The answer is NO.
The “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”
this bullshit fills me with a very specific kind of rage. so, TIME TO DEBUNK!
- that meal from mcdonalds takes virtually no time to acquire AND is available almost anywhere.
- the second meal? that “salad” is lettuce … with nothing else, not even dressing unless its just olive oil or some milk i guess? gross.
- also thats the price of each serving, not an entire loaf of bread, a bottle of olive oil, etc. that stuff adds up which means you have to have a lot of money at one time to buy it all.
- that meal probably took an hour and a half to make, which is a long fucking time when you work multiple jobs or are caring for a lot of people or dont have help! seriously, if you are a single parent of three who works, is spending an hour and a half every night preparing a meal a likely option?
- same with beans and rice! also, you know whats a fucking bummer? eating beans and rice every night because you are poor. ask any person who has done it and they will tell you (you can start with me).
- there is a “nutrition” argument here that lacks a follow up: poor people are more likely to be doing physical labor and need more than 571 calories per meal.
- you know who is less likely to know how to bake or prepare a chicken? people without access to the internet, or libraries, or who werent taught how to by their parents because their parents worked all the time. access to healthy foods is a classist issue and classism is cyclical, you fucking morons.
- seriously, these sorts of infographics make me want to fucking flip tables. do you know why people don’t eat more fresh fruits and vegetables? because fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, because they take a long time to prepare, because they dont live near a grocery store that has a decent produce section, because they dont have reliable transportation to get groceries to and from the grocery store, because they dont have the energy to plan all of the shit that is involved in making healthy, intentional, filling, balanced meals. basically: poor people get fucked, and then we get BLAMED for being lazy.
- eating “healthy”, aka access to fresh fruits and vegetables, is a privilege, first, foremost, always. so fuck you new york times and your ignorant goddamn infographic.
- there are SYSTEMATIC REASONS that we do not have equal access to fresh fruits and vegetables. they are very REAL problems. besides, you know, systematic poverty in america, the total mis-distribution of farm subsidies is a perfect place to start. read about that, then either get bent or start working on the actual problem.
I hate this argument.
It’s some privileged bullshit.
It reminds me of that refrigerator argument.
When I was in year twelve, living alone, I was poor. Poor as fuck.
I used to buy takeaway after school because buying all the ingredients for a meal for one person was either too expensive or a waste - I also couldn’t cook. I stopped buying bread because I couldn’t get through a loaf before it went moldy. My freezer was the size of a shoebox - so I couldn’t keep things for very long. I didn’t have an oven. Do you know how hard it is to cook without an oven? When I did cook I had stirfry or pasta..for nearly two years this was all I could make myself. I’m vegetarian, so at least I didn’t have to buy meat. I only ever ate one meal a day. Marxisforbros used to bring me food that his mum had made especially for me. At one point I was so broke I had a glass of Milo for dinner for two days in a row. Sometimes during school I’d run out of energy so quickly I would buy a Big M and a Snickers - it cost me $5 and it was my only luxury - then I started drinking Redbull which cost less. Get to the end of a pay week and open your fridge, you know you’re poor when you only have condiments left. Living like that has done three things for me, I can scrimp on groceries like a motherfucker; I can make a meal out of anything; and I have a seething hatred for people who say there’s nothing in the cupboard when there is -NOTHING MEANS NOTHING.
I’m incredibly humbled by the stories accompanying this post, as I’ve always been fortunate enough to have plenty of food on the table at mealtimes/in the fridge in between. So it’s pretty nigh on impossible for me to fathom even one drop of the anguish somebody experiences when they open their fridge and see literally nothing as opposed to plenty of somethings, none of which contain the desired level of sugar/fat-loaded goodness to tempt your sweet/savoury tooth at that exact moment in time. In fact, I often see perfectly good food wasted because my mother buys such large quantities of things that spoil really quickly (see Rhiann’s loaf of bread comment above); this happens all too often and makes me sigh when my mother hypocritically complains that we never eat everything she gives us. I consume a very generous amount of food per day, yet something is always wasted because I’m not a fucking machine. Make the effort to only buy what you need, if you have the means to be exorbitant, instead of overusing goods that other people much more desperately need.
That said, point #3 gets under my skin every single time I see it boldly proclaimed that you can “feed your family for under $10” (seriously) and, on closer inspection, the cost of each item is broken down into portion size and therefore impossibly impractical, along with being more focused on kJ/fat content than a balanced serving of all nutrients the body requires (source)… well thank you Coles, you ignorant cunts; pretty sure you’d laugh a person outta the store for asking for 10mL of soy sauce, yet here it is on your fucking gigantic poster with the grinning, blond-tipped pseudo-celebrity douchebag who magically conjured the exact serving size for a family. Gee, I wonder how that happened? And yet people still wonder why a family would see this advertisement and not be more tempted by it?
While we’re at it, why not define what you think a family is? Because big-name groceries very likely base it on the traditional nuclear family structure (being the comfortably living, yet backwards money-grubbing fucks that they are). Which leaves the single parent with 3+ kids is the goddamn dust they yanked the ‘salad’ out of before charging her 3x the price of what it’s worth. I get that the reason they mark things up a ridiculous amount is to help cover costs of farmers/producers that are affected by adverse weather conditions and having a tough time of their living. But is this not the express purpose of government intervention? I swear, the amount of good that would come from making healthy food options readily available and affordable to those below the targeted class level would have to be gargantuan. I’d need some in-depth study in the economic ramifications of such an action, but there are surely more qualified people than I looking into this matter.
But, on that note, point #4 comes into play. As accurately stated above, people who work for their daily living and rely on that paycheck to make ends meet are far less likely to have the time or energy to prepare an immaculate feast in their (possible lack of a) underfurnished kitchen. This is in stark contrast to the higher-class people whose living goes towards a sizeable stockpile of savings, which will ultimately be spent on unnecessary luxury goods when they get bored with all the pretty food they’re buying. And I put emphasis on pretty because wow: the amount of stuff that is bought simply because the model presenting it is attractive, or because your favourite celebrity endorses it (making a helluva lot more money out of it than you do), or because of women laughing while eating salad, is astounding. Marketing is a bitch, yet we’re socialised to buy into the plastic-like ‘goodness’ it presents us with every day. If we would actually take the time to turn over that lone lettuce leaf and see that there’s a steaming pile of shit underneath, we might not be so quick to swallow everything we’re fed without ignoring that bitter aftertaste. If we even allow ourselves to realise there is one.
It never boils down to just one simple answer, but I can give you a fairly informed indication at what this whole backlash means: the above infographics are horribly, horribly wrong. Skewed. Classist. Condescending. Cuntish. Call it what you will (and I most certainly will, because it’s atrocious how people are treated), but it all points in the same direction: something has to change. Or else this vicious cycle will perpetuate itself until we run out of people to starve. Because we worked them too hard. For minimum wage. Then fired them because they’re tired all the time.
That’s not the type of world I want to be a part of.
See the article’s most incisive and applaudable comments here.
Stefan, I will marry the shit out of you.29,548 notes
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