In the pages of the Observer, a new niche agony is detected:
Is it ever acceptable for a feminist to hire a cleaner?
Needless to say, it starts off quite dramatically,
The day my cleaner used to visit, I would return home in the evening to the smell of Dettol mixed with Tania’s sweat, to a clean kitchen and bathroom and a drenching sense of guilt.
Gratuitous drama and drenching guilt aside, I’m not entirely sure why hiring a cleaner should obviously be more fraught than hiring, say, a gardener or roofer. 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.
The piece, by empowered feminist author Sally Howard, continues in high gear,
It was the same unease that greeted me when 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.
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. Which of the two constitutes a more harrowing and nightmarish existence, I leave to the reader.
For [my book, The Home Stretch], I spent time under cover with the women who clean Britain’s offices and homes. I picked used tampons off bathroom carpets and scrubbed bathtub tidemarks and sauces spattered across kitchen walls; and I discovered a few things.
That some women are so messy and antisocial that bloodied tampons are left for others to step on? Is that a permissible feminist thought?
I learned that fashionable householders’ preference for less-effective eco and homemade cleaning products doubles cleaners’ labour.
No laughing at the back.