While perusing a so-called “article” the other day – about a women’s-issue variant of poverty – I was appalled to be confronted with a questionable statistic. I can see from the comments posted in response to the piece that I am far from alone in being confounded.
A full thirteen pounds per month, being spent by women on the old you know-whats?
I’m sorry, but it is my conviction that for the majority of men – no matter their walk of life – such a figure is completely unrecognizable.
To put it bluntly, I’m afraid that I just do not believe that women spend £13 per month – on average, no less – on personal sanitation.
Admittedly, not being a member of the fairer sex myself, this is hardly my area of expertise. However, I have an acquaintance who is very knowledgeable about these matters; and according to him, the average woman’s monthly budget could be expected to work out roughly as follows:
£20.50 groceries (£30.50 if you insist on brand loyalty)
£1000 pot pourri
(and supplement this with whatever sum a generous male benefactor may impart to the lady, to spend on her own discretionary concerns).
Well, when you add a full thirteen of the Queen’s finest to this tabulation, then I’m afraid the figures just look completely wrong. The numbers simply do not add up.
In fact, having discussed this with several chaps – no less fair-minded than myself – I am obliged to state that our consensus was the figure should not be so high. It begs the question, therefore: could it be that the real numbers were too trivial to be taken seriously?
Now, I am not seeking to cast doubt on the main thrust of matter – poverty is undoubtedly unfortunate, and all that, in so far as it exists. I am simply questioning the numbers. There’s a lack of detail here which warrants inquiry.
In fact, without a full and comprehensive break-down of the subject’s income and outgoings, it simply is not possible for readers to know whether the problem herein is that someone genuinely doesn’t have enough to provide for themselves – or has more than enough, but manages that provision poorly.
And the full picture needs to be known when forming a conclusion about this sort of thing.
For example, how much of the lady’s monthly income is spent on fancy soaps? And is it not possible to cut back on luxuries, such as lightbulbs?
If truth be told, I would go so far as to say that we need to stop being theatrical about this whole subject; while all along we fail to teach people basic values – or, as I prefer to think of them: the rules needed to survive in life.
First, how to live within your own means. Second, be sure to have only the kind of children you can afford. Third (and most importantly), how to avoid any unplanned or unexpected financial difficulties arising in life.
Make no mistake about it – I’m all for helping out the poorest in our society; but free handouts to those who are frivolous and wasteful are not really the solution here.
We have to ask ourselves what standard of living those of us who work, and pay taxes, should be obliged to provide for those members of society who – for all anyone knows – could be spending anything in the region of £100 a day on scented candles.
Is it wrong to ask pertinent questions?
Can somebody please tell me how people used to manage a hundred years ago?
I feel that this enquiry deserves an answer. Rags, workhouses, rough sleeping, paupers’ graves, blacking factories, back street abortions, premature death – nobody is saying it was perfect; but there are plenty of standards from a hundred years ago that are perfectly valid today. People used to ‘get by’, so to speak, without penicillin or anesthetics, to take but two examples.
It is not that I do not have sympathy for people struggling to make ends meet; but people are asking legitimate questions – and when articles go making claims, which involve a questionable statistic, then that it is not unreasonable.
What is unreasonable, by contrast, is the fashionable attitude which abounds these days, that anyone who disagrees with the popular narrative about poverty and such like is being obdurate. People making judgments about you, when they don’t even know you – well, it’s not on.
Many people have seen their wages stagnate in recent years – but we’ve made adjustments to our lifestyles accordingly. Struggling and working, and doing all the right things; and yet not being able to get a break. Net contributors to the tax system. At times having to go without, because we had to pay a bill we were presented with suddenly, out of the blue.
So why should others be able to opt out of the same responsibility because of their lifestyle choices, like menstruation?
I think some people look on everyone as being a victim of society, and not an agent of their own life at all. It merely heightens the risk of decent minded sorts developing compassion fatigue.
I expect we would all agree with the general premise of this opinion piece – that poverty can impact certain groups of people in ways that others not in the same situation probably couldn’t imagine; but it is brought into serious doubt by a questionable statistic.
I will say no more about it.
In light of the new Jane Austen £10 note, some people – questionable sorts, I might add – have encouraged hard-working, decent, fair-minded taxpayers to consider donating £10 to feminist causes. Naturally, not the sort of thing I would go in for – but I am, at heart, a democrat. So, if you should wish to make a donation, it would undoubtedly be welcomed by such organisations as: