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.

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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.

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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.

3 comments:

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!