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"You can just"

About providing food for your family when you don't have a lot of money, and the thoughtless advice that people sometimes give if they don't know much about a difficult problem you have, especially if they give the advice using the adverb "just" (with the "it's so simple" connotation).

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/08/31/you-can-just/

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/743429.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
firecat
Sep. 14th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
auntysocial
Sep. 6th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, and it's hard to get the kids to eat their lentil soup when they want potato chips.
jenk
Sep. 6th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
It helps if lentil soup doesn't only appear when parents are stressed. If it frequently appears with lunch or dinner the kids are going to see it as normal.
(Deleted comment)
auntysocial
Sep. 7th, 2011 03:36 am (UTC)
I actually don't have children and don't get food stamps. I am on a budget though, and I cook for myself and my husband. I have room in the budget for some of what I call luxury items. I think of potato chips as a luxury. Although they don't cost that much, the the ratio of price to nutritional value is too high. I'm saying I understand their allure! You see them on TV, and they have that wonderful crunch.

It would be easy to look at all the very nutritious foods in the market, like legumes, cabbages and other low-cost vegetables and think it might not be so difficult to eat on a low budget, but there are a lot of things that can make it difficult! One is the amount of time it takes to prepare unprocessed food and make it attractive. Another is the allure of the potato chip and other manufactured foods that are widely available and made attractive through advertising, and I think children are particularly susceptible to advertising.
jenk
Sep. 7th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Unfortunately or fortunately depending on one's POV, we always had an "Eat what's served or starve" policy. Not as harsh as it sounds. If I KNOW a kid doesn't like something, it shows up less often in the rotation than foods I know they DO like.

I don't have a quibble with that, especially if it's combined with variety. I think a lot of whining parents experience with sudden, major menu changes is the kids reacting normally to change. A parent might have similar issues trying to turn their kids into vegetarians or moving to a Kosher diet. And if you combine it with complaining that the food's not expensive enough (as one friend's now-ex-husband would) well then what DO you expect? *rolls eyes*
gmdreia
Sep. 6th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
Yep... If the person could "just" do something so easily, chances are, they would've already done it.

"just" also doesn't take into account the fact all kinds of invisible factors of which the "juster" may not be privy.

Like, in my own case, with my health issues combined with ADHD (I can't take meds, unless i want to experience heart palpitations, windedness, and increase my chance of a serious heart condition in the future), I can't over schedule things the way that many people do - I need to allow myself a lot of time to get things done. I was only able to work while going to school (because of how time consuming it is to make accommodations to my ADHD) when on meds.

Most of the people who've told me "you can just..." have more free time than i do. They have no clue what it's like to be me.

I try to watch the "you can just..." with others, especially with people I don't know very well... And even then.

Edited at 2011-09-06 08:06 pm (UTC)
ljgeoff
Sep. 6th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
This made me just about want to hit the wall in frustration. Yes, to all those above.
cakmpls
Sep. 6th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
A good essay, but unfortunately the world is divided into people who already know it and people who will think up other arguments, as specious as the "you could just," to supposedly refute it.
firecat
Sep. 6th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
I switched from being the second kind of person to being the first kind of person. So I signal-boost essays like this in the hope that maybe they would help another person make that switch.
cakmpls
Sep. 6th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks, it's good to know that it can happen!
(Deleted comment)
pyrzqxgl
Sep. 7th, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
When I was on food stamps in the early 80's it was for more than I had been spending on food before that, so I thought it was really awesome, but if I was using them to feed children then I would definitely want better for them than that kind of starving-student mode. :-(

Pretty much any kind of "how to live on less money" article I see is full of super-clueless stuff that isn't going to apply to those people who already don't spend lots of $$$ on fancy restaurants, Starbucks, cable TV, etc. ...
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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