Friday, July 17, 2009

You say exploited, I say employed

A friend and I are trying to figure out why some people have a problem with the word "maid" and heck, even the job. I have a friend whose friends want to yank her Liberal card because she hires a housekeeper. I told her she needs to hang out with conservatives instead. We believe in creating jobs and the fair exchange of money for labor.

I couldn't find the photo of Souad and Halima, the nanny/housekeeper and the cook Steve and Megan employed when they were in Morocco, so I'll use this instead. This is in Essouaira.

What's so bad about employing a maid? Why is it exploitive, Barbara Erhenrich or however you spell her name? What is so awful about paying somebody money to do something you don't want to do? Hardly anyone I know changes his own oil. Is paying Jiffy Lube exploitive? Is it wrong to get takeout rather than cooking for yourself?

My grandmother (mom's side) was a maid. She was a live-in maid for some rich families in Milwaukee before she got married. She worked six and a half days a week and was glad to have the job because let's face it: sometimes there aren't many career options for someone who had to leave school at 8th grade to help support her family. But she kept a clean house and could cook and guess what? Someone wanted to pay her for those skills.

Also not a maid photo but people can afford maids in Morocco,, which is where I took this photo, if they have normal US salaries.

My great-aunt Katie was not just a maid but she was the head housekeeper for a rich Milwaukee family. I think she had several people working under her. My grandmother (dad's side) spoke about aunt Katie with pride. She had done well, rising in her profession like that.

I would have a maid if I had the money. I had one in Memphis. It was wonderful to come home to a sparkling house once every three weeks. I would like it now. If I never had to clean another bathroom again as long as I live, that would be fine with me. If I never had to get down on my hands and knees to wash the kitchen floor, as I do once a week, Barbara "cleaning on your knees is submission" Ehrenreich, that would be great, but Barbara, that's how you get the floor clean.


LPC said...

Nobody is being exploited if it's the best deal either person can get.

class-factotum said...

Amen, sister.

Jill said...

I adore my housekeeper (don't know why I can't say maid). And not because she cleans my house. She is just a wonderful person and I enjoy having her in my home. We spend three days a week together without being able to speak each other's language. We have a dialogue down that involves hand signs and some of my barely learned grade school Spanish. I pay her more than anyone in the area...which I've been sworn to keep a secret by neighbors from the other housekeepers...which I think is just plain rude!