About Elizabeth

I am 27 and a mother to two boys. Bailey is nine and Peyton is three. I am in my first semester here at BCC for Human Services. I plan to transfer to Elms and then Springfield College for my BSW and MSW.


I truely am not sure what type of calculation the United States government does in order to agree on minimum wage.  They feel that the set wage is enough for a family to eat, have shelter, have clothing?  Where is it that they see this happening? I personally, have lived and visited many, many different parts of this great country.  I have seen the poorest parts of Mississippi and I have seen the richest parts of New York City.  I can not imagine a family of four surviving on less than eight dollars on hour.

Yes, I admit there are plenty of government assistance plans out there. However, they do not take the burden of the parents’ backs who are bringing home eight dollar an hour paychecks.  These plans help, sure, but they do not make things easy.  The hoops you have to jump through, the stigma you carry, the embarrassment and loss of dignity you feel when you sit across the desk from someone you imagine has never been in your shoes, and you say, “I can’t feed my children”, or “The heating company turned off my heat”.  As Barbara Ehrenreich says in her article, “I am ‘baby,’ ‘honey,’ ‘blondie,’ and, most commonly, ‘girl’.”  Then there are the many, many families who do not qualify.  Those who make one hundred dollars a month too much. Those families are turned away and left to fend for themselves. 

In Barbara’s article she has a job paying her $7 an hour. With this pay she finds herself an apartment for $500 a month.  This is so incredibly unrealistic in my opinion.  Living here in Berkshire County, you would most likely get a job at about $8 an hour.  If you are single with no children, sure, you could find a one bedroom apartment for $500 a month or less. However, if you are a single mother with at least one child, according to the law, you must have at least a two bedroom apartment.  In this area you are looking at paying more around $600 or $700 a month. Most daycares charge around $200 a week for a full time slot.  Then of course there are your regular utilities, your vehicle if you have one, bus passes if you don’t, groceries, clothing… it goes on and on. 

I understand as Americans we are lucky to have the programs in place that we have.  I am even one who is lucky enough to be on a couple of them.  However, I am one who has to do the hoop jumping and the dignity loosing.  It is possible to live on minimum wage. But not with dependants, not without government assistance. Like Ehrenreich states at the end, “The thinking behind welfare reform was that even the humblest jobs are morally uplifting and psycologically buoying.  In reality they are likely to be fraught with insult and stress.” 

Unless you are one of the lucky few to break the cycle and get out of poverty levels, you will continue to face the burdens and struggles along with the indignities and insults.


Seeing Ourselves chapter 7 is titled Cultural Obsessions with Thinness: African American, Latina, and White Women by Becky W. Thompson.  In this article Thompson explores three theoretical models used to explain eating disorders.  The first of these models is the biomedical model, claiming there are scientific ties to physiological reasons for eating disorders.  The second model is psychological model claiming eating disorders are more a matter of the pysche.  The third model is Gender Specific and Cultural stating that eating disorders are primarily found in women and those targeted by cultural ‘bullying’.  I believe that regardless of gender, race, class or experience, anyone with an eating disorder fits into all three of these models.  If a patient suffering from an eating disorder was to be treated with all three models in mind, I believe they would recieve a well rounded and helpful treatment.  As few as one of these three models or as many as all three could contribute to an individuals illness but at some point a patient will probably experience all three.  It is a matter of mind, body or spirit and this is used to break down or explain many dilemmas. 

The article also ties sexual abuse to eating disorders.  This part was extremely new and interesting to me.  In todays media it is most typically the relation of culture and what is described as “beauty” that plagues individuals and most often is what leads one to an eating disorder.  Before this article I had not heard of the research linking sexual abuse to eating disorders.  It absolutely makes sense and I believe deserves much more attention.  Typically, when a victim has experienced abuse he/she tends to feel disembodied or senses loss of control over the body.  This means any weight gain or loss does not affect them in a way it would another individual with a “normal” connection to the body.  Ongoing sexual abuse can also lead to the victim feeling as if their being less sexually attractive may help to stop the abuse.  If a young woman developing hips and breasts could cut down on their size by starving herself, the victim may feel she could lose appeal to the abuser. 

Racism and classism contributes to eating disorders in an interesting and newly researched way as well.  Certain races are expected to be thin and some are expected to be “plump”.  Many ethnicities have strong cultural ties to food.  How can women feel included without consequently gaining weight?  When it comes to class order, families climbing the social ladder usually attend many social functions laden with very delicious foods.  Who could resist?  However, as the class order of the family rises, they are seen more in the social structures of their community so the push to be good looking, thin and well dressed increases.       BY ELIZABETH