.

My example is that Taylor Swift alludes that she had an average or less average childhood, in terms of financial status. She actually grew up in a well-to-do life, as her father is a very successful business man and the family owns a Christmas tree farm.

She states in "I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor's Version)" that "I was raised on a farm, no, it wasn't a mansion. Just livin' room dancin' and kitchen table bills." Though these are lyrics to her song, she is implying that this was her upbringing.

Taylor Swift has a very intense and loyal fan base. While they most likely would not even care if she was found to be Satan, pretending to be a commoner only adds to her charm and relatability.

  • A liar comes to mind. Be careful with poor upbringing as it can mean money poor or quality poor.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 18:14
  • A song isn't necessarily autobiographical. Where do you get the idea she is implying anything? Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


Poseur (sometimes spelled poser)

: a person who pretends to be what he or she is not : an affected or insincere person


This word is strongly associated with the punk music scene (which Taylor Swift is not a part of).

David Marsh, in an article in Rock & Rap, speaking of "those first punk kids in London" says, "The terms in which they expressed their disdain for hangers-on and those whose post-hip credentials didn't quite make it came straight out of the authenticity movements: Poseurs was the favorite epithet".


But the word has currency in other scenes, especially non-mainstream ones (or ones that want to be seen as non-mainstream, like country to a certain extent).

Jeffrey Arnett argues that the heavy metal subculture classifies members into two categories: "acceptance as an authentic metalhead or rejection as a fake, a poseur"...

Nancy Kilpatrick's Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined defines "poseur" for the goth scene as: "goth wannabes, usually young kids going through a goth phase who do not hold to goth sensibilities but want to be part of the goth crowd..."

A This Are Music review of white rapper Rob Aston criticizes his "fake-gangsta posturing", calling him "a poseur faux-thug cross-bred with a junk punk"


I haven't found examples of people calling Swift a poseur, but I did find that exact claim being leveled at a Swift-detractor:

Poseur Kid Rock, who throughout his career pretended to be a working-class white boy, was born as Robert James Ritchie in Romeo, Michigan, to father William Ritchie, owner of multiple car dealerships



The term "poor-face" is sometimes used for pretending to be poor, making superficial attempts to understand what it's like to be poor, or claiming to know what it's like to be poor despite being well off.

It is formed by analogy with "blackface" and related terms like "jew-face" where white or privileged people pretend to belong to ethnic minorities.

British poverty campaigner Jack Monroe claimed to have coined the phrase. (The next time you think about doing a bit of working class tourism and dressing up in 'poorface', read this, The Independent, UK, 28 June 2018), to criticise people doing stunts where they pretend to be poor for the day. It is also associated with superficial concern for the poor.

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