A woman who struggled to feed herself and her child for a tenner a week has written a cookbook. A review of this situation has resulted in some controversy:
Monroe was judged lightly because she uses her money to buy things that the middle classes buy. Swapping her chips for chickpeas shows her to be aspirational, and thus worthy of our respect. We read it as a symbol of her desire to claw her way out of the soup of inequity that is “Benefits Britain” and become middle class. The lifestyle enjoyed by the middle classes, scented by Jo Malone and lit by starlight, has become not only desirable, but honourable. To not live the upper middle-class aesthetic ideal is to live a life worthy of that class’s contempt. Taste becomes a moral quality, and the way in which you spend your money reflects your morality.
The author has replied, and it gives some insight into how an intelligent, articulate, capable woman experiences being on benefits.
Try it. For a month. Two. Five. Unscrew your lightbulbs, turn off your fridge, sell anything you can see lying around that you might get more than two quid for.
Stop going out. Walk everywhere, in the pouring rain, in your only pair of shoes, with a soaking wet and sobbing three year old trailing behind you. Drag that three year old into every pub and shop in unreasonable walking distance and ask if they have any job vacancies. Get home, soaking, still unemployed, to ‘dry out’ in a freezing cold flat.