The photograph and the sentiments conveyed by the post caused quite an uproar in the r/antiwork Reddit community with some labeling it 'poverty porn.'
A photograph of an unidentified woman working at a gas station cash register while holding a very young baby left members of the r/antiwork Reddit community horrified this week. Shared by u/hypochloritesprite, the photograph is part of a screenshot of a social media post hailing the woman as an "inspiration" and "motivation" for working even under such circumstances. "This post is circulating around on Facebook and it makes me sick to my stomach," wrote the Reddit user, a sentiment shared by several others who condemned the scene as evidence of the sorry state of U.S. society.
"The other day, I was in BP and I saw this lady," the text of the original social media post reads. "She was the cashier. And she was taking care of her baby so patiently, so well, and so lovingly. All while working. Yet she was able to do her job and right quick I might add! Some may scrunch their faces in meaningless annoyance, some may judge. But me, being the mom that I am, saw hope, inspiration and motivation. But more than anything, a LOVING mom willing to sacrifice. I politely asked if she minded me taking her picture for motivation to other moms. She deserves recognition."
The image attached to the post shows a uniformed woman—whose face is obscured—seemingly feeding the newborn with a bottle in one arm and ringing a customer up with her other hand while rows of tobacco products are displayed behind her. The photograph and the sentiments conveyed by the post caused quite an uproar in the r/antiwork community with some labeling it "poverty porn"—a term for when those in unfortunate circumstances are featured in stories or advertisements meant to inspire those in better circumstances. "Nothing says motivational like framing the failures of capitalism as a feel-good story. Hope the employee doesn't get in trouble as this spreads," commented AwYeahQueerShit.
Some Reddit commenters suggested that the photo is from 2019 and that the woman holding the baby is actually her grandmother. While this information might make the whole thing slightly less horrifying for those who know what it feels like to even stand shortly after giving birth, the fact that someone would have to bring in an infant to work is still a pretty bad look for our society. "For those who don't know anything about babies, the baby in this photo is definitely less than 3 months old, possibly around 8 weeks old. It's not even a question of affordable child care at this age! In any civilized country, there would be parental leave so the parents would be able to spend time with their newborn baby," commented StripeyWoolSocks.
"I'm thinking about how dirty the average gas station/convenience store is, and that baby is too young to have received all of their vaccines to protect them. Plus, the risk of contracting RSV in an environment like that," wrote Hectorguimard. "Late stages of capitalism, the purge is upon us. When the discrepancy between the rich and the poor is this wide, sh*t happens organically and shits about to go down. They're on overdrive with space exploration and robot army. Banks/corporations are looting citizens into slavery with the help of politicians," commented Healthy-Lifestyle-20.
"This. This is what's wrong. Having to bring your child to work with you because you can't afford not to is just not worthy of praise. It's sick that someone would think this is a good thing. You shouldn't have to bring your baby to work with you just to make it. This is nuts," wrote GUNROAR62.