Get ready for a crazy rumor about one of the stars of the reality show Teen Mom that will actually make you respect them a little bit more. Someone is telling the tabloids that Amber Portwood's on-again-off-again boyfriend Gary Shirley is using food stamps to fill his fridge with junk food.
His response? He's not on food stamps, but he doesn't think there's any shame for people who are. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but Gary is absolutely right. And I'm going to double down: it's time to kill the "food stamps = junk food" myth.
No doubt the "source" picked on Gary because -- despite recent reports that he's losing weight -- it's an easy sell that an overweight guy is eating junk. Couple it with a story about a reality star blowing all his cash and having to live on the taxpayer's dime, and it's tabloid gold even if it isn't true.
More from The Stir: 'Teen Mom' Star Gary Shirley Becomes an Even Bigger 'Loser'
There's a pervasive stereotype that living on food stamps means you have to eat a whole lot of unhealthy junk, and it fits right in with the Gary rumor. The claim is that "good" food is expensive, and the myth is that food stamp users are fatties who have to eat crap that's making them fatter.
Not true ... and Gary should prove that point nicely. Look at him back before he started trying to shape up, when he was ostensibly making nice bank from MTV: he wasn't low income, and he was still unhealthy.
Yes, there are barriers for low-income people that make it harder to eat well. But you're kidding yourself if you think unhealthy eating is just an income thing.
Here's the truth: the biggest obstacle standing between low income consumers and healthy food isn't their pocketbooks. It's knowing how to be a smart shopper. Don't get me wrong -- this isn't about intelligence; people with more money are plagued by the same problems, but they're blessed with a little more scratch to spend.
The sad thing is that you can have reality star-sized paychecks like Gary Shirley (ahem, the reason he really should NOT be on food stamps ... and we are glad he isn't) and still be stuck in the junk rut because you don't know how -- or don't want -- to shop smart.
So let's stop blaming one for the other, alright? Gary's right, there is nothing wrong with someone who is on food stamps.
What do you think of Shirley's stance on food stamps?
Image via MTV