Gwyneth Paltrow recently took on a challenge to live on the $29 weekly supplemental food assistance that many Americans receive to feed their families. She wanted to raise awareness about poor people in the US and thought it’d be a fun experiment to spend her own $29 on a dozen eggs, 7 limes and other shit that is not realistic whatsoever for the millions of families that actually utilize the SNAP program. But whatever! It’s not like she was ever going to stick to it anyway!
In a piece written for her decidedly not poor lifestyle site, Goop, Gwyn gave herself a hearty C- on the challenge, despite the fact that she quit four days in – an option I think is obvious is not available to the people actually living like this. But it’s not about Gwyneth! I mean, after all, she donated a whole lot of money to the Food Bank For New York City! What more do you people want?!
Dubious that I could complete the week, I donated to the Food Bank at the outset, and all of us at the goop office began the challenge. As I suspected, we only made it through about four days, when I personally broke and had some chicken and fresh vegetables (and in full transparency, half a bag of black licorice). My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days—a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year. A few takeaways from the week were that vegetarian staples liked dried beans and rice go a long way—and we were able to come up with a few recipes on a super tight budget.
After trying to complete this challenge (I would give myself a C-), I am even more outraged that there is still not equal pay in the workplace. Sorry to go on a tangent, but many hardworking mothers are being asked to do the impossible: Feed their families on a budget which can only support food businesses that provide low-quality food. The food system in our beautiful country needs to be subjected to a heavy revision—it is a cyclical problem, with repercussions that we all feel. I’m not suggesting everyone eat organic food from some high horse in the sky. I’m saying everyone should be able to afford fresh, real food. And if women were paid an equal wage, families might have more of a choice in the grocery aisles, not to mention in the rest of their lives.
She then goes on an entire tangent about how this is really about women making more and how that would solve all the hunger problems in this country. Because, you know, every mother has got a job to begin with. And only women are head of households – it’s not like there are any single dads out there or anything who could also be struggling and need help. If she ever wanted to prove more than ever just how out of touch she is, this was a great exercise in doing just that.