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March 09, 2020

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Mags

And so, with immense righteousness and a great sense of personal breakthrough, the services of the female cleaner in question were dispensed with. No above-market wages for you, my dear. Because the way to empower female “domestic labourers” is, it turns out, to not hire them at all.

Did someone's book advance run out?

David

Did someone’s book advance run out?

Heh. There is, I think, a whiff of rationalisation. And I was left wondering whether the cleaner, the one being fired in the name of feminism, might have written a more coherent article.

Squires

...said person may require some kind of medical attention.

My interpretation is that no such second odor awaits her; she instead hamfisted that into article in order to more greatly display her woken awareness of the terrible oppression she is party to, as a truly noble woman should, of course.

Presumably, fewer tears would be shed, and written about at length, while hiring a male cleaner at normal market rates.

If enough anguishing anguished feminists with considerable disposable income suddenly jumped on board, why of course there would be fewer tears shed; especially by the Tanias of our horrible, oppressive society, when the time came for them to pay their own bills.

...it’s a bit of mental tangle and somewhat mysterious.

FEEL as you are TOLD. The rationalizations will follow.

TimT

” For [my book, The Home Stretch], I spent time under cover with the women who clean Britain’s offices and homes.

Ewgh. The undercover book may have had noble origins with Orwell, and ignoble but entertaining origins with Gonzo. But now? It’s just dishonest, opinionating by other means: virtue signalling for the Jobsworthy journalist.

David

FEEL as you are TOLD. The rationalizations will follow.

Heh. Indeed.

Dr Evil

To use a cliché here, this is very much a 'First World' problem and then only for a tiny minority. Most normal women cannot afford to be a feminist.

Adam

My takeaway is that eco cleaning products are created to maintain the oppression of wymxn.

The implied solution is to force men of yte to do the cleaning. But we already know how that turns out. Yte men can't clean. "Looks better" is not clean.

David

It goes without saying that the preferences of Jurate and Tania, the ladies whose cleaning services were dispensed with for being so problematic and insufficiently feminist, are not deemed worthy of mention. Alas, we’ll never know whether the ladies would have been quite happy for the paid work, regardless of their employer’s feminist convolutions.

As a snapshot of feminist posturing, it is, I think, inadvertently telling.

Marc

Twenty pound an hour for bloody cleaning i'm in the wrong effing trade.

BF

Reminds me a bit of the "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" trope from the Vietnam war

Joan

It goes without saying that the preferences of Jurate and Tania, the ladies whose cleaning services were dispensed with for being so problematic and insufficiently feminist, are not deemed worthy of mention.

But she's doing it all for them. :-)

David

But she’s doing it all for them. :-)

Comically, and rather bizarrely, I think that’s what we’re expected to believe. She’s no longer employing them for their own good, you see, and for the good of women everywhere. Being, as she is, a feminist.

And when you’re a middle-class Guardianista, a self-styled “journo covering travel, feminism, social affairs,” with locations “London, various,” the kind of woman who has a literary agent, and who frets about been seen employing a cleaner, then the idea that said cleaner might prefer employment to unemployment is, it seems, easily overlooked.

SumDumGuy
And it occurs to me that if you can smell someone’s perspiration above the odour of cleaning products, said person may require some kind of medical attention.

There is a company in town here called Apple Pie Maids who will clean your house while also baking an apple pie. Not only does this allow me to pay a woman to clean my home, she also bakes me a pie. It absolutely costs more than having either one of these activities done on its own and the extra fee does seem to make the young ladies seem powerful to me.

No laughing at the back.

Too late...

The clincher, in the end, was my three-year-old son, who quizzically followed Jurate around

Maybe he found her attractive, or maybe she talked to him like a normal person and not some scolding nag.

TDK

For the kind of middle-class feminist who as recreation writes for the Observer, life is apparently an endless moral torture inflicted by minor, everyday events, or at least an exhausting theatre of pretending to be tortured by minor, everyday events.

Unfortunately this kind of self indulgent guilt trip bollocks is now infecting The Spectator of all places.

God, is there no refuge remaining?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

The average cleaner in London, however, earns just £8.89 an hour. Today, as part of International Women’s Strike...

...there was a sea of red !

A veritable tsunami, I tells ya.

Maybe he found her attractive, or maybe she talked to him like a normal person...

Probably just curious about these strange things she was doing that mummy never did.

I would return home in the evening to the smell of Dettol...

Being on the western side of the pond I had to look that up and was surprised she wasn't triggered suffering violent trauma from their logo which features a sword, a symbol of Teh Patriarchy™, a symbol of the Crusades, a sword stabbing downward - a literal symbol of rape, used to oppress wymxn of color, (especially Muslima WoC), like her cleaners.

Burnsie

No laughing at the back.

Sorry, that was me. But you're the one parading this silly woman in front of us. It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

BrassG

What I find disturbing is the fact that she's reproduced. Which means that unless the act was performed "instrumentally," some desperate loser dipped his wick in that thing. Think I'd rather take monastic vows.

David

Sorry, that was me.

My own approach, as He Who Is Tasked With Cleaning The Bathroom, is to spray every surface with vast quantities of industrial-strength stain-blasting flesh-melting degreaser, let it hiss and seethe for an hour, and then return, ideally without breathing, to hose everything down.

Baking soda, potato peels and fifteen hours of scrubbing just isn’t me.

Squires

...there was a sea of red!

Maybe it was behind the fat one?

Kid in the stroller had the right idea, though. Saw that child safety warning on the bucket and just went for his nearest chance to reincarnate away from all that bullshit.

Mike

let it hiss and seethe for an hour, and then return, ideally without breathing, to hose everything down.

We have small kids. That's why we use a flamethrower.

Sam

No laughing at the back.

Too late, sir. Too late.

Zionist Overlord #73

@mags
Did someone's book advance run out?

Very perceptive!


@OP
For some reason, 1970s comedy sketches are flashing before my eyes.

"Who's the boss?", no? But wasn't that in the 80s?

I say, it's too bad she didn't go this route. Why, the articles just write themselves!
"Choosing a male housekeeper: Why younger is better"
"My housekeeper keeps eye-raping me: Is that bad?"
"I know he wants me: Here's what I made him do"
"Threesome with neighbor's daughter: Here's how I did it"
"Polyamory just made my life perfect: Why you should try it"
"Single and free: loving yourself is the key to happiness"
"Throw-rugs and cat hair: 7 simple tricks to get that carpet clean!"


"Clearly, another triumph for twenty-first century feminism."

Funnily enough, this article reminds me of one I read some 15 years ago from a parallel universe. It was written (with a dry, ironic wit, I hasten to add) by one Sayyed Kashua, an Israeli Arab writing for an Israeli newspaper in Hebrew. It went like this:

The author works as an attorney in a legal firm in Jerusalem. The cleaning staff is all Arabs from east Jerusalem, working for a minimum wage. This makes him uncomfortable (I hope the parallels are clear by now), so he never speaks to them when he passes them in the hall (they'll recognize his accent right away), and cleans up after himself scrupulously. The week before Passover is particularly difficult, because everything has to be cleaned (it's a Jewish law firm). So each year on the last day, he locks his door and cleans his office himself. It's his way of avoiding a bit of unpleasantness.

Except one year, he steps out on the last day to find himself confronted by one of the workers. 'Why won't you even say good morning? Why are you depriving us of work?' He tries to mumble excuses. "It's because we're Arabs, isn't it?!??"

Another Calgary Marc
I couldn’t square this approach with my new knowledge about the relationship between paying a woman to clean my home and the structural devaluation of women’s work.

I can't tell you how triggered I am by this super-sexist statement. I, a male, was for a short time a commercial cleaner. I've cleaned women's bathrooms. For her to pigeonhole cleaning as a "women's work" just gets my blood to boiling! How dare she?

That said, what a maroon. I suspect she fired Tania because of her putative BO, and she then fired Jurate b/c she couldn't stomach paying 20 pounds/hour to assuage her so-called feminist guilt. Also, keeping these menials down is her way of saying "eff the patriarchy", or something. I wonder if she has even a passing acquaintance with the term "logical argument".

Sam
And if this act is dubious from the point of view of many or most feminists, can we correct for this ethical quandary

Given the universal applicability of the above perhaps this was bot-written.

A better questions for these loonies would be: what percentage of your ideological fellow travelers is required to officially deem something haram, and therefore morally dubious for all coreligionists? From the looks of things feminist dogma is set by a single Karen-veto.

structural devaluation of women’s work

I've finally figured out what they mean by "structural". They mean"I think that most people think _x_". Update your po-mo translators accordingly.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I, a male, was for a short time a commercial cleaner. I've cleaned women's bathrooms.

Where you screwed up* was not identifying as a womxn, paying yourself less, and pocketing the extra 33 cents (insert your exchange rate here) tax free.

Hey, I am just using perfectly cromulent feminist math here.

*(Of course cleaning being wymen's work, you stole a job from a wxmyn to begin with, I can't even)

Alice

can we correct for this ethical quandary by contracting, say, a male cleaner…?

I know, let's not hire women - for feminism!

David

I know, let’s not hire women - for feminism!

Well, quite. And by much the same thinking, if you do hire a cleaner who happens to be female, you shouldn’t pay her over the odds as that too would contravene this week’s feminist thinking. Because paying generously would somehow, in ways never explained, constitute a “structural devaluation of women’s work.” Oh, and you mustn’t allow small male children to see a female cleaner at work as this will - again in ways never quite specified - make him “see the labour of… women as less worthwhile.”

That’s the cleaner you’ve hired but decided not to pay what you think she’s actually worth, and deserves, on grounds that it might somehow corrupt her or make her complicit in the downfall of feminism.

It’s a lot to take in without a glass of something. Or a good, hard bong rip.

Darleen

Again, I notice an article written by a "feminist" with a son and not one word about husband/dad.

I collected my son Leo from his nursery a national chain disproportionately staffed by women of colour – or bought clothes from a mainstream clothing outlet that relies, as many do, on female garment workers in the global south.

and

I did not want him to see the labour of some women as less worthwhile than the labour and leisure of other women and men.

If she doesn't want to wallow in guilt, she should marry babydaddy, cut back on her work hours and stay at home to care for her son and home, right? Wouldn't it be a better example to her son of parental responsibility?

I'd love to be a fly on the wall to observe her response if anyone could actually ask her that.

Another Calgary Marc

I'm also curious about these: Which work is more/less worthwhile, and why? How does she do the card-sorting exercise on cleaning vs daycare vs shop assistant vs anything else? What are her analytical framework and baseline assumptions? And why, at this point, do I care?

Darleen

at this point, do I care?

I'm just curious on a 1st world career self-described feminist can be so ignorant of history.

Several times Jordan Peterson has addressed this myopia, especially on the "womyns have been oppressed FOREVAH" schtick. It is the very very brief period that describes modernity that has allowed women to pursue careers outside of "traditional" jobs. The role division in family work historically ruled by biological facts that don't care about feelings.

David

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

As so often with these things, it’s presented as the deep ruminations of a moral sophisticate, an intellectual titan, but it reads as incoherent, self-absorbed and rather neurotic.

Jen

Instalanche!

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/360828/

David

Instalanche!

Fetch the good linens.
No, wait. Hide the good linens.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

My wife tells me the story that when she was a naval officer back in her day, there was a personal ad placed by a man who wanted to clean women's apartments for free. The catch was he would do it naked. The women in their office debated if it was worth hiring the man, if when he was finished you had to scoot him out the door with a broom because just the thought of it was so icky. But you'd get your apartment cleaned.

aelfheld
[...] I couldn’t square this approach with my new knowledge about the relationship between paying a woman to clean my home and the structural devaluation of women’s work.

More likely she couldn't square that approach with her pocketbook.

jack burton

by contracting, say, a male cleaner…?

Instead of a pizza delivery man or pool boy, a new way to start 1980ish porn flicks.

Deborah

Let's pretend I was born yesterday when I ask; who was it that first posited that wymynz work has no value?

(Jeopardy music)

WTP

I'm just curious on a 1st world career self-described feminist can be so ignorant of history.

The knock on boomers was that they all thought the world began the day they were born. Or at best, the year 1950. Why do we expect their children and grandchildren to understand history and its context any better? Especially whereas the education system FOR THE LAST 60 YEARS has misinformed, taken out of context, and in general redefined all knowledge (historical and now otherwise) in the context of class struggles. Pile on top of that the entertainment media tearing down traditional values without a thought to what they were to be replaced with. OK, maybe I'm being naive on that last bit. Call me an optimist.
/rant

Zach

"1970s comedy sketches are flashing before my eyes" - Fred Garvey, Male...House Cleaner?

WTP

Garvin. Fred Garvin...Sorry, my OCD again...also any excuse to post this:

Hal

In the pages of the Observer, a new niche agony is detected:

Is it ever acceptable for a feminist to hire a cleaner?

A parallel point of view from another writer:

 I am not going to describe Officer Candidates School. It's like Basic, but squared and cubed with books added. . . . . We had beds, which we used all too little; we had rooms and showers and inside plumbing; and each four candidates had a civilian servant, to make our beds and clean our rooms and shine our shoes and lay out our uniforms and run errands. This service was not intended as a luxury and was not; its purpose was to give the student more time to accomplish the plainly impossible by relieving him of things any graduate of Basic can already do perfectly.
---Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers
Paul Carlton

"Today, as part of International Women’s Strike...

...there was a sea of red !

A veritable tsunami, I tells ya.

Have you noticed the kid in the buggy with a bucket over his head?

Obviously he's ashamed to be seen with his mother and the other deadbeats.

Governor Squid

From the Arianne Shahvisi article linked by Sally Howard: In short, if somebody saves you time by doing your cleaning, and you don’t pay that person what your time is worth, it must be concluded that you value your time above theirs.

Exactly! How is this even controversial? I pay a secretary much, much less than I make, so that she'll take care of all the administrative tasks I don't want to think about, freeing me up to do more valuable work. I pay a receptionist much, much less than I make so that she'll answer phones and sort mail and greet visitors, freeing me up to do more valuable work. I pay some guy in a jumpsuit a pittance to take the trash away each night, because I don't feel like driving to the solid waste transfer station on my way home. None of these people make anything close to my hourly rate, because their work isn't all that difficult. This is all perfectly normal! What makes house cleaning any different?

I'm beginning to think that our feminists don't really understand how labor markets work.

Daniel Ream

it’s presented as the deep ruminations of a moral sophisticate, an intellectual titan, but it reads as incoherent, self-absorbed and rather neurotic.

Ah, I see you're familiar with Margaret Atwood's oeuvre.

I'm beginning to think that our feminists don't really understand how labor markets work.

Beginning?

Heather

Both my gardener and my maid showed up a week or so after I bought my house to tell me that they had worked for the previous family and to let me know how much I would be paying them. There was never any question that I would be hiring them. I make suggestions on the garden and my gardener occasionally implements them, but not always. It depends on his mood. I would never suggest anything to my maid. She is a formidable lady and she brings her own supplies. For all I know she could be cleaning the house with arsenic. I seriously doubt that they think I am oppressing them. Frankly, I get the sense that they both think that I am a little slow.

Killer Marmot

Sally Howard's article would have worked had it become a call to contract cleaners directly rather than through agencies, which take a serious cut of the action. Howard touches on that, but doesn't go far enough.

BrassG

I make suggestions on the garden and my gardener occasionally implements them, but not always. It depends on his mood.

Heh. I know the feeling. He doesn't ask permission, he just does something outside of his normal duties -- like mulch all the beds in the spring and fall -- and then hands me the bill. I don't complain because it's usually less than what I could buy the materials for at retail prices and the results are invariably better than what my amateur efforts would produce.

God forbid I actually engage in anything like fence-mending on my own property; he becomes most indignant. Again, he's better at it anyway. I once observed that the gate wasn't hanging correctly. Next day, he pulls out the support post, the latch post and the gate, sets and grouts in new posts, fits new hardware, and then rehangs the gate -- in two hours. He handed me a bill for $200. I couldn't write the check fast enough.

Uncle Mikey

Bitch just ask her. She's coming over. Stick around for it and ask her if she wants to get paid today. You know, like a human being would.

Canadianfriend

Those feminists became career women because ( according to them ) staying home, cleaning and cooking was degrading.

So... while they are busy proudly playing feminist, another woman is doing the cleaning and cooking for them for much less money than the career feminist earns.

In other words, those millions of career women/feminists are the new patriarchy "oppressing" a "weaker" demographic group and making them do " degrading work" for less money.

If the "old" patriarchy was ever a tyranny ( not really ) , then the new female patriarchy is simply the new tyranny.

PS: I don't want to use the word "matriarchy" as it is not the same thing. Matriarchy is associated with good, fair and caring... while patriarchy is ( wrongly ) associated with bad, unfair and tyrannical. The last thing feminists want is fairness and equality. They are a female patriarchy.

Squires

Matriarchy is associated with good, fair and caring...

Hardly. In the US the most common example of a matriarchy is the nearest low income/high crime black neighborhood.

NTSOG

And I learned that the second-wave feminist rhetoric that positions housework as nasty and tedious “shitwork” also, quite naturally, alienates the workers who take pride in competently performing necessary work.

This pretentious and self-indulgent sheila knows nothing about real 'shitwork'. Obviously she's never had to deal with a blocked and over-flowing septic tank and had to laboriously clean the outfall pipes of obstructions of varying textures and types.

Chester Draws

There's an on-going campaign to try and get companies to publish their "wage gap", so that they can be shamed if the average woman earns less than the average man.

Should it come to pass, this is what smart companies will do:
-- get rid of every low paid female and replace them with men.
-- hire one or two very well paid women at the top of the tree.
-- put as many as possible of the highly paid staff down as "contractors", so not included.
-- contract out anything like cleaning that is difficult to get sufficient men for.

Hey presto! the averages will favour women.

But only at the expense of hiring far less women.

juliaeryn

I found I could ease my feminist conscience by scrubbing my own toilet.

If you have the time to do your own cleaning, why have you hired a cleaner? Why this? Why any of this? It sounds like the author was contributing to the problem she railed against. The view that cleaning is a nasty job, low-brow'womens-work' and frankly, being such a powerhouse in the 'journo covering travel, feminism, social affairs' field, she shouldn't have to do it, even if she has the time. But no one is above cleaning up after themselves. Of course employ someone if you genuinely don't have the time, or are physically incapable. But if you can, you should, because otherwise it is kind of like saying, 'yes I am much to important and fancy to do this.' Clean up your own shit.

Also, it's not so easy for men to get work cleaning houses. My brother and cousin were looking for part time work cleaning houses that provided in house training. Both had good work histories (admittedly they had not held cleaning positions), but they were rejected by two different agencies. One was honest and said they did not hire men for in house (as opposed to commercial) work as customers were often uncomfortable with the idea of their house being empty with only a male cleaner. Other vulnerable clients did not want to be alone with a male cleaner. Perhaps unfair, but I can understand the agencies point of view.

there was a personal ad placed by a man who wanted to clean women's apartments for free. The catch was he would do it naked.

Haha, no bloody way. I would much rather to pay to be spared the thought that a fully bonered, naked man was wiggling through my house with the dyson.

JuliaM

Wait, "bathroom carpets"...? Ugh! Who puts carpet in a bathroom?

David

When not fretting incoherently over whether hiring a cleaner is suitably feminist, Ms Howard is busy retweeting things like this: “Why white people can’t experience racism.” Apparently, you can’t call it racism when the people on the receiving end have pale skin. Because of the “eurocentric model of thinking.”

So, if, for instance, you see video of black youths gratuitously attacking a random white tourist, gang-stomping him, robbing him, stripping him naked, all while laughing and jeering and filming his degradation, and shouting racial slurs, do bear in mind that what you’re seeing with your own eyes is merely “prejudice,” and by implication unworthy of much concern. Because the lone person being attacked by human hyenas is, we’re assured, the one with all the “power.”

sH2

I found I could ease my feminist conscience by scrubbing my own toilet.

Stunning and brave.

pst314

Ugh! Who puts carpet in a bathroom?

That was a thing back in the 1960's/70's. Ugh indeed.

David

Ugh! Who puts carpet in a bathroom?

Admit it, Julia. The words deep shag in the bathroom make you tremble with pleasure.

Franklin

Relevant Milton Freidman: I'm on your side, but you're not."

David

“I’m on your side, but you’re not.”

Heh. Again, actually including the preferences of the ladies being talked about - and fired in the name of feminism - might have made for a better article. Albeit one at odds with Ms Howard’s little vanities.

WTP

“I’m on your side, but you’re not.”

Again...THIS. In the broader sense, the argument is a minimum wage one. This is probably the second most damaging economic fallacy, the thing that holds back not just low end workers but in a trickle up sense, to some degree, the economy as a whole. The first most damaging being the fallacy that the amount of wealth is some constant value, that wealth cannot be created and that economics is just about how it is distributed. Millions and millions of people believe these two things without question. And whether they vote or not, their misunderstanding of these two fallacies has a significant impact. Yet for so many people it is a simple education problem that in spite of the bazillions we spend on education, many fail to understand mostly because they have NEVER been exposed to any form of information on the matter. Granted, it's not something plainly intuitive without some degree of thought and consideration. But it's also not all that hard to get people to at least think about it enough to understand. And when our news and entertainment media persist in perpetuating these fallacies through the culture, I really cannot blame people (too much) for their ignorance. I've pointed these things out to a number of reasonably intelligent people and often it's a moment when the heavens part and the light shines through. This isn't a hard problem to fix.

Meanwhile I have spent countless hours arguing this with one specific college professor, but a couple other ones as well, over the last decade or more. It is stunning to me that these fallacies persist. What with all the money we spend on education, that we can't make progress in these two regards due to the thick heads of supposed "liberal educators" concerns me more than the sum total of Islamic (or whatever) terrorism, viral pandemics, Russian trolls, and whether or not I left the light on in the attic when I put the Christmas lights away two months ago.

Squires

What with all the money we spend on education...

Pay a staff of pyromaniacs and you get fires.

Governor Squid

Hey presto! the averages will favour women.

But only at the expense of hiring far less women.

Minnesota has a Pay Equity Act which demands that public-sector pay between comparable male-dominated and female-dominated job classes be equal. In a former life, I used to help cities and counties to comply with the pay equity rules, and saw the effects up close.

For one thing, there were rampant problems caused by weak negotiating with the Teamsters, since their classes were mostly male-dominated and whatever compensation gains they made tended to take jurisdictions out of compliance. The Teamsters got upset when the cities started to point out that their demands were a lot more expensive once they priced in the cost of paying the affected non-union females whatever was needed to keep things equal.

My favorite project, though, was one rural county that was out of compliance, and just couldn't afford the payroll impact of bringing their female-dominated classes up to the required level. I took a look at their pay report and sent them a recommendation to give one woman a 6% raise, and to fire three women in another job class and replace them with men. They'd be in compliance for less than ten grand plus the cost of hiring a few clerks, and if the women sued, the county could say it was simply doing what was required under state law.

I sent a copy of the report to the state pay equity office with a note asking if this was what they intended when they set up the system. After a subsequent conference call between me, the state office, and the owners of my firm, it was determined that I should focus on utility rate studies in future. (The county was given a waiver and three years to work on fixing the imbalance.)

Economists have more fun than statisticians, because they play with perverse incentives instead of standard deviations.

pst314

Economists have more fun than statisticians, because they play with perverse incentives instead of standard deviations.

And professors of gender studies have the most fun of all, because they play with perverse incentives and nonstandard deviations.

John

I doubt she will last a week before crawling back to a different cleaning agency (to save face).

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