It relates to Ehrenreich and Hochschild’s book. The excerpts are from Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. Write a summary essay that consists of at least 5-8 paragraphs

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It relates to Ehrenreich and Hochschild’s book. The excerpts are from Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy.

Write a summary essay that consists of at least 5-8 paragraphs (or more but try not to have less). Consider this as a summary essay of the selected chapters from the book.

The book highlights another level of global capitalism and the exploitation of resources on an international scale. The commodification of cheap labor and mainly women’s cheap labor in the global market. In addition to sexism, there is also the dimension of colonialism and racism brought out in the book.

In terms of the writing of the essay – Please keep in mind that the format is formal, academic, and factual which means stay away from your personal opinion. Stay focused on the points mentioned in the selected book chapters. Your grade is based on how well you are describing and explaining the summary points.

The format of your essay should be as follows: 1) Submit it as a PDF or Word file. 2) Size of the font of 12, single-spaced, Times New Roman.

It relates to Ehrenreich and Hochschild’s book. The excerpts are from Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. Write a summary essay that consists of at least 5-8 paragraphs
In tr o du ctio n BA RBA RA E H REN REIC H A ND A RLIE R USSE LL H O CH SC H IL D “ W ho se b ab y a re y o u?” J o se p hin e P ere ra , a n anny f r o m S ri L anka, a sk s I s a d ora , h er p ud gy tw o-y ear-o ld c harg e i n A th ens, G re ece. Tho ughtf u l fo r a m om ent, th e c hild g la nces to w ard th e c lo se d d oor o f th e n ext ro om , in w hic h h er m oth er i s w ork in g, a s i f to s a y, “ T hat’ s m y m oth er i n th ere .” “N o, y o u’re my b ab y,” Jo se p hin e te ase s, ti c klin g Is a d ora lig htl y . T hen, to se ttl e th e is su e, Is a d ora a nsw ers , “ T ogeth er!” S he h as tw o m om mie s— her m oth er a nd J o se p hin e. A nd s u re ly a c hild lo ved b y m any a d ults i s r ic hly b le sse d . In s o m e w ays, J o se p hin e’s s to ry — whic h u nfo ld s in a n e xtr a o rd in ary d ocum enta ry film , When M oth er C om es H om e fo r C hris tm as, d ir e cte d b y N ilita V achani— desc rib es a n u np ara lle le d s u ccess. J o se p hin e h as v entu re d a ro und th e w orld , a chie v in g a d egre e o f i n d ep end ence h er m oth er c o uld n o t h av e i m agin ed , a nd a m ply s u p porti n g h er th re e c hild re n w ith n o h elp fr o m h er e x-h usb and , th eir fa th er. E ach m onth s h e m ails a re m itta nce c heck fr o m A th ens to H atto n, S ri L anka, to p ay th e c hild re n’s liv in g e xp ense s a nd s c ho ol fe es. O n h er C hris tm as v is it h o m e, s h e b ears g ifts o f p ots , p ans, a nd d is h es. W hile s h e m akes p aym ents o n a n ew b us th at S ure sh , h er o ld est s o n, n o w driv es f o r a l iv in g, s h e i s a ls o s a v in g f o r a m odest d ow ry f o r h er d aughte r, N orm a. S he d re am s o f b uyin g a n ew h o use i n w hic h th e w ho le f a m ily c an l iv e. I n t h e m eanti m e, h er w ork a s a n anny e nab le s Is a d ora ’s p are nts to d ev ote th em se lv es to th eir c are ers a nd a v ocati o ns. But J o se p hin e’s s to ry i s a ls o o ne o f w re nchin g g lo bal i n eq uality . W hile I s a d ora e njo ys th e a tte nti o n o f t h re e a d ults , Jo se p hin e’s th re e c hild re n in S ri L anka h av e b een fa r le ss lu cky. A cco rd in g to V achani, J o se p hin e’s y o ungest c hild , S um in d a, w as tw o— Is a d ora ’s a ge— when h is m oth er fir s t le ft h o m e to w ork i n S aud i A ra b ia . H er m id dle c hild , N orm a, w as n in e; h er o ld est s o n, S ure sh , th ir te en. F ro m S aud i A ra b ia , J o se p hin e fo und h er w ay fir s t to K uw ait, th en to G re ece. E xcep t fo r o ne tw o-m onth tr ip h o m e, s h e h as l iv ed a p art fr o m h er c hild re n fo r te n y ears . S he w rite s th em w eekly le tte rs , s e ekin g n ew s o f re la ti v es, a sk in g a b out s c ho ol, a nd c o m pla in in g th at N orm a d oesn ’t w rite b ack. Alth o ugh J o se p hin e l e ft th e c hild re n u nd er h er s is te r’s s u p erv is io n, th e tw o y o ungest h av e s h o w n s ig ns o f r e al d is tr e ss. N orm a h as a tte m pte d s u ic id e th re e ti m es. S um in d a, w ho w as tw elv e w hen th e film w as m ad e, b oard s in a g rim , D ic kensia n o rp hanage th at fo rb id s ta lk d urin g m eals a nd s h o w ers . H e v is its h is a unt o n h o lid ays. A lth o ugh th e o ld est, S ure sh , s e em s to b e o n g o od te rm s w ith h is m oth er, N orm a i s te arfu l a nd s u lle n, a nd S um in d a d oes p oorly i n s c ho ol, p ic ks q uarre ls , a nd o th erw is e s e em s w ith d ra w n f r o m th e w orld . S ti ll, a t th e e nd o f th e film , w e s e e J o se p hin e o nce a gain le av e h er th re e c hild re n in S ri L anka to r e tu rn to I s a d ora i n A th ens. F or J o se p hin e c an e ith er l iv e w ith h er c hild re n i n d esp era te p overty o r m ake m oney b y l iv in g a p art f r o m th em . U nlik e h er a fflu ent F ir s t W orld e m plo yers , s h e c anno t b oth l iv e w ith h er f a m ily a nd s u p port i t. Thanks to th e p ro cess w e lo ose ly c all “ glo baliz a ti o n,” w om en a re o n th e m ove a s n ev er b efo re in his to ry . In im ages fa m ilia r to th e W est fr o m te le v is io n c o m merc ia ls fo r c re d it c ard s, c ell p ho nes, a nd air lin es, f e m ale e xecuti v es j e t a b out th e w orld , p ho nin g h o m e f r o m l u xury h o te ls a nd r e uniti n g w ith e ager child re n i n a ir p orts . B ut w e h ear m uch l e ss a b out a f a r m ore p ro dig io us f lo w o f f e m ale l a b or a nd e nerg y: th e in cre asin g m ig ra ti o n o f m illio ns o f w om en fr o m p oor c o untr ie s to ric h o nes, w here th ey se rv e a s nannie s, m aid s, a nd s o m eti m es s e x w ork ers . I n th e a b se nce o f h elp f r o m m ale p artn ers , m any w om en h av e su cceed ed i n to ugh “ m ale w orld ” c are ers o nly b y tu rn in g o ver th e c are o f th eir c hild re n, e ld erly p are nts , and h o m es to w om en fr o m th e Thir d W orld . T his is th e fe m ale und ers id e o f glo baliz a ti o n, w here b y millio ns o f J o se p hin es f r o m p oor c o untr ie s i n th e s o uth m ig ra te to d o th e “ w om en’s w ork ” o f th e n o rth — work th at a fflu ent w om en a re n o lo nger a b le o r w illin g to d o. T hese m ig ra nt w ork ers o fte n le av e th eir ow n c hild re n in th e c are o f g ra nd m oth ers , sis te rs , a nd sis te rs -in -la w . S om eti m es a y o ung d aughte r is dra w n o ut o f s c ho ol to c are f o r h er y o unger s ib lin gs. This p atte rn o f f e m ale m ig ra ti o n r e fle cts w hat c o uld b e c alle d a w orld w id e g end er r e v olu ti o n. I n b oth ric h a nd p oor c o untr ie s, fe w er fa m ilie s c an r e ly s o le ly o n a m ale b re ad w in ner. In th e U nite d S ta te s, th e earn in g p ow er o f m ost m en h as d eclin ed s in ce 1 970, a nd m any w om en h av e g o ne o ut to “ m ake u p th e diffe re nce.” B y o ne r e cent e sti m ate , w om en w ere th e s o le , p rim ary , o r c o eq ual e arn ers in m ore th an h alf of A meric an fa m ilie s. 1 S o th e q uesti o n a ris e s: W ho w ill ta ke c are o f th e c hild re n, th e s ic k, th e e ld erly ? Who w ill m ake d in ner a nd c le an h o use ? While th e E uro pean o r A meric an w om an c o m mute s to w ork a n a v era ge tw enty -e ig ht m in ute s a d ay, many n annie s f r o m th e P hilip pin es, S ri L anka, a nd I n d ia c ro ss th e g lo be to g et to th eir j o bs. S om e f e m ale mig ra nts fr o m th e T hir d W orld d o fin d so m eth in g lik e “ lib era ti o n,” o r a t le ast th e c hance to b eco m e in d ep end ent b re ad w in ners a nd to im pro ve th eir c hild re n’s m ate ria l liv es. O th er, le ss fo rtu nate m ig ra nt wom en e nd u p i n th e c o ntr o l o f c rim in al e m plo yers — th eir p assp orts s to le n, th eir m obility b lo cked , f o rc ed to w ork w ith o ut p ay i n b ro th els o r to p ro vid e s e x a lo ng w ith c le anin g a nd c hild -c are s e rv ic es i n a fflu ent ho m es. B ut e v en i n m ore ty p ic al c ase s, w here b enig n e m plo yers p ay w ages o n ti m e, T hir d W orld m ig ra nt wom en a chie v e th eir s u ccess o nly b y a ssu m in g th e c ast- o ff d om esti c ro le s o f m id dle – a nd h ig h-in co m e wom en in th e F ir s t W orld — ro le s th at hav e b een p re v io usly re je cte d , o f co urs e , b y m en. A nd th eir “co m mute ” e nta ils a c o st w e h av e y et to f u lly c o m pre hend . The m ig ra ti o n o f w om en fr o m th e T hir d W orld to d o “ w om en’s w ork ” in a fflu ent c o untr ie s h as s o fa r re ceiv ed l ittl e m ed ia a tte nti o n— fo r r e aso ns th at a re e asy e no ugh to g uess. F ir s t, m any, th o ugh b y n o m eans all, of th e new fe m ale m ig ra nt w ork ers are w om en of co lo r, and th ere fo re su b je ct to th e ra cia l “d is c o unti n g” ro uti n ely e xp erie nced b y, sa y, A lg eria ns in F ra nce, M exic ans in th e U nite d S ta te s, a nd Asia ns i n th e U nite d K in gd om . A dd to r a cis m th e p riv ate “ in d oor” n atu re o f s o m uch o f th e n ew m ig ra nts ’ work . U nlik e fa cto ry w ork ers , w ho c o ngre gate in la rg e n um bers , o r ta xi d riv ers , who a re v is ib le o n th e str e et, n annie s a nd m aid s a re o fte n h id den a w ay, o ne o r tw o a t a ti m e, b ehin d c lo se d d oors in p riv ate ho m es. B ecause o f th e ille gal n atu re o f th eir w ork , m ost s e x w ork ers a re e v en fu rth er c o nceale d fr o m pub lic v ie w . At le ast in th e c ase o f n annie s a nd m aid s, a no th er fa cto r c o ntr ib ute s to th e in v is ib ility o f m ig ra nt wom en a nd th eir w ork — one th at, fo r th eir a fflu ent e m plo yers , to uches c lo se r to h o m e. T he W este rn cultu re of in d iv id ualis m , w hic h fin d s extr e m e exp re ssio n in th e U nite d Sta te s, m ilita te s again st ackno w le d gin g h elp o r h um an i n te rd ep end ency o f n early a ny k in d . T hus, i n th e ti m e-p re sse d u p per m id dle cla ss, s e rv ants a re n o l o nger d is p la yed a s s ta tu s s y m bols , d ecked o ut i n w hite c ap s a nd a p ro ns, b ut o fte n re m ain in th e backgro und , or dis a p pear w hen co m pany co m es. F urth erm ore , afflu ent care erw om en in cre asin gly e arn th eir sta tu s n o t th ro ugh le is u re , a s th ey m ig ht h av e a c entu ry a go , b ut b y a p pare ntl y “d oin g it a ll” — pro ducin g a fu ll- ti m e c are er, th riv in g c hild re n, a c o nte nte d s p ouse , a nd a w ell- m anaged ho m e. I n o rd er to p re se rv e th is i llu sio n, d om esti c w ork ers a nd n annie s m ake th e h o use h o te l- ro om p erfe ct, fe ed a nd b ath e th e c hild re n, c o ok a nd c le an u p — and th en m agic ally f a d e f r o m s ig ht. The l ife sty le s o f th e F ir s t W orld a re m ad e p ossib le b y a g lo bal tr a nsfe r o f th e s e rv ic es a sso cia te d w ith a w ife ’s tr a d iti o nal ro le — child care , ho m em akin g, and se x— fr o m poor co untr ie s to ric h ones. T o genera liz e a nd p erh ap s o vers im plify : in a n e arlie r p hase o f im peria lis m , n o rth ern c o untr ie s e xtr a cte d natu ra l re so urc es a nd a gric ultu ra l p ro ducts — ru b ber, m eta ls , a nd su gar, fo r e xam ple — fr o m la nd s th ey co nq uere d and co lo niz e d . T oday, w hile sti ll re ly in g on T hir d W orld co untr ie s fo r agric ultu ra l and in d ustr ia l la b or, th e w ealth y c o untr ie s a ls o se ek to e xtr a ct so m eth in g h ard er to m easu re a nd q uanti fy , so m eth in g th at c an l o ok v ery m uch l ik e l o ve. N annie s l ik e J o se p hin e b rin g th e d is ta nt f a m ilie s th at e m plo y th em r e al m ate rn al a ffe cti o n, n o d oub t e nhanced b y th e h eartb re akin g a b se nce o f th eir o w n c hild re n i n th e poor c o untr ie s th ey le av e b ehin d . S im ila rly , w om en w ho m ig ra te fr o m c o untr y to c o untr y to w ork a s maid s b rin g n o t o nly th eir m usc le p ow er b ut a n a tte nti v eness to d eta il a nd to th e h um an r e la ti o nsh ip s in th e ho use ho ld th at m ig ht o th erw is e hav e b een in v este d in th eir o w n fa m ilie s. S ex w ork ers o ffe r th e sim ula ti o n o f s e xual a nd r o m anti c lo ve, o r a t le ast tr a nsie nt s e xual c o m panio nsh ip . It is a s if th e w ealth y parts o f th e w orld a re r u nnin g s h o rt o n pre cio us e m oti o nal a nd s e xual r e so urc es a nd h av e h ad to tu rn to poore r r e gio ns f o r f r e sh s u p plie s. There a re p le nty o f h is to ric al p re ced ents fo r th is g lo baliz a ti o n o f tr a d iti o nal fe m ale s e rv ic es. In th e ancie nt M id dle E ast, th e w om en o f p opula ti o ns d efe ate d i n w ar w ere r o uti n ely e nsla v ed a nd h aule d o ff to se rv e a s h o use ho ld w ork ers a nd c o ncub in es f o r th e v ic to rs . A mong th e A fr ic ans b ro ught to N orth A meric a as s la v es in th e s ix te enth th ro ugh n in ete enth c entu rie s, a b out a th ir d w ere w om en a nd c hild re n, a nd m any of th o se w om en w ere pre sse d to be co ncub in es, dom esti c se rv ants , or both . N in ete enth -c entu ry Ir is h w om en— alo ng w ith m any ru ra l E nglis h w om en— mig ra te d to E nglis h to w ns a nd c iti e s to w ork a s dom esti c s in th e h o m es o f th e g ro w in g u p per m id dle c la ss. S erv ic es th o ught to b e in nate ly fe m in in e— child care , ho use w ork , and se x— ofte n w in littl e re co gniti o n or pay. B ut th ey hav e alw ays been su ffic ie ntl y in d em and to tr a nsp ort o ver lo ng d is ta nces if n ecessa ry . W hat is n ew to day is th e sh eer num ber o f fe m ale m ig ra nts a nd th e v ery lo ng d is ta nces th ey tr a v el. Im mig ra ti o n sta ti s ti c s sh o w h uge num bers o f w om en i n m oti o n, ty p ic ally f r o m p oor c o untr ie s to r ic h. A lth o ugh th e g ro ss s ta ti s ti c s g iv e l ittl e clu e a s to th e jo bs w om en e v entu ally ta ke, th ere a re r e aso ns to in fe r th at m uch o f th eir w ork is “ carin g work ,” p erfo rm ed e ith er in p riv ate h o m es o r in in sti tu ti o nal s e tti n gs s u ch a s h o sp ita ls , h o sp ic es, c hild – care c ente rs , a nd n urs in g h o m es. The s ta ti s ti c s a re , in m any w ays, fr u str a ti n g. W e h av e in fo rm ati o n o n le gal m ig ra nts b ut n o t o n ille gal mig ra nts , w ho , e xp erts te ll u s, tr a v el in e q ual if n o t g re ate r n um bers . F urth erm ore , m any T hir d W orld co untr ie s la ck d ata fo r p ast y ears , w hic h m akes it h ard to tr a ce tr e nd s o ver ti m e; o r th ey u se v ary in g meth o ds o f g ath erin g i n fo rm ati o n, w hic h m akes i t h ard to c o m pare o ne c o untr y w ith a no th er. N ev erth ele ss, th e tr e nd is c le ar e no ugh fo r s o m e s c ho la rs , in clu d in g S te p hen C astl e s, M ark M ille r, a nd J a net M om se n, to s p eak o f a “ fe m in iz a ti o n o f m ig ra ti o n.” 2 F ro m 1 950 to 1 970, fo r e xam ple , m en p re d om in ate d in la b or mig ra ti o n to no rth ern E uro pe fr o m T urk ey, G re ece, and N orth A fr ic a. S in ce th en, w om en hav e b een re p la cin g m en. In 1 946, w om en w ere fe w er th an 3 p erc ent o f th e A lg eria ns a nd M oro ccans liv in g in Fra nce; b y 1 990, th ey w ere m ore th an 4 0 p erc ent. 3 O vera ll, h alf o f th e w orld ’s 1 20 m illio n le gal a nd ille gal m ig ra nts a re n o w b elie v ed to b e w om en. Patte rn s o f in te rn ati o nal m ig ra ti o n v ary fr o m re gio n to re gio n, b ut wom en m ig ra nts fr o m a s u rp ris in g num ber o f s e nd in g c o untr ie s a ctu ally o utn um ber m en, s o m eti m es b y a w id e m arg in . F or e xam ple , in th e 1990s, w om en m ake u p o ver h alf o f F ilip in o m ig ra nts to a ll c o untr ie s a nd 8 4 p erc ent o f S ri L ankan mig ra nts to th e M id dle E ast. 4 In d eed , b y 1 993 sta ti s ti c s, S ri L ankan w om en su ch a s Jo se p hin e v astl y outn um bere d S ri L ankan m en a s m ig ra nt w ork ers w ho ’d le ft fo r S aud i A ra b ia , K uw ait, L eb ano n, O man, Bahra in , J o rd an, a nd Q ata r, a s w ell a s to a ll c o untr ie s o f th e F ar E ast, A fr ic a, a nd A sia . 5 A bout h alf o f th e mig ra nts le av in g M exic o , In d ia , K ore a, M ala ysia , C yp ru s, a nd S w azila nd to w ork e ls e w here a re a ls o wom en. T hro ugho ut th e 1 990s w om en o utn um bere d m en a m ong m ig ra nts to th e U nite d S ta te s, C anad a, Sw ed en, th e U nite d K in gd om , A rg enti n a, a nd I s ra el. 6 Most w om en, lik e m en, m ig ra te fr o m th e so uth to th e n o rth a nd fr o m p oor c o untr ie s to ric h o nes. Typ ic ally , m ig ra nts g o to th e n eare st c o m para ti v ely ric h c o untr y , p re fe ra b ly o ne w ho se la nguage th ey sp eak o r w ho se re lig io n a nd c ultu re th ey s h are . T here a re a ls o lo cal m ig ra to ry flo w s: fr o m n o rth ern to so uth ern T haila nd , fo r in sta nce, o r fr o m E ast G erm any to W est. B ut o f th e re gio nal o r c ro ss-re gio nal flo w s, fo ur sta nd out. O ne go es fr o m South east A sia to th e oil- ric h M id dle and Far E ast— fr o m Bangla d esh , In d onesia , th e P hilip pin es, a nd S ri L anka to B ahra in , O man, K uw ait, S aud i A ra b ia , H ong Kong, M ala ysia , a nd S in gap ore . A no th er s tr e am o f m ig ra ti o n g o es f r o m th e f o rm er S ovie t b lo c to w este rn Euro pe— fr o m R ussia , R om ania , B ulg aria , and A lb ania to Scand in av ia , G erm any, Fra nce, Spain , Portu gal, a nd E ngla nd . A th ir d g o es f r o m s o uth to n o rth i n th e A meric as, i n clu d in g th e s tr e am f r o m M exic o to th e U nite d S ta te s, w hic h sc ho la rs sa y is th e lo ngest- ru nnin g la b or m ig ra ti o n in th e w orld . A fo urth str e am m oves fr o m A fr ic a to v ario us p arts o f E uro pe. F ra nce re ceiv es m any fe m ale m ig ra nts fr o m Moro cco , T unis ia , a nd A lg eria . I ta ly r e ceiv es f e m ale w ork ers f r o m E th io pia , E ritr e a, a nd C ap e V erd e. Fem ale m ig ra nts o verw helm in gly ta ke u p w ork a s m aid s o r d om esti c s. A s w om en h av e b eco m e a n e v er gre ate r p ro porti o n o f m ig ra nt w ork ers , re ceiv in g co untr ie s re fle ct a d ra m ati c in flu x o f fo re ig n-b orn dom esti c s. I n th e U nite d S ta te s, A fr ic an-A meric an w om en, w ho a cco unte d f o r 6 0 p erc ent o f d om esti c s i n th e 1 940s, h av e b een l a rg ely r e p la ced b y L ati n as, m any o f th em r e cent m ig ra nts f r o m M exic o a nd C entr a l Americ a. I n E ngla nd , A sia n m ig ra nt w om en h av e d is p la ced th e I r is h a nd P ortu guese d om esti c s o f th e past. In F re nch c iti e s, N orth A fr ic an w om en h av e r e p la ced r u ra l F re nch g ir ls . In w este rn G erm any, T urk s a nd wom en fr o m th e fo rm er E ast G erm any h av e re p la ced ru ra l n ati v e-b orn w om en. F ore ig n fe m ale s fr o m co untr ie s o uts id e th e E uro pean U nio n m ad e u p o nly 6 p erc ent o f a ll d om esti c w ork ers i n 1 984. B y 1 987, th e p erc enta ge h ad j u m ped to 5 2, w ith m ost c o m in g f r o m th e P hilip pin es, S ri L anka, T haila nd , A rg enti n a, Colo m bia , B ra zil, E l S alv ad or, a nd P eru . 7 The g o vern m ents o f s o m e s e nd in g c o untr ie s a cti v ely e nco ura ge w om en to m ig ra te i n s e arc h o f d om esti c jo bs, r e aso nin g th at m ig ra nt w om en a re m ore l ik ely th an th eir m ale c o unte rp arts to s e nd th eir h ard -e arn ed wages to th eir fa m ilie s ra th er th an sp end in g th e m oney o n th em se lv es. In g enera l, w om en se nd h o m e anyw here fr o m h alf to n early a ll o f w hat th ey e arn . T hese re m itta nces h av e a s ig nific ant im pact o n th e liv es o f c hild re n, p are nts , s ib lin gs, a nd w id er n etw ork s o f k in — as w ell a s o n c ash -s tr a p ped T hir d W orld go vern m ents . T hus, b efo re J o se p hin e l e ft f o r A th ens, a p ro gra m s p onso re d b y th e S ri L ankan g o vern m ent ta ught h er h o w to u se a m ic ro w av e o ven, a v acuum c le aner, a nd a n e le ctr ic m ix er. A s s h e a w aite d h er flig ht, a s o ng p ip ed in to th e a ir p ort d ep artu re lo unge e xto lle d th e o pportu nity to e arn m oney a b ro ad . T he so ngw rite r w as i n th e p ay o f th e S ri L anka B ure au o f F ore ig n E m plo ym ent, a n o ffic e d ev is e d to e nco ura ge wom en to m ig ra te . T he l y ric s s a y: Afte r m uch h ard sh ip , s u ch d iffic u lt t im es How l u cky I a m t o w ork i n a f o re ig n l a nd. As t h e g old g ath ers s o d o m any g re ed y f lie s. But o ur g ood g overn m en t p ro te cts u s f r o m t h em . Afte r m uch h ard sh ip , s u ch d iffic u lt t im es, How l u cky I a m t o w ork i n a f o re ig n l a nd. I p ro m is e t o r e tu rn h om e w ith t r e a su re s f o r e very o ne. Why th is tr a nsfe r o f w om en’s tr a d iti o nal s e rv ic es fr o m p oor to ric h p arts o f th e w orld ? T he re aso ns are , i n a c ru d e w ay, e asy to g uess. W om en i n W este rn c o untr ie s h a v e i n cre asin gly ta ken o n p aid w ork , a nd hence n eed o th er— paid d om esti c s a nd c are ta kers f o r c hild re n a nd e ld erly p eo ple — to r e p la ce th em . 8 F or th eir p art, w om en in p oor c o untr ie s h av e a n o bvio us in centi v e to mig ra te : r e la ti v e a nd a b so lu te p overty . The “care d efic it” th at has em erg ed in th e w ealth ie r co untr ie s as w om en ente r th e w ork fo rc e pulls mig ra nts f r o m th e T hir d W orld a nd p ostc o m munis t n ati o ns; p overty push es th em . In b ro ad o utl in e, th is e xp la nati o n h o ld s tr u e. T hro ugho ut w este rn E uro pe, T aiw an, a nd J a p an, b ut a b ove all i n th e U nite d S ta te s, E ngla nd , a nd S w ed en, w om en’s e m plo ym ent h as i n cre ase d d ra m ati c ally s in ce th e 1970s. In th e U nite d S ta te s, fo r e xam ple , th e p ro porti o n o f w om en in p aid w ork r o se fr o m 1 5 p erc ent o f moth ers o f c hild re n s ix a nd u nd er i n 1 950 to 6 5 p erc ent to day. W om en n o w m ake u p 4 6 p erc ent o f th e U .S . la b or f o rc e. T hre e-q uarte rs o f m oth ers o f c hild re n e ig hte en a nd u nd er a nd n early tw o-th ir d s o f m oth ers o f child re n a ge o ne a nd y o unger n o w w ork fo r p ay. F urth erm ore , a cco rd in g to a r e cent In te rn ati o nal L ab or Org aniz a ti o n s tu d y, w ork in g A meric ans a v era ged lo nger h o urs a t w ork in th e la te 1 990s th an th ey d id in th e 1 970s. B y s o m e m easu re s, th e n um ber o f h o urs s p ent a t w ork h av e i n cre ase d m ore f o r w om en th an f o r men, a nd e sp ecia lly f o r w om en i n m anageria l a nd p ro fe ssio nal j o bs. Meanw hile , o ver th e l a st th ir ty y ears , a s th e r ic h c o untr ie s h av e g ro w n m uch r ic her, th e p oor c o untr ie s hav e b eco m e— in b oth a b so lu te a nd r e la ti v e te rm s— poore r. G lo bal i n eq ualiti e s i n w ages a re p arti c ula rly str ik in g. In H ong K ong, fo r in sta nce, th e w ages o f a F ilip in a d om esti c a re a b out fifte en ti m es th e a m ount sh e c o uld m ake a s a s c ho olte acher b ack i n th e P hilip pin es. I n a d diti o n, p oor c o untr ie s tu rn in g to th e I M F or W orld B ank fo r lo ans a re o fte n fo rc ed to u nd erta ke m easu re s o f s o -c alle d s tr u ctu ra l a d ju stm ent, w ith dis a str o us re su lts fo r th e poor and esp ecia lly fo r poor w om en and child re n. T o qualify fo r lo ans, go vern m ents a re u su ally re q uir e d to d ev alu e th eir c urre ncie s, w hic h tu rn s th e h ard c urre ncie s o f ric h co untr ie s in to g o ld a nd th e s o ft c urre ncie s o f p oor c o untr ie s in to s tr a w . S tr u ctu ra l a d ju stm ent p ro gra m s als o c all f o r c uts i n s u p port f o r “ no nco m peti ti v e i n d ustr ie s,” a nd f o r th e r e d ucti o n o f p ub lic s e rv ic es s u ch as h ealth c are a nd fo od s u b sid ie s fo r th e p oor. C iti z e ns o f p oor c o untr ie s, w om en a s w ell a s m en, th us hav e a s tr o ng i n centi v e to s e ek w ork i n m ore f o rtu nate p arts o f th e w orld . But it w ould b e a m is ta ke to a ttr ib ute th e g lo baliz a ti o n o f w om en’s w ork to a s im ple s y nerg y o f n eed s am ong w om en— one g ro up , i n th e a fflu ent c o untr ie s, n eed in g h elp a nd th e o th er, i n p oor c o untr ie s, n eed in g jo bs. F or o ne th in g, th is f o rm ula ti o n f a ils to a cco unt f o r th e m ark ed f a ilu re o f F ir s t W orld g o vern m ents to meet th e n eed s c re ate d b y its w om en’s e ntr y in to th e w ork fo rc e. The d ow nsiz e d A meric an— and to a le sse r d egre e, w este rn E uro pean— welfa re sta te h as b eco m e a “ d ead beat d ad .” U nlik e th e re st o f th e in d ustr ia liz e d w orld , th e U nite d S ta te s d oes n o t o ffe r p ub lic c hild c are fo r w ork in g m oth ers , n o r d oes it ensu re p aid fa m ily a nd m ed ic al le av e. M ore o ver, a s e rie s o f s ta te ta x re v olts in th e 1 980s re d uced th e num ber o f h o urs p ub lic lib ra rie s w ere o pen a nd s la sh ed s c ho o l- e nric hm ent a nd a fte r-s c ho ol p ro gra m s. Euro pe d id n o t e xp erie nce a nyth in g c o m para b le . S ti ll, te ns o f m illio ns o f w este rn E uro pean w om en a re i n th e w ork fo rc e w ho w ere n o t b efo re — and th ere h as b een n o p ro porti o nate e xp ansio n i n p ub lic s e rv ic es. Seco nd ly , a ny v ie w o f th e g lo baliz a ti o n o f d om esti c w ork a s s im ply a n a rra ngem ent a m ong w om en co m ple te ly o m its th e ro le o f m en. N um ero us stu d ie s, in clu d in g so m e o f o ur o w n, h av e sh o w n th at a s Americ an w om en to ok on paid em plo ym ent, th e m en in th eir fa m ilie s did littl e to in cre ase th eir co ntr ib uti o n to th e w ork o f th e h o m e. F or e xam ple , o nly o ne o ut o f e v ery fiv e m en a m ong th e w ork in g co up le s w ho m H ochsc hild in te rv ie w ed fo r The S eco nd S hift in th e 1 980s s h are d th e w ork a t h o m e, a nd la te r stu d ie s su ggest th at w hile w ork in g m oth ers are doin g so m ew hat le ss ho use w ork th an th eir co unte rp arts tw enty y ears a go , m ost m en a re d oin g o nly a littl e m ore . 9 W ith d iv orc e, m en fr e q uentl y ab dic ate th eir c hild -c are r e sp onsib iliti e s to th eir e x-w iv es. I n m ost c ultu re s o f th e F ir s t W orld o uts id e th e Unite d S ta te s, p ow erfu l tr a d iti o ns e v en m ore fir m ly d is c o ura ge h usb and s fr o m d oin g “ w om en’s w ork .” So, str ic tl y sp eakin g, th e p re se nce o f im mig ra nt n annie s d oes n o t e nab le a fflu ent w om en to e nte r th e work fo rc e; i t e nab le s a fflu ent men to c o nti n ue a v oid in g th e s e co nd s h ift. The m en in w ealth ie r c o untr ie s a re a ls o , o f c o urs e , d ir e ctl y r e sp onsib le fo r th e d em and fo r im mig ra nt se x w ork ers — as w ell a s f o r th e s e xual a b use o f m any m ig ra nt w om en w ho w ork a s d om esti c s. W hy, w e wond ere d , i s th ere a p arti c ula r d em and f o r “ im porte d ” s e xual p artn ers ? P art o f th e a nsw er m ay l ie i n th e fa ct th at new im mig ra nts o fte n ta ke up th e le ast d esir a b le w ork , and , th anks to th e A ID S ep id em ic , pro sti tu ti o n h as b eco m e a jo b th at e v er fe w er w om en d elib era te ly c ho ose . B ut p erh ap s so m e o f th is dem and , a s w e se e in D enis e B re nnan’s c hap te r o n se x to uris m , g ro w s o ut o f th e e ro ti c lu re o f th e “exo ti c .” Im mig ra nt w om en m ay se em d esir a b le se xual p artn ers fo r th e sa m e re aso n th at F ir s t W orld em plo yers b elie v e th em to b e e sp ecia lly g ifte d a s c are giv ers : th ey a re th o ught to e m body th e tr a d iti o nal fe m in in e q ualiti e s o f n urtu ra nce, d ocility , a nd e agern ess to p le ase . S om e m en fe el no sta lg ic fo r th ese qualiti e s, w hic h th ey a sso cia te w ith a b ygo ne w ay o f life . E ven a s m any w age-e arn in g W este rn w om en assim ila te to th e c o m peti ti v e c ultu re o f “ m ale ” w ork a nd a sk r e sp ect f o r m akin g i t i n a m an’s w orld , s o m e men s e ek i n th e “ exo ti c O rie nt” o r “ ho t- b lo oded tr o pic s” a w om an f r o m th e i m agin ed p ast. Of co urs e , no t all se x w ork ers m ig ra te v olu nta rily . A n ala rm in g num ber o f w om en and gir ls are tr a ffic ked b y s m uggle rs a nd s o ld in to b ond age. B ecause tr a ffic kin g is ille gal a nd s e cre t, th e n um bers a re hard to k no w w ith a ny c erta in ty . K ev in B ale s e sti m ate s th at in T haila nd a lo ne, a c o untr y o f 6 0 m illio n, half a m illio n to a m illio n w om en a re p ro sti tu te s, a nd o ne o ut o f e v ery tw enty o f th ese is e nsla v ed . 10 A s Bale s’s c hap te r i n th is b ook s h o w s, m any o f th ese w om en a re d aughte rs w ho m n o rth ern h ill- tr ib e f a m ilie s hav e s o ld to b ro th els i n th e c iti e s o f th e s o uth . B elie v in g th e p ro m is e s o f j o bs a nd m oney, s o m e b egin th e voyage w illin gly , o nly to d is c o ver d ays l a te r th at th e “ arra ngers ” a re tr a ffic kers w ho s te al th eir p assp orts , defin e th em a s d eb to rs , a nd e nsla v e th em a s p ro sti tu te s. O th er w om en a nd g ir ls a re k id nap ped , o r s o ld b y th eir im poveris h ed fa m ilie s, and th en tr a ffic ked to bro th els . E ven w ors e fa te s befa ll w om en fr o m neig hb orin g L ao s a nd B urm a, w ho f le e c ru sh in g p overty a nd r e p re ssio n a t h o m e o nly to f a ll i n to th e h and s of T hai s la v e tr a d ers . If th e fa cto rs th at p ull m ig ra nt w om en w ork ers to a fflu ent c o untr ie s a re n o t a s s im ple a s th ey a t fir s t ap pear, neith er are th e fa cto rs th at push th em . C erta in ly re la ti v e poverty pla ys a m ajo r ro le , but, in te re sti n gly , m ig ra nt w om en o fte n d o n o t c o m e fr o m th e p oore st c la sse s o f th eir s o cie ti e s. 11 In fa ct, th ey are ty p ic ally m ore afflu ent and b ette r ed ucate d th an m ale m ig ra nts . M any fe m ale m ig ra nts fr o m th e Philip pin es a nd M exic o , fo r e xam ple , h av e h ig h s c ho ol o r c o lle ge d ip lo m as a nd h av e h eld m id dle -c la ss —alb eit lo w -p aid — jo bs b ack h o m e. O ne s tu d y o f M exic an m ig ra nts s u ggests th at th e tr e nd is to w ard in cre asin gly b ette r-e d ucate d fe m ale m ig ra nts . T hir ty y ears a go , m ost M exic an-b orn m aid s in th e U nite d Sta te s h ad b een p oorly e d ucate d m aid s in M exic o . N ow a m ajo rity h av e h ig h s c ho ol d egre es a nd h av e held c le ric al, r e ta il, o r p ro fe ssio nal j o bs b efo re l e av in g f o r th e U nite d S ta te s. 12 S uch w om en a re l ik ely to be e nte rp ris in g a nd a d ventu ro us e no ugh to r e sis t th e s o cia l p re ssu re s to s ta y h o m e a nd a ccep t th eir lo t in life . Noneco no m ic fa cto rs — or at le ast fa cto rs th at are no t im med ia te ly and dir e ctl y eco no m ic — als o in flu ence a w om an’s d ecis io n to e m ig ra te . B y mig ra ti n g, a w om an m ay e sc ap e th e e xp ecta ti o n th at s h e care fo r e ld erly fa m ily m em bers , r e lin q uis h h er p aycheck to a h usb and o r fa th er, o r d efe r to a n a b usiv e husb and . M ig ra ti o n m ay a ls o b e a p ra cti c al re sp onse to a fa ile d m arria ge a nd th e n eed to p ro vid e fo r child re n w ith o ut m ale h elp . In th e P hilip pin es, c o ntr ib uto r R hacel S ala za r P arre ñas te lls u s, m ig ra ti o n is so m eti m es c alle d a “ P hilip pin e d iv orc e.” A nd th ere a re fo rc es a t w ork th at m ay b e m akin g th e m en o f poor c o untr ie s le ss d esir a b le a s h usb and s. M ale u nem plo ym en t ru ns h ig h in th e c o untr ie s th at su p ply fe m ale d om esti c s to th e F ir s t W orld . U nab le to m ake a liv in g, th ese m en o fte n g ro w d em ora liz e d a nd cease c o ntr ib uti n g to th eir fa m ilie s in o th er w ays. M any fe m ale m ig ra nts , in clu d in g th o se in M ic hele Gam burd ’s c hap te r in th is v olu m e, te ll o f u nem plo yed h usb and s w ho d rin k o r g am ble th eir re m itta nces aw ay. N ote s o ne s tu d y o f S ri L ankan w om en w ork in g a s m aid s in th e P ers ia n G ulf: “ It is n o t u nusu al … fo r th e w om en to fin d u p on th eir re tu rn th at th eir G ulf w ages b y a nd la rg e h av e b een sq uand ere d o n alc o ho l, g am blin g a nd o th er d ub io us u nd erta kin gs w hile th ey w ere a w ay.” 13 To a n e xte nt th en, th e g lo baliz a ti o n o f c hild c are a nd h o use w ork b rin gs th e a m biti o us a nd in d ep end ent wom en o f th e w orld to geth er: th e c are er-o rie nte d u p per-m id dle -c la ss w om an o f a n a fflu ent n ati o n a nd th e str iv in g w om an fr o m a c ru m blin g T hir d W orld o r p ostc o m munis t e co no m y. O nly it d oes n o t b rin g th em to geth er i n th e w ay th at s e co nd -w av e f e m in is ts i n a fflu ent c o untr ie s o nce l ik ed to i m agin e— as s is te rs a nd allie s s tr u gglin g to a chie v e c o m mon g o als . In ste ad , th ey c o m e to geth er a s m is tr e ss a nd m aid , e m plo yer and e m plo yee, a cro ss a g re at d iv id e o f p riv ile ge a nd o pportu nity . This tr e nd to w ard glo bal re d iv is io n o f w om en’s tr a d iti o nal w ork th ro w s new lig ht o n th e enti r e pro cess o f g lo baliz a ti o n. C onv enti o nally , i t i s th e p oore r c o untr ie s th at a re th o ught to b e d ep end ent o n th e ric her o nes— a d ep end ency s y m boliz e d b y th e h uge d eb t th ey o w e to g lo bal fin ancia l in sti tu ti o ns. W hat we exp lo re in th is book, ho w ev er, is a dep end ency th at w ork s in th e oth er dir e cti o n, and it is a dep end ency o f a p arti c ula rly i n ti m ate k in d . I n cre asin gly o fte n, a s a fflu ent a nd m id dle -c la ss f a m ilie s i n th e Fir s t W orld c o m e to d ep end o n m ig ra nts fr o m p oore r re gio ns to p ro vid e c hild c are , h o m em akin g, a nd se xual se rv ic es, a glo bal re la ti o nsh ip aris e s th at in so m e w ays m ir ro rs th e tr a d iti o nal re la ti o nsh ip betw een th e s e xes. T he F ir s t W orld ta kes o n a ro le lik e th at o f th e o ld -fa sh io ned m ale in th e fa m ily — pam pere d , e nti tl e d , u nab le to c o ok, c le an, o r f in d h is s o cks. P oor c o untr ie s ta ke o n a r o le lik e th at o f th e tr a d iti o nal w om an w ith in th e fa m ily — pati e nt, n urtu rin g, a nd s e lf- d enyin g. A d iv is io n o f la b or fe m in is ts criti q ued w hen i t w as “ lo cal” h as n o w , m eta p ho ric ally s p eakin g, g o ne g lo bal. To p re ss th is m eta p ho r a b it f u rth er, th e r e su lti n g r e la ti o nsh ip i s b y n o m eans a “ m arria ge,” i n th e s e nse of b ein g o penly a ckno w le d ged . In fa ct, it is s tr ik in g h o w in v is ib le th e g lo baliz a ti o n o f w om en’s w ork re m ain s, h o w littl e it is n o te d o r d is c usse d in th e F ir s t W orld . T re nd s p otte rs h av e h ad a lm ost n o th in g to sa y a b out th e f a ct th at i n cre asin g n um bers o f a fflu ent F ir s t W orld c hild re n a nd e ld erly p ers o ns a re te nd ed by im mig ra nt c are w ork ers o r liv e in h o m es c le aned b y im mig ra nt m aid s. E ven th e p oliti c al g ro up s w e mig ht e xp ect to b e c o ncern ed a b out th is tr e nd — anti g lo baliz a ti o n a nd fe m in is t a cti v is ts — ofte n s e em to hav e no ti c ed o nly th e m ost extr a v agant ab use s, su ch as tr a ffic kin g and fe m ale ensla v em ent. S o if a meta p ho ric ally g end ere d re la ti o nsh ip h as d ev elo ped b etw een ric h a nd p oor c o untr ie s, it is le ss lik e a marria ge a nd m ore l ik e a s e cre t a ffa ir. But i t i s a “ se cre t a ffa ir ” c o nd ucte d i n p la in v ie w o f th e c hild re n. L ittl e I s a d ora a nd th e o th er c hild re n of th e F ir s t W orld ra is e d b y “ tw o m om mie s” m ay b e le arn in g m ore th an th eir A BC’s fr o m a lo vin g su rro gate p are nt. I n th eir o w n l iv in g r o om s, th ey a re l e arn in g a v ast a nd tr a gic g lo bal p oliti c s. 14 C hild re n se e. B ut th ey a ls o l e arn h o w to d is re gard w hat th ey s e e. T hey l e arn h o w a d ults m ake th e v is ib le i n v is ib le . That i s th eir “ early c hild ho od e d ucati o n.” In th is v olu m e, w e h o pe to m ake th e in v is ib le v is ib le a gain . T he e ssa ys w e b rin g to geth er r a nge fr o m pers o nal re co lle cti o n to eco no m ic analy sis , and th ey sp an th e glo be fr o m T aiw an to M exic o , fr o m Thaila nd to th e D om in ic an R ep ub lic . S om e e ssa ys d esc rib e a g lo bal tr a nsfe r o f e m oti o nal re so urc es (H ochsc hild , P arre ñas), w hile o th ers c o nsid er th e p re ssu re s g lo bal c ap ita lis m p uts o n w om en a nd th eir fa m ilie s ( S asse n). S om e p oin t to th e d ile m mas m ig ra nt d om esti c w ork ers r a is e fo r F ir s t W orld fe m in is m (E hre nre ic h, A nd ers o n) and in q uir e in to th e sim ila riti e s and diffe re nces betw een th e situ ati o ns of em plo yed a nd e m plo yer ( C heev er, H ond agneu-S ote lo , C onsta b le , R iv as, Z are m bka). S ev era l e ssa ys f o cus on ho w im mig ra nt nannie s and m aid s hav e assu m ed th e ta sk s asso cia te d w ith tr a d iti o nal fa m ily re la ti o nsh ip s, lik e th e o blig ati o ns o f d aughte rs -in -la w in T aiw an ( L an). S ti ll o th ers in v esti g ate th e w ays th at w om en’s m ig ra ti o n has m odifie d re la ti o nsh ip s b etw een m en and w om en— both in m arria ge and th ro ugh th e g lo bal s e x tr a d e ( B re nnan, G am burd , B ale s, T hai) . The g lo baliz a ti o n o f w om en’s tr a d iti o nal ro le p ose s im porta nt c halle nges to a nyo ne c o ncern ed a b out gend er and eco no m ic in eq uity . H ow can w e im pro ve th e liv es and o pportu niti e s o f m ig ra nt w om en engaged in le gal occup ati o ns su ch as nannie s and m aid s? H ow can w e pre v ent tr a ffic kin g and ensla v em ent? M ore b asic ally , c an w e f in d a w ay to c o unte rb ala nce th e s y ste m ati c tr a nsfe r o f c arin g w ork fr o m p oor c o untr ie s to r ic h, a nd th e i n ev ita b le tr a um a o f th e c hild re n l e ft b ehin d ? O ur c o ntr ib uto rs d o n o t hav e e asy a nsw ers , b ut th eir e ssa ys, m any b ase d o n r e cent a nd e xte nsiv e fie ld w ork , d o h elp u s ta ke th at esse nti a l f ir s t s te p — to b rin g th e w orld ’s m ost i n v is ib le w om en i n to th e l ig ht. B efo re w e c an h o pe to f in d acti v is t s o lu ti o ns, w e n eed to s e e th ese w om en a s f u ll h um an b ein gs. T hey a re s tr iv ers a s w ell a s v ic ti m s, wiv es a nd m oth ers a s w ell a s w ork ers — sis te rs , in o th er w ord s, w ith w ho m w e in th e F ir s t W orld m ay so m ed ay d efin e a c o m mon a gend a. The N an ny D ile m ma SU SA N C H EEV ER D om in iq ue c am e to N ew Y ork e ig ht y ears a go , b ut s h e s a ys it w ould ta ke a life ti m e to fig ure o ut N ew Y ork ers . W e te ach o ur k id s th at m oney c an’t b uy lo ve, a nd th en w e g o r ig ht a head a nd b uy it fo r th em — h ir in g s tr a ngers to l o ve th em , b ecause w e h av e m ore i m porta nt th in gs to d o. “ Y ou a re w ork aho lic s, th at’ s f o r s u re ,” s h e te lls m e, in th e lilti n g is la nd a ccent s h e u se s fo r u np le asa nt tr u th s. “ It’ s w ork , w ork , w ork w ith y o u, a nd m oney, m oney, m oney. Y ou a naly ze e v ery littl e s tu p id th in g, a nd th en y o u r u n o ff to s o m e t h era p is t to g et th e a nsw ers .” S he s h akes h er h ead a nd l a ughs, f id dlin g w ith a r e d p la sti c T hund erz o rd m y f iv e-y ear-o ld s o n h as le ft o n th e ta b le . S tr a ngest o f a ll, s h e s a ys, w e s u p ers m art N ew Y ork ers a re a fr a id o f o ur c hild re n— afr a id to s a y n o , a fr a id to d eny th em a nyth in g th at o th er k id s h av e. “ It’ s h ard fo r th e n annie s to a d ju st to o ur N ew Y ork w ay,” s a ys E ile en S te in o f T ow n & C ountr y , a n a gency th at h as p la ced D om in iq ue in s e v era l jo bs. “ H ere c hild re n a re th e b oss. T he c hild re n r u n th e h o m e. T he p are nts le t th e c hild re n d o w hate v er th ey w ant.” If th ere ’s a g o od w om an b ehin d e v ery g re at m an, b ehin d e v ery g re at w om an th ere ’s a g o od n anny. T he r e str u ctu rin g o f th e A meric an fa m ily h as c re ate d a h uge d em and fo r c hild c are . A cco rd in g to a 1 992 D ep artm ent o f Consu m er A ffa ir s r e p ort th at c alls th e n anny-p la cem ent in d ustr y a “ fr e e-fo r-a ll,” th ere a re a lm ost 4 00,0 00 c hild re n u nd er th ir te en in N ew Y ork C ity w ho se p are nts b oth w ork , a nd fe w er th an 1 00,0 00 p la ces fo r th em in a fte r-s c ho ol a nd d ay-c are p ro gra m s. T he d em and fo r c hild c are a t h o m e h as b een m et by an unre gula te d patc hw ork of agencie s, a fe w exp erie nced nannie s, and th o usa nd s of i m mig ra nt w om en l o okin g f o r j o bs th at r e q uir e n o tr a in in g, n o d egre es, a nd , o fte n, n o p ap ers . “ It’ s h ard to m ake a liv in g b ack h o m e,” s a ys D om in iq ue, w ho c am e fr o m T rin id ad o n a to uris t v is a w hen s h e w as t w enty , le av in g b ehin d a jo b th at p aid th e e q uiv ale nt o f $ 130 a w eek. “ W ork in g h ere a nd s e nd in g m oney h o m e i s th e o nly w ay I c an ta ke c are o f m y f a m ily .” This c o llis io n o f n ecessity a nd n eed i s a d is a ste r f o r w ork in g m oth ers , w ho h av e to f in d r e lia b le c hild c are in a n u nre lia b le m ark et, a nd fo r th e n annie s w ho w ork fo r th em w ith n o p ro te cti o n o r g uara nte es. M any N ew Y ork n annie s a re fr o m th e C arib bean— Trin id ad , J a m aic a, o th er is la nd s o f th e W est In d ie s— b ut th ere a re th o usa nd s o f P hilip pin e, Ir is h , a nd S outh a nd C entr a l A meric an n annie s, to o. ( A n anny is a f u ll- ti m e w ork er w ho l iv es i n o r o ut a nd i s p aid b etw een $ 250 a nd $ 600 a w eek. A b ab y n urs e l iv es i n f o r t w enty -fo ur h o urs a d ay d urin g th e fir s t w eeks o f a n in fa nt’ s life a nd g ets $ 100 a d ay o r m ore .) U su ally , n annie s a rriv e w ith v is a s th at a re v alid f o r a f e w m onth s. B ut f in d in g a g o od l e gal n anny i s s o d iffic ult th at m any fa m ilie s a re w illin g to b re ak th e la w . A nd a gencie s so m eti m es lie a b out th e le gal sta tu s o f th e n annie s th ey p la ce. Dom in iq ue i s l u cky; s h e g o t h er g re en c ard th ro ugh o ne o f th e f ir s t f a m ilie s s h e w ork ed f o r. B ut i n e ig ht y ears s h e h as h ad e ig ht j o bs— so m e g o od, s o m e b ad , s o m e u gly . T hese d ays, s h e l iv es i n B ro okly n— lik e m ost n annie s, s h e c an’t a ffo rd M anhatta n r e nts — and w ork s f o r a p ro fe ssio nal c o up le w ho l iv e w ith th eir t w o c hild re n i n a b ig p ostw ar b uild in g o n E ast E ig hty -s ix th S tr e et. S he h as w ork ed i n G re enw ic h V illa ge (s h e lo ves it) , o n th e U pper W est S id e ( s h e h ate s it) , a nd in th e s u b urb s ( tr a p ped !) . F ro m 1 992 to 1 994, sh e w ork ed fo r m e, ta kin g care o f m y tw o child re n. I had alw ays th o ught o f m yse lf as th e p erfe ct em plo yer; w hen I in te rv ie w ed D om in iq ue fo r th is a rti c le — in w hic h I h av e c hanged so m e n am es a nd id enti fy in g d eta ils — sh e g entl y s e t m e s tr a ig ht. Dom in iq ue’s m orn in g b egin s i n th e d ark , i n th e h eart o f B ro okly n. S he s w itc hes o n C D 1 01.9 r a d io a nd Channel 5 T V ( Good D ay N ew Y o rk ), a nd slid es a w orn B ib le o ut fr o m u nd er h er p illo w . “ C onsid er th e lilie s o f th e f ie ld , h o w th ey g ro w ,” s h e r e ad s. “ T hey to il n o t, n eith er d o th ey s p in .” I t’ s 6 :0 8 A .M ., a nd th e te m pera tu re is th ir ty -s ix d egre es. T here a re ti e -u p s o n th e G eo rg e W ash in gto n B rid ge a nd te n-m in ute dela ys o n th e L exin gto n A venue lin e. “ T ake th ere fo re n o th o ught fo r th e m orro w ,” s h e r e ad s. “ S uffic ie nt unto th e d ay is th e e v il th ere o f.” H er a p artm ent, a s tu d io th at c o sts $ 504 a m onth , is s p ars e ly fu rn is h ed , with a g la ss-to pped d in in g r o om ta b le a nd c hair s fr o m W ork b ench, a nd a b ed ; D om in iq ue w ould r a th er hav e n o fu rn itu re th an th e ta cky s tu ff s o m e o f h er fr ie nd s c ro w d in to th eir a p artm ents . N ext to th e s te re o sy ste m a re n eat p ile s o f T oni B ra xto n a nd L uth er V and ro ss ta p es a nd th e e ig ht- p ound d um bbells th at Dom in iq ue u se s th re e o r fo ur ti m es a w eek— sh e d oes h alf a n h o ur o f lifti n g a nd tw enty m in ute s o f aero bic s. O ut th e w in d ow , b eyo nd th e fir e e sc ap e, s h e c an s e e th e S ears s ig n o ver n ear F la tb ush A venue and th e o utl in e o f C anars ie o ut to w ard J a m aic a B ay. Out o n E ig hty -s ix th S tr e et, a n i c y w in d i s b lo w in g o ff th e E ast R iv er. D om in iq ue th in ks o f N ew Y ork a s ho m e, b ut s h e’ll n ev er g et u se d to h o w c o ld i t i s h ere a nd th e w ay n ig ht f a lls a t f o ur o ’c lo ck i n th e w in te r. She s to ps to b uy a n o ra nge a nd a S nap ple . T he p eo ple s h e w ork s fo r e at o ut, a nd th eir c hild re n liv e o n sw eet c ere al, b re ad , b oxed f r u it j u ic e, a nd p eanut b utte r a nd j e lly th at a re p re m ix ed i n th e j a r. D om in iq ue nurs e s h er S nap ple (g uav a o r p in k-g ra p efr u it fla v ore d ) a ll d ay, e ats th e o ra nge w hen s h e’s h ungry , a nd tr ie s to m ake h ers e lf a p ro per d in ner w hen sh e g ets h o m e. O n a g o od n ig ht, sh e m akes so m e c urrie d chic ken and ste am s so m e bro cco li. O n a bad nig ht, sh e sto ps at B urg er K in g fo r a sh ake. N ow , sh o uld erin g h er w ay th ro ugh th e c ro w ds, s h e p asse s th e h ealth -fo od s to re w here k id s e at v egeta ria n p iz za . She a v oid s l o okin g i n th e w in d ow s o f a n ew , e xp ensiv e s h o e s to re : s h e l o ves to b uy s h o es. At Y ork A venue, s h e tu rn s a w ay fr o m h er d esti n ati o n a nd g o es a ro und th e c o rn er o f E ig hty -s e v enth Str e et to S t. J o se p h’s C hurc h. I n sid e, s h e c ro sse s h ers e lf w ith h o ly w ate r, l ig hts a c and le , a nd k neels n ear th e b ack, w here s ta in ed -g la ss w in d ow s th ro w s p la sh es o f c o lo r o n th e w hite w ash ed w alls . It’ s a lm ost eig ht o ’c lo ck. T he p eo ple sh e w ork s fo r are ju st getti n g o ut o f b ed . B ut as sh e kneels D om in iq ue dayd re am s fo r a m in ute , re m em berin g h o m e: th e b ig w hite -a nd -b lu e h o use in V ale ncia w here s h e liv ed afte r h er m oth er m arrie d th e s m all to w n’s u no ffic ia l m ayo r, B ig D ad dy W ill D ia m ond . T he c and le is fo r her m oth er. S he a ls o p ra ys fo r h er o w n e ig ht- y ear-o ld d aughte r, Cry sta l, w ho liv es in V ale ncia w ith Dom in iq ue’s s is te r. D om in iq ue h asn ’t s e en h er d aughte r i n th re e y ears . A s s h e p ra ys, s h e f e els a f a m ilia r, sh arp s a d ness a b out C ry sta l. T hen s h e r e m in d s h ers e lf th at th e m oney s h e i s m akin g w ill b uy h er d aughte r an e d ucati o n, s o th at s h e c an g e t a s ta b le jo b w ith g o od w ages— sh e w on’t e nd u p in N ew Y ork ta kin g care o f o th er p eo ple ’s c hild re n. When D om in iq ue w as g ro w in g u p , sh e a lw ays k new sh e w asn ’t g o in g to b e a ty p ic al T rin i g ir l— hangin g o ut i n V ale ncia , w ith i ts d ead -e nd j o bs a nd g ir ls w ho h ad c hild re n w hen th ey w ere s ti ll c hild re n. She w as g o in g a lo t fa rth er th an S angre G ra nd e, th e n eare st b ig to w n, w hic h e v ery o ne c alle d S and y Gra nd y. D om in iq ue h ad a n a unt w ho l iv ed i n L ond on, b ut s h e f a v ore d N ew Y ork . S he s a w Satu rd ay N ig ht Fever f o ur ti m es. E very S und ay s h e w atc hed Fam e, th e T V s h o w s ta rrin g th e l u cky k id s a t th e N ew Y ork Scho ol o f P erfo rm in g A rts , w ho s to pped tr a ffic w ith th eir d ancin g. D om in iq ue lo ved to d ance. S he s ti ll does, tu rn in g u p th e v olu m e a nd p ullin g d ow n th e s h ad es a nd p ra ncin g a lo ne a ro und h er littl e r o om . B ut no w sh e k no w s th at n o th in g sto ps N ew Y ork tr a ffic . “ T ake th ere fo re n o th o ught fo r th e m orro w ,” sh e re m em bers a s s h e c ro sse s E ig hty -s ix th S tr e et to w ork . “ S uffic ie nt u nto th e d ay i s th e e v il th ere o f.” Dom in iq ue s m ile s a t th e d oorm an a nd l e ts h ers e lf i n to th e a p artm ent. S uza nne i s d esp era te ly j ig glin g th e cry in g b ab y o n o ne h ip w hile s h e tr ie s to m ake a p eanut- b utte r-a nd -je lly s a nd w ic h. T he d og is y ap pin g. Em ily , th e f iv e-y ear-o ld , i s g ig glin g a nd e ati n g F ro ot L oops a t th e k itc hen ta b le . T here ’s a p ud dle o f m ilk on th e flo or. S uza nne’s n ig htg o w n is s ta in ed w ith a p ple -s a uce a nd in sta nt c o ffe e. D om in iq ue s a ys g o od morn in g; in r e sp onse , S uza nne g ro ans a nd h and s h er th e b ab y. D om in iq ue c an h ear th e s h o w er: H enry is getti n g r e ad y f o r w ork . It’ s a m odern a p artm ent, w ith l o ts o f l ig ht, b ut i t’ s c ro w ded w ith f u rn itu re , a nd u no pened m over’s b oxes are p ile d i n o ne c o rn er. T he k itc hen c o unte rs a re o verflo w in g w ith d is h es, a nd th e c ab in ets a re f ille d w ith pap er p la te s a nd a p plia nces th at a re s ti ll i n b ub ble w ra p . W hen D om in iq ue to ok th is j o b, s ix m onth s a go , Suza nne e xp la in ed th at th ey h ad ju st m oved in . L ate r, D om in iq ue fo und o ut th at th ey h ad “ ju st m oved in ” in 1 992; s h e h as o fte n h eard H enry b oast th at th ey g o t th e a p artm ent f o r a g re at p ric e i n a b uyer’s m ark et. The bab y sc re eches w ith delig ht and th en gru nts w ith sa ti s fa cti o n, wig glin g his w ho le body in Dom in iq ue’s a rm s. D om in iq ue k is se s h im o n th e to p o f h is d ow ny h ead a nd s ile ntl y te lls h im to c hill. S he doesn ’t w ant S uza nne to b e j e alo us. S he d oesn ’t l ik e d ealin g w ith p are nts ’ j e alo usy o f th e b ond s th at s h e fo rm s w ith th eir c hild re n. “ T hey w ant u s to b e m oth er a nd f a th er to th ese c hild re n,” s h e s a ys. “ T hey’re th e ones w ho b ro ught th e k id s in to th e w orld , b ut th en th ey d on’t h av e ti m e to ra is e th em . S o th e k id s g et atta ched to y o u, b ecause y o u’re th e o ne w ho ’s a lw ays th ere . T hen th e p are nts g et a ngry .” This i s p art o f w hat D om in iq ue a nd h er f r ie nd s c all th e a tta chm ent f a cto r— one o f th e m ost i n tr a nsig ent pro ble m s o f b ein g a N ew Y ork n anny. “ T he k id s s e e y o u a ll th e ti m e, a nd th ey a ssu m e y o u a re g o in g to b e part o f th eir l ife ,” s a ys S ally , a n I r is h n anny, w ho i s D om in iq ue’s c lo se st f r ie nd i n th e b uild in g. S ally h as had th re e jo bs in fiv e y ears . T w o y ears a go , s h e a p plie d fo r a p ositi o n w ith a r ic h, p ro m in ent N ew Y ork fa m ily . W hen s h e w as in te rv ie w ed , s h e w as to ld s h e w ould w ear a u nifo rm , w ould h av e to b e a v aila b le fo r tr a v elin g, a nd w ould n ev er u nd er a ny c ir c um sta nces s p eak d ir e ctl y w ith th e p are nts o f th e c hild re n s h e was c arin g f o r— th e f a m ily h ad h ir e d a l ia is o n p ers o n f o r th at. S he to ok th e j o b o n E ast E ig hty -s ix th S tr e et in ste ad . “W hen y o u l e av e, th e c hild re n c an b e d ev asta te d — and i t c an b re ak y o ur h eart to o,” S ally s a ys. N annie s ra re ly g et n o ti c e. T hen th ere ’s th e p ro ble m o f th e h o urs , w hic h s e em to g et m ore f le xib le ( i.e ., l o nger) th e lo nger y o u w ork f o r a f a m ily . T here ’s a ls o th e p ro ble m o f b ein g a sk ed to d o w ork — dog w alk in g, i r o nin g, se rv in g a t d in ner p arti e s— th at w as n o t p art o f th e jo b d esc rip ti o n a nd w as n o t in clu d ed in th e o rig in al sa la ry . A nd i f th e j o b c an s o m eti m es b e to o f le xib le , th e s a la ry i s o fte n i n fle xib le : m any e m plo yers c o unt min ute s a nd d ed uct d olla rs w hen a n anny is la te . S om eti m es n annie s g et fa rm ed o ut to c le an o r b ab y-s it fo r th eir e m plo yers ’ fr ie nd s, to o. “ W hen th ey a ct a s if m y s e rv ic es a re th eir p ro perty — pro perty th ey c an le nd o ut w henev er th ey w ant— th at r e ally m akes m e f e el b ought,” S ally s a ys. There i s th e p ro ble m o f s u m mers . M any f a m ilie s o ffe r n annie s a H obso n’s c ho ic e: e ith er g o a w ay w ith th em a nd b e tr a p ped i n s o m e a ll- w hite r e so rt ( in n anny c ir c le s, th e H am pto ns a re a s y no nym f o r H ell) o r ta ke to ken w ages w hile th ey’re g o ne. T here is th e p ro ble m o f a fa m ily ’s d ep end ence o n th eir n anny. “S om e w eekend s, th ey c all m e fiv e o r s ix ti m es,” D om in iq ue s a ys. “ B asic ally , I’ m o n c all a ro und th e clo ck. I f e el l ik e m y l ife i s n ’t m in e e v en w hen I ’ m a t h o m e.” Many nannie s w ond er w hy th eir em plo yers b oth ere d to hav e child re n at all. “I se e th ese w om en str u gglin g b etw een b ein g th e c are erp ers o n w ho g ets s e lf- e ste em fr o m h er jo b a nd b ein g th e p are nt w ho re ally lo ves her child re n,” S ally sa ys. “B ut yo u sh o uld n’t hav e kid s if yo u’re no t re ad y to m ake ad ju stm ents . S om eti m es it b lo w s m e a w ay w hen I’ ll c o m e in to w ork a nd th ere w ill b e n o m ilk a nd n o cere al a nd n o m oney f o r g ro cerie s. T w o p eo ple w ith o ut k id s w ho e at o ut d on’t h av e to h av e g ro cerie s, b ut with k id s y o u n eed to h av e s o m eth in g f o r th em to e at.” Wors t o f a ll, b ein g a n anny is a jo b w ith n egati v e s ta b ility . W hen c hild re n g o to s c ho ol— and in N ew York th ey s o m eti m es g o to s c ho ol a t a ge tw o— th e j o b b egin s to e v ap ora te . M any N ew Y ork c hild re n a re in s c ho ol fr o m 9 :0 0 A .M . to 3 :0 0 P .M . b y th e ti m e th ey a re fiv e. N annie s h av e to g et a lo ng w ith th eir em plo yers in a r e la ti o nsh ip th at is in c erta in r e sp ects m ore in ti m ate th an a m arria ge. S om eti m es th ey a re tr e ate d lik e s e rv ants ; s o m eti m es th ey a re tr e ate d lik e b est fr ie nd s. T hey a re re q uir e d to b e c o m ple te ly re lia b le a nd c o m ple te ly d is c re et. T hey a re a sk ed to i g no re d ru g p ro ble m s. T hey m ust s e e n o e v il, h ear n o ev il, sp eak n o e v il— lik e th e n anny in Ja m aic a K in caid ’s n o vel Lucy, w ho w alk s in o n h er e m plo yer lic kin g th e n eck o f h is w ife ’s b est fr ie nd . ( T he in te nsity o f th e c o nnecti o n b etw een n annie s, m oth ers , a nd child re n h as a ttr a cte d s to ry te lle rs fr o m H om er, w ho m ad e O dysse us’s n urs e th e o nly w om an w ho c o uld id enti fy h im , to C harlo tte B ro ntë , w ho m ad e h er m ost s y m path eti c h ero in e, J a ne E yre , a g o vern ess. T he nanny c ano n a ls o i n clu d es th e e v il M is s J e sse l f r o m H enry J a m es’s The T urn o f t h e S cre w , th e p re curs o r to d oze ns o f m alig n c hild -c are p ro fe ssio nals , a ll a cti n g o ut a m oth er’s w ors t fe ars , r ig ht u p to The H and That R ocks t h e C ra dle .) Nannie s w ant to b e tr e ate d a s p ro fe ssio nals . D om in iq ue’s fr ie nd M aria to ok a n anny-a w are ness c la ss in B ro okly n la st y ear. “ T he m ain th in g th ey to ld u s w as to b e b usin esslik e,” sh e sa ys. “ B usin esslik e, busin esslik e! B ut it’ s h ard to b e b usin esslik e w hen y o u’re g o in g in to s o m eo ne’s h o use a nd ta kin g c are o f th eir c hild re n.” I h eard o ne o r tw o h o rro r s to rie s fr o m th e n annie s I s p oke to : a n e m plo yer w ho w ould giv e a r e fe re nce o nly in e xchange fo r s e x; a m an w ho le ft p orn o gra p hic p ic tu re s a ro und a nd w atc hed th e nanny’s r e acti o n; a w om an w ho c hecked th e g arb age to s e e w hat h er c hild re n h ad e ate n; a no th er w om an who c am e h o m e a t 2 :0 0 A .M . a nd b ro ke a ll th e w in d ow s i n h er a p artm ent w ith a h eav y c o pper s a ucep an. But th e re al h o rro rs a re m ore su b tl e : e m plo yers w ho te ll th eir n annie s w hat to w ear, e m plo yers w ho dep end on th em s o m uch th at th e n annie s g o to w ork e v en w hen th ey’re s ic k. S ally s a ys, “ I l ie th ere i n b ed when I’ m s ic k a nd I th in k, D id a nyo ne g et L aurie ’s lu nch? D o th ey k no w th at it’ s lib ra ry d ay? D o th ey kno w th at s h e h as a p la y d ate w ith J o an a fte r s c ho ol? I m ig ht a s w ell g o to w ork .” A nd w hen a n anny le av es, i t c an b e a s d ev asta ti n g f o r th e p are nts a s i t i s f o r th e c hild re n. “W e w ould c lo se d ow n th e c ity ,” s a ys M yrtl e J o hnso n, a c hild -c are v ete ra n w ho w ork s a s a s h o rt- te rm bab y n urs e b ecause s h e b elie v es th at n annie s a lw ays e nd u p g etti n g tr e ate d b ad ly . “ If w e d id n’t g o to work , th e m oth ers w ould g o c ra zy, a nd th ey’d d riv e th eir h usb and s c ra zy, a nd n o o ne c o uld w ork . If th ere ’s a g arb age s tr ik e, th e tr a sh ju st lie s th ere . If th ere ’s a p osta l s tr ik e, th e m ail d oesn ’t g et d eliv ere d . But if th e n annie s w ere to s tr ik e it w ould b e d iffe re nt. Y ou c an’t ju st le av e a b ab y a ro und u nti l th ere ’s so m eo ne r e ad y to ta ke c are o f i t.” In tw enty -fiv e y ears a s a b ab y n urs e , M yrtl e h as tr a v ele d w ith fa m ilie s to C alg ary ( fo r th e O ly m pic s) and L ond on (w here s h e s ta yed a t C la rid ge’s ) a nd h as s a v ed e no ugh to b uy a b ig b ric k h o use o n G ra nt Avenue i n th e B ro nx. I n h er k itc hen th ere ’s a d oub le G arla nd s to ve— th e b est. U psta ir s , s h e h as i n sta lle d a pin k-a nd -g o ld b ath ro om w ith a w ic ker b ask et o f flu ffy to w els ; it c o uld fit r ig ht in o n P ark A venue. B ut su ccess h asn ’t c hanged h er a tti tu d e. “ T he n annie s a re th ere f o r th e d ura ti o n,” s h e s a ys. “ T he e m plo yers g et to th in k th ey o w n th em , a nd i t’ s j u st l ik e a nyth in g e ls e . Y ou h av e a b oyfr ie nd , y o u d o a nyth in g to k eep h im , yo u g iv e h im c o ckta ils a nd lo bste rs . T hen, w hen h e m arrie s y o u, it’ s n o m ore c o ckta ils a nd n o m ore lo bste rs .” In th e th ir te en y ears I h av e b een r a is in g c hild re n in N ew Y ork , I’ v e e m plo yed th re e fu ll- ti m e n annie s, su p ple m ente d b y a b out a d oze n b ab y-s itte rs . O ur g enera ti o n h as m ad e a r e lig io n o f p are nti n g. O ur m oth ers had D r. S pock; w e h av e b ooks to fill a te n-fo ot sh elf. T hey h ad a fa m ily d octo r; w e h av e p ed ia tr ic end ocrin o lo gis ts w ho s p ecia liz e i n g la nd ula r d is o rd ers . W e l o ve o ur c hild re n p assio nate ly , a nd f o r m e, a t le ast, le av in g th em — fo r a w eek, o r e v en fo r a d ay— is th e h ard est th in g I’ v e e v er h ad to d o. T his m akes th e p ers o n w ho ta kes c are o f th em i n m y a b se nce b oth i n d is p ensa b le a nd s o m eho w a n a gent o f s e p ara ti o n and d oom — much m ore th an a s im ple e m plo yee. In m any fa m ilie s, w here w om en ta ke o n m ost o f th e jo b of r a is in g th e c hild re n, a lo ng w ith d oin g th eir o uts id e jo bs, th e n anny b eco m es th e tr u e s ig nific ant o th er. It’ s th e n anny w ho w ork s w ith th e m oth er to c re ate a p la ce w here th e c hild re n c an th riv e; th e h usb and i s a t best a n a ssis ta nt to th e te am and a t w ors t a n o bsta cle to th eir a im s. “ It’ s a f r a gile s itu ati o n,” S ally s a ys. “ I hav e to c o m e i n e v ery m orn in g a nd a sse ss th e m ood i n th e h o use a nd ta ke u p th e s la ck. I n th ese m arria ges, th e m oth ers d ep end o n u s s o th at th ey c an w ork , a nd th e fa th ers s o m eti m es g et o ff s c o t- fr e e— a lo t o f th e ti m e it’ s as if th ey d id n’t ev en hav e child re n.” D om in iq ue and S ally hav e d ecid ed th at th e p erfe ct em plo yer w ould b e a s in gle m oth er w ith o ne c hild . Honesty a nd p ro fe ssio nalis m g o a lo ng w ay to w ard h elp in g n annie s a nd fa m ilie s g et a lo ng, b ut th e cir c um sta nces of th eir em plo ym ent w ill alw ays be co lo re d by our w ors t fe ars . T he nannie s kno w ev ery th in g a b out u s, a nd w e k no w littl e a b out th em . T hey c o m e fr o m a lie n c ultu re s to fill o ur c ultu re ’s most im porta nt jo b: r a is in g o ur k id s. W e’v e d ecid ed to le t o th er w om en ta ke c are o f o ur c hild re n s o th at we c an g iv e th o se c hild re n a b ette r life . It’ s a n e xcru cia ti n g d ecis io n, a s th e n annie s k no w b ette r th an anyo ne. T he tr u th i s , w e a re m ore l ik e o ur n annie s th an w e r e aliz e — str u ng o ut b etw een th e o ld w ays a nd th e n ew , b etw een th e d em and s o f m oney a nd th e d em and s o f l o ve. T hey h av e c ho se n to g iv e th eir c hild re n le ss m oth erin g so th at th ey c an m ake m ore m oney, a nd so h av e w e. T here a re b ad n annie s a nd g o od nannie s, ju st as th ere are bad m oth ers and go od m oth ers , but it’ s our sim ila riti e s ra th er th an our diffe re nces th at m ake th e s itu ati o n s o p ain fu l. Maid t o O rd er BA RBA RA E H REN REIC H A s c la ss p ola riz a ti o n g ro w s, th e c la ssic p ostu re o f s u b m is sio n m akes a s te alth y c o m eb ack. “ W e s c ru b y o ur flo ors th e o ld -fa sh io ned w ay,” b oasts th e b ro chure fr o m M erry M aid s, th e la rg est o f th e r e sid enti a l c le anin g s e rv ic es th at h av e s p ru ng u p in th e la st tw o d ecad es, “ o n o ur h and s a nd k nees.” T his is n o t a p ostu re th at in d ep end ent “ cle anin g la d ie s” w illin gly a ssu m e— pre fe rrin g, lik e m ost p eo ple w ho c le an t h eir o w n ho m es, th e sp onge m op w ie ld ed fr o m a sta nd in g p ositi o n. In her co m pre hensiv e guid e to h o m em akin g, C hery l M end els o n w arn s, “ N ev er a sk h ir e d h o use cle aners to c le an y o ur flo ors o n th eir h and s a nd k nees; th e r e q uest i s l ik ely to b e r e gard ed a s d egra d in g.” 1 But i n a s o cie ty w here 4 0 p erc ent o f th e w ealth i s o w ned b y 1 p erc ent o f h o use ho ld s, w hile th e b otto m 2 0 p erc ent re p orts n egati v e a sse ts , th e d egra d ati o n o f o th ers is re ad ily p urc hase d . K neep ad s e nte re d A meric an p oliti c al d is c o urs e a s a to ol o f th e s e xually s u b se rv ie nt, b ut e m plo yees o f M erry M aid s, T he M aid s I n te rn ati o nal, a nd o th er n ew c o rp ora te -ru n c le anin g s e rv ic es s p end h o urs e v ery d ay o n th ese k in ky d ev ic es, w ip in g u p th e d rip pin gs o f th e a fflu ent. I s p ent th re e w eeks in S ep te m ber 1 999 a s a n e m plo yee o f T he M aid s In te rn ati o nal in a N ew E ngla nd c ity , c le anin g, a lo ng w ith m y f e llo w te am m em bers , a p pro xim ate ly s ix ty h o use s c o nta in in g a to ta l o f a b out 2 50 s c ru b bab le flo ors — bath ro om s, k itc hens, a nd e ntr y w ays r e q uir in g th e h and s-a nd -k nees tr e atm ent. It’ s a d iffe re nt w orld d ow n th ere b elo w k nee le v el, o ne th at fe w a d ults v olu nta rily e nte r. H ere y o u fin d e la b ora te d ust s tr u ctu re s h eld to geth er b y a s c affo ld in g o f d og h air s ; d rie d b its o f p asta g lu ed to th e f lo or b y th eir sa uce; th e co ngeale d re m ain s of gra v ie s, je llie s, co ntr a cep ti v e cre am s, vom it, and urin e. S om eti m es to o y o u e nco unte r so m e fr a gm ent o f a h um an b ein g: a c hild ’s le gs, sta m pin g b y in d is g ust b ecause th e m aid s a re s ti ll p re se nt w hen h e g ets h o m e fr o m s c ho ol, o r, m ore c o m monly , th e J o an a nd D av id — cla d f e et a nd e le ctr o ly ze d c alv es o f th e f e m ale h o m eo w ner. L ook u p a nd y o u m ay f in d th is p ers o n s ta rin g a t y o u, a rm s f o ld ed , i n a nti c ip ati o n o f a n o verlo oked s ta in . I n r a re i n sta nces, s h e m ay tr y to h elp i n s o m e v ague, s y m bolic w ay, b y m ovin g th e c o ckato o’s c age, fo r e xam ple , o r a p olo giz in g fo r th e le av es s h ed b y a m in ia tu re in d oor tr e e. M ostl y th o ugh, s h e w ill n o t s e e y o u a t a ll, a nd m ay e v en s it d ow n w ith h er m ail a t a ta b le i n th e v ery r o om y o u a re c le anin g, w here s h e w ill r e m ain c o m ple te ly u naw are o f y o ur e xis te nce— unle ss y o u w ere to c ra w l u nd er th at ta b le a nd s ta rt g naw in g a w ay a t h er a nkle s. House w ork , a s y o u m ay r e call fr o m th e fe m in is t th eo rie s o f th e 1 960s a nd 1 970s, w as s u p pose d to b e t h e gre at eq ualiz e r of w om en. W hate v er els e w om en did — jo bs, sc ho ol, child care — we als o did h o use w ork , a nd i f th ere w ere s o m e w om en w ho h ir e d o th ers to d o i t f o r th em , th ey s e em ed to o p riv ile ged a nd ra re to in clu d e in th e th eo re ti c al calc ulu s. A ll w om en w ere w ork ers , and th e ho m e w as th eir w ork p la ce— unp aid a nd u nsu p erv is e d to b e s u re , b ut a w ork p la ce n o le ss th an th e o ffic es a nd fa cto rie s m en r e p air e d to e v ery m orn in g. I f m en th o ught o f th e h o m e a s a s ite o f l e is u re a nd r e cre ati o n— a “ hav en i n a h eartl e ss w orld ”— th is w as to i g no re th e i n v is ib le f e m ale p ro le ta ria t th at k ep t i t c o zy a nd h um min g. W e w ere o n th e m arc h th en, o r s o w e im agin ed , u nite d a gain st a s o cie ty th at d ev alu ed o ur la b or e v en a s it waxed m aw kis h o ver “ th e fa m ily ” a nd “ th e h o m e.” S ho uld er to s h o uld er a nd a rm in a rm , w om en w ere fin ally g etti n g u p o ff th e f lo or. In th e m ost e ye-c atc hin g e la b ora ti o n o f th e h o m e-a s-w ork p la ce th em e, i n 1 972 M arx is t f e m in is ts M aria Rosa D alla co sta a nd S elm a J a m es p ro pose d th at th e h o m e w as in fa ct a n e co no m ic ally p ro ducti v e a nd sig nific ant w ork p la ce, a n e xte nsio n o f th e a ctu al f a cto ry , s in ce h o use w ork s e rv ed to “ re p ro duce th e la b or pow er” o f o th ers , p arti c ula rly m en. T he m ale w ork er w ould h ard ly b e in s h ap e to p unch in fo r h is s h ift, afte r a ll, i f s o m e w om an h ad n o t f e d h im , l a und ere d h is c lo th es, a nd c are d f o r th e c hild re n w ho w ere h is co ntr ib uti o n to th e n ext g enera ti o n o f w ork ers . If th e h o m e w as a q uasi- in d ustr ia l w ork p la ce s ta ffe d b y wom en f o r th e u lti m ate b enefit o f th e c ap ita lis ts , th en “ w ages f o r h o use w ork ” w as th e o bvio us d em and . But w hen m ost A meric an fe m in is ts , M arx is t o r o th erw is e , a sk ed th e M arx is t q uesti o n Cui b ono? th ey te nd ed to c o m e u p w ith a fa r s im ple r a nsw er: m en. If w om en w ere th e d om esti c p ro le ta ria t, th en m en mad e u p th e c la ss o f d om esti c e xp lo ite rs , fr e e to lo unge w hile th eir m ate s s c ru b bed . In c o nsc io usn ess- ra is in g g ro up s, w e ra ile d o ver h usb and s a nd b oyfr ie nd s w ho re fu se d to p ic k u p a fte r th em se lv es, w ho were u naw are o f h o use w ork a t a ll, u nle ss o f c o urs e it h ad n’t b een d one. T he “ d ro pped s o cks,” le ft b y a man fo r a w om an to gath er up and la und er, jo in ed lip sti c k and sp ik e heels as em ble m s o f gend er oppre ssio n. W hen, so m ew here , a m an d ro pped a so ck w ith th e c alm e xp ecta ti o n th at h is w ife w ould re tr ie v e i t, i t w as a s o ck h eard r o und th e w orld . W here v er s e co nd -w av e f e m in is m to ok r o ot, b attl e s b ro ke out b etw een l o vers o r s p ouse s o ver s ti c ky c o unte rto ps, p ile d -u p l a und ry , a nd w ho se tu rn i t w as to d o th e dis h es. The ra d ic al n ew id ea w as th at h o use w ork w as n o t o nly a re la ti o nsh ip b etw een a w om an a nd a d ust bunny o r a n u nm ad e b ed ; it a ls o d efin ed a re la ti o nsh ip b etw een h um an b ein gs, ty p ic ally h usb and s a nd wiv es. T his m ark ed a dep artu re fr o m th e m ore co nse rv ati v e vie w s of B etty F rie d an, w ho , in The Fem in in e M ystiq ue, n ev er th o ught to e nte r m en i n to th e e q uati o n, e ith er a s p art o f th e h o use w ork p ro ble m or p art o f a n e v entu al s o lu ti o n. S he r a ged a gain st a s o cie ty th at c o nsig ned i ts e d ucate d w om en to w hat s h e sa w a s e sse nti a lly j a nito ria l c ho re s, b eneath “ th e a b iliti e s o f a w om an o f a v era ge o r n o rm al i n te llig ence” and , a cco rd in g to u nid enti fie d stu d ie s sh e c ite d , “ p eculia rly su ite d to th e c ap aciti e s o f fe eb le -m in d ed gir ls .” B ut m en a re v ir tu ally e xem pt fr o m h o use w ork in The F em in in e M ystiq ue —why d ra g th em d ow n to o? A t o ne p oin t s h e e v en d is p ara ged a “ M rs . G .,” w ho “ so m eho w c o uld n’t g et h er h o use w ork d one befo re h er h usb and c am e h o m e a t n ig ht a nd w as s o ti r e d th en th at h e h ad to d o i t.” E ducate d w om en w ould ju st h av e to b eco m e m ore e ffic ie nt s o th at h o use w ork c o uld n o l o nger “ exp and to f ill th e ti m e a v aila b le .” Or th ey c o uld h ir e o th er w om en to d o it— an o pti o n F rie d an a p pro ved in The F em in in e M ystiq ue . S o did th e N ati o nal O rg aniz a ti o n fo r W om en, w hic h F rie d an help ed la unch: at th e 1 973 co ngre ssio nal hearin gs o n w heth er to e xte nd th e F air L ab or S ta nd ard s A ct to h o use ho ld w ork ers , N OW te sti fie d to th e affir m ati v e, a rg uin g th at i m pro ved w ages a nd w ork in g c o nd iti o ns w ould a ttr a ct m ore w om en to th e f ie ld , and th at “ th e d em and fo r h o use ho ld h elp in sid e th e h o m e w ill c o nti n ue to in cre ase a s m ore w om en s e ek occup ati o ns o uts id e th e h o m e.” O ne y o ung N OW m em ber a d ded , o n a p ers o nal n o te , “ L ik e m any y o ung wom en to day, I a m i n s c ho ol i n o rd er to d ev elo p a r e w ard in g c are er f o r m yse lf. I a ls o h av e a h o m e to r u n and c an fu lly c o nceiv e o f th e n eed fo r h o use ho ld h elp a s m y fr e e ti m e a t h o m e b eco m es m ore a nd m ore re str ic te d . W om en k no w [th at] h o use w ork is d ir ty , te d io us w ork , a nd th ey a re w illin g to p ay to h av e it done.” 2 O n th e a sp ir a ti o ns o f th e w om en p aid to d o i t, a ssu m in g a t l e ast s o m e o f th em w ere b rig ht e no ugh to e nte rta in a f e w , n eith er F rie d an n o r th ese m em bers o f N OW h ad , a t th e ti m e, a w ord to s a y. So th e in sig ht th at d is ti n guis h ed th e m ore r a d ic al, p ost- F rie d an c o ho rt o f fe m in is ts w as th at w hen w e ta lk ed a b out h o use w ork , w e w ere r e ally ta lk in g, y et a gain , a b out p ow er. H ouse w ork w as n o t d egra d in g because i t w as m anual l a b or, a s F rie d an th o ught, b ut b ecause i t w as e m bed ded i n d egra d in g r e la ti o nsh ip s and i n ev ita b ly s e rv ed to r e in fo rc e th em . T o m ake a m ess th at a no th er p ers o n w ill h av e to d eal w ith — th e dro pped s o cks, th e to oth p aste s p ra yed o n th e b ath ro om m ir ro r, th e d ir ty d is h es l e ft f r o m a l a te -n ig ht s n ack —is to exert d om in ati o n in o ne o f its m ore sile nt and in ti m ate fo rm s. O ne p ers o n’s arro gance— or in d iffe re nce, o r h urry — beco m es a no th er p ers o n’s o ccasio n f o r to il. A nd w hen th e p ers o n w ho i s c le aned up a fte r is c o nsis te ntl y m ale , w hile th e p ers o n w ho c le ans u p is c o nsis te ntl y fe m ale , y o u h av e a fo rm ula fo r r e p ro ducin g m ale d om in ati o n f r o m o ne g enera ti o n to th e n ext. Hence th e fe m in is t p erc ep ti o n o f h o use w ork a s o ne m ore w ay b y w hic h m en e xp lo it w om en o r, m ore neutr a lly sta te d , a s “ a sy m bolic e nactm ent o f g end er re la ti o ns.” A n e arly G erm an w om en’s -lib era ti o n carto on d ep ic te d a w om an s c ru b bin g o n h er h and s a nd k nees w hile h er h usb and , a p pare ntl y e xcite d b y th is p ose , a p pro aches f r o m b ehin d , u nzip pin g h is f ly . H ence, to o, th e s e co nd -w av e f e m in is ts ’ r e v uls io n a t th e h ir in g o f m aid s, e sp ecia lly w hen th ey w ere w om en o f c o lo r. A t a fe m in is t c o nfe re nce I a tte nd ed in 1980, th e p oet A ud re L ord e c ho se to in su lt th e a ll- to o-w hite a ud ie nce b y a ccusin g th em o f b ein g p re se nt only b ecause th ey h ad b la ck h o use keep ers to l o ok a fte r th eir c hild re n a t h o m e. S he h ad th e w ro ng c ro w d; most o f th e a sse m ble d r a d ic al fe m in is ts w ould n o s o oner h av e e m plo yed a b la ck m aid th an th ey w ould hav e a tta ched C onfe d era te fla g sti c kers to th e re ar w in d ow s o f th eir c ars . B ut a ccusa ti o ns lik e h ers , re p eate d in c o untl e ss c o nfe re nces a nd m eeti n gs, re in fo rc ed o ur re je cti o n o f th e se rv ant o pti o n. T here alr e ad y w ere a t le ast tw o a b le -b odie d a d ults in th e a v era ge h o m e— a m an a nd a w om an— and th e h o pe was th at, a fte r a f e w i n iti a l s k ir m is h es, th ey w ould l e arn to s h are th e h o use w ork g ra cio usly . A c o up le o f d ecad es la te r, h o w ev er, th e a v era ge h o use ho ld sti ll fa lls fa r sh o rt o f th at g o al. T ru e, wom en d o le ss h o use w ork th an th ey d id b efo re th e fe m in is t re v olu ti o n a nd th e ris e o f th e tw o-in co m e fa m ily : d ow n fr o m a n a v era ge o f 3 0 h o urs p er w eek in 1 965 to 1 7.5 h o urs in 1 995, a cco rd in g to a J u ly 1999 s tu d y f r o m th e U niv ers ity o f M ary la nd . S om e o f th at d eclin e r e fle cts a r e la xati o n o f s ta nd ard s r a th er th an a r e d is tr ib uti o n o f c ho re s; w om en s ti ll d o tw o-th ir d s o f w hate v er h o use w ork — in clu d in g b ill p ayin g, pet c are , ti d yin g, a nd la w n m ain te nance— gets d one. T he in eq uity is s h arp est fo r th e m ost d esp is e d o f ho use ho ld cho re s: cle anin g. B etw een 1 965 and 1 995, m en in cre ase d th e ti m e th ey sp ent sc ru b bin g, vacuum in g, and sw eep in g by 240 perc ent— all th e w ay up to 1.7 ho urs per w eek— while w om en decre ase d th eir c le anin g ti m e b y o nly 7 p erc ent, to 6 .7 h o urs p er w eek. 3 T he a v era ges c o nceal a v arie ty o f arra ngem ents , o f co urs e , fr o m m in ute ly nego ti a te d sh arin g to th e m ost clic hed d iv is io n o f la b or, as desc rib ed b y o ne w om an to th e Wash in gto n P ost: “ I ta ke c are o f th e i n sid e, h e ta kes c are o f th e o uts id e.” 4 But p erh ap s th e m ost d is tu rb in g fin d in g is th at a lm ost a ll th e in cre ase in m ale p arti c ip ati o n to ok p la ce betw een th e 1 970s and th e m id -1 980s. F ifte en years afte r th e ap pare nt cessa ti o n o f ho sti liti e s, it is pro bab ly n o t to o s o on to c all th e q uesti o n: in th e “ cho re w ars ” o f th e 1 970s a nd 1 980s, w om en g ain ed a littl e g ro und , b ut o vera ll, a nd a fte r a f e w s tr a te gic c o ncessio ns, m en w on. Ente r th en, th e c le anin g la d y a s d ea e x m achin a, re sto rin g tr a nq uillity a s w ell a s o rd er to th e h o m e. Marria ge co unse lo rs re co m mend hir in g th em as an alte rn ati v e to sq uab blin g, as d o m any w ith in th e re sid enti a l c le anin g in d ustr y its e lf. A C hic ago c le anin g w om an q uo te s o ne o f h er c lie nts a s s a yin g th at if sh e w ere to g iv e u p th e s e rv ic e, “ M y h usb and a nd I w ill b e d iv orc ed i n s ix m onth s.” M anagers o f th e n ew co rp ora te c le anin g s e rv ic es, s u ch a s th e one I w ork ed fo r, a ttr ib ute th eir s u ccess n o t o nly to th e in flu x o f wom en in to th e w ork fo rc e b ut to th e te nsio ns o ver h o use w ork th at a ro se in its w ake. W hen th e tr e nd to w ard h ir in g o ut w as ju st b egin nin g to ta ke o ff, in 1 988, th e o w ner o f a M erry M aid s fr a nchis e in Arlin gto n, M assa chuse tts , to ld th e Chris tia n S cie n ce M onito r, “ I k id s o m e w om en. I s a y, ‘ W e e v en s a v e marria ges.’ In th is n ew e ig hti e s p erio d, y o u e xp ect m ore fr o m th e m ale p artn er, b ut v ery o fte n y o u d on’t get th e c o opera ti o n y o u w ould lik e to h av e. T he a lte rn ati v e is to p ay s o m eb ody to c o m e in .” A no th er Merry M aid s fr a nchis e o w ner h as le arn ed to c ap ita liz e m ore d ir e ctl y o n h o use w ork -re la te d sp ats : h e clo se s 3 0 to 3 5 p erc ent o f h is s a le s b y m akin g f o llo w -u p c alls o n S atu rd ay m orn in gs, th e “ p rim e ti m e f o r arg uin g o ver th e fa ct th at th e h o use is a m ess.” T he m ic ro defe at o f fe m in is m in th e h o use ho ld o pened a new d oor f o r w om en, o nly th is ti m e i t w as th e s e rv ants ’ e ntr a nce. In 1 999, s o m ew here b etw een 1 4 a nd 1 8 p erc ent o f h o use ho ld s e m plo yed o uts id ers to d o th eir c le anin g, and th e n um bers h av e b een r is in g d ra m ati c ally s in ce. M ed ia m ark R ese arc h r e p orts a 5 3 p erc ent i n cre ase , betw een 1 995 a nd 1 999, in th e n um ber o f h o use ho ld s u sin g a h ir e d c le aner o r s e rv ic e o nce a m onth o r more , a nd M aritz f in d s th at 3 0 p erc ent o f th e p eo ple w ho h ir e d h elp i n 1 999 d id s o f o r th e f ir s t ti m e th at year. A mong m y m id dle -c la ss, p ro fe ssio nal w om en f r ie nd s a nd a cq uain ta nces, i n clu d in g s o m e w ho m ad e im porta nt c o ntr ib uti o ns to th e e arly fe m in is t a naly sis o f h o use w ork tw o a nd a h alf d ecad es a go , th e em plo ym ent o f a c le anin g p ers o n is n o w n early u niv ers a l. T he h o m e, o r a t le ast th e a fflu ent h o m e, is fin ally b eco m in g w hat ra d ic al fe m in is ts in th e 1 970s o nly im agin ed it w as— a “ w ork p la ce” fo r w om en and a ti n y, th o ugh i n cre asin gly v is ib le , p art o f th e c ap ita lis t e co no m y. T he q uesti o n i s th is : A s y o ur h o m e beco m es a w ork p la ce f o r s o m eo ne e ls e , i s i t s ti ll a p la ce w here y o u w ant to l iv e? S tr a ngely , o r p erh ap s n o t s o s tr a ngely a t a ll, n o o ne ta lk s a b out th e “ p oliti c s o f h o use w ork ” a nym ore . T he dem and f o r “ w ages f o r h o use w ork ” n o l o nger h as th e p ow er to p ola riz e f e m in is t c o nfe re nces; i t h as s u nk to th e s ta tu s o f a c urio , a lo ng w ith th e c o nsc io usn ess-ra is in g g ro up s i n w hic h w om en o nce r a llie d s u p port in th eir s tr u ggle s w ith m essy m en. In th e a cad em y, a cco rd in g to th e fe m in is t s o cio lo gis ts I in te rv ie w ed , ho use w ork h as lo st m uch o f its fo rm er c achet— in p art, I s u sp ect, b ecause fe w er s o cio lo gis ts a ctu ally d o it. Most A meric ans, m ore th an 8 0 p erc ent, s ti ll c le an th eir h o m es, b ut th e m in o rity w ho d o n o t in clu d e a siz e ab le f r a cti o n o f th e n ati o n’s o pin io n m akers a nd c ultu re p ro ducers : p ro fe sso rs , w rite rs , e d ito rs , m ed ia decis io n m akers , p oliti c al f ig ure s, ta lk in g h ead s a nd c ele b riti e s o f a ll s o rts . I n th eir h o m es, th e p oliti c s o f ho use w ork i s b eco m in g a p oliti c s n o t o nly o f g end er b ut a ls o o f r a ce a nd c la ss, a nd th ese a re s u b je cts th at th e o pin io n-m akin g e lite , i f n o t m ost A meric ans, g enera lly p re fe r to a v oid . Even th e n um ber o f p aid h o use ho ld w ork ers i s h ard to p in d ow n. T he C ensu s B ure au r e p orts th at th ere were 5 49,0 00 d om esti c w ork ers in 1 998, up 9 p erc ent sin ce 1 996, b ut th is m ay b e a co nsid era b le und ere sti m ate , s in ce s o m uch o f th e s e rv ant e co no m y is s ti ll u nd erg ro und . In 1 993, fo r e xam ple , th e y ear when Z oë B air d lo st h er c hance to b e a tto rn ey g enera l fo r p ayin g h er u nd ocum ente d im mig ra nt n anny o ff th e b ooks, th e Los A ngele s T im es re p orte d th at fe w er th an 1 0 p erc ent o f th o se A meric ans w ho p aid a ho use -c le aner r e p orte d th ese p aym ents to th e IR S. S ocio lo gis t M ary R om ero , o ne o f th e fe w a cad em ic s who r e ta in s a n a cti v e in te re st in h o use w ork a nd th e w om en w ho d o it fo r p ay, o ffe rs a n e xam ple o f h o w se v ere th e u nd erc o unti n g c an b e. T he 1 980 c ensu s fo und o nly 1 ,0 63 “ p riv ate h o use ho ld w ork ers ” in E l Paso , T exas, a lth o ugh a t th e s a m e ti m e, th at c ity ’s D ep artm ent o f P la nnin g, R ese arc h a nd D ev elo pm ent esti m ate d th ese w ork ers ’ n um bers a t 1 3,4 00, a nd l o cal b us d riv ers e sti m ate d th at h alf o f th e 2 8,3 00 d aily bus tr ip s w ere ta ken b y m aid s g o in g to a nd r e tu rn in g f r o m w ork . 5 T he h o nesty o f e m plo yers h as i n cre ase d sin ce th e B air d s c and al, b ut m ost e xp erts b elie v e th at h o use ho ld w ork ers r e m ain , i n l a rg e p art, u nco unte d and i n v is ib le to th e l a rg er e co no m y. One th in g yo u can sa y w ith certa in ty ab out th e p opula ti o n o f ho use ho ld w ork ers is th at th ey are dis p ro porti o nate ly w om en o f c o lo r: “ lo w er” k in d s o f p eo ple f o r a “ lo w er” k in d o f w ork . O f th e “ p riv ate ho use ho ld c le aners a nd s e rv ants ” i t m anaged to l o cate i n 1 998, th e B ure au o f L ab or S ta ti s ti c s r e p orts th at 36.8 p erc ent w ere H is p anic , 1 5.8 p erc ent b la ck, and 2 .7 p erc ent “o th er.” C erta in ly th e asso cia ti o n betw een h o use cle anin g a nd m in o rity sta tu s is w ell e sta b lis h ed in th e p sy ches o f th e w hite e m plo yin g cla ss. W hen m y d aughte r, R osa , w as i n tr o duced to th e w ealth y f a th er o f a H arv ard c la ssm ate , h e v entu re d th at s h e m ust h av e b een n am ed fo r a fa v orite m aid . A nd A ud re L ord e c an p erh ap s b e fo rg iv en fo r h er in te m pera te a ccusa ti o n a t th e fe m in is t c o nfe re nce m enti o ned a b ove w hen w e c o nsid er a n e xp erie nce s h e had in 1 967: “I w heel m y tw o-y ear-o ld d aughte r in a s h o ppin g c art th ro ugh a s u p erm ark et … a nd a littl e white g ir l r id in g p ast i n h er m oth er’s c art c alls o ut e xcite d ly , ‘ O h l o ok, M om my, a b ab y m aid .’ ” 6 T he c o m positi o n o f th e h o use ho ld w ork fo rc e is h ard ly fix ed , a nd it h as c hanged w ith th e life c hances o f th e d iffe re nt e th nic g ro up s. In th e la te n in ete enth c entu ry , Ir is h a nd G erm an im mig ra nts s e rv ed th e u rb an up per a nd m id dle c la sse s, th en le ft fo r th e fa cto rie s a s s o on a s th ey c o uld . B la ck w om en r e p la ced th em , acco unti n g fo r 6 0 p erc ent o f a ll d om esti c s in th e 1 940s a nd d om in ati n g th e fie ld u nti l o th er o ccup ati o ns opened to th em . S im ila rly , W est C oast m aid s w ere d is p ro porti o nate ly J a p anese -A meric an u nti l th at g ro up fo und m ore c o ngenia l o pti o ns. 7 T oday, th e c o lo r o f th e h and th at p ush es th e s p onge v arie s fr o m r e gio n to re gio n: C hic anas i n th e S outh w est, C arib beans i n N ew Y ork , n ati v e H aw aiia ns i n H aw aii, n ati v e w hite s, many o f r e cent r u ra l e xtr a cti o n, i n th e N ew E ngla nd c ity w here I b rie fly w ork ed . The gre at m ajo rity — alth o ugh again , no o ne kno w s th e exact num bers — of p aid ho use keep ers are fr e ela ncers , o r “ in d ep end ents ,” w ho fin d th eir c lie nts th ro ugh a gencie s o r n etw ork s o f a lr e ad y e m plo yed fr ie nd s a nd r e la ti v es. T o m y a cq uain ta nces i n th e e m plo yin g c la ss, th e f r e ela nce h o use keep er s e em s to b e a f a ir ly p riv ile ged a nd p ro sp ero us ty p e o f w ork er, s o m eti m es p aid $ 15 a n h o ur o r m ore a nd u su ally s a id to b e v ie w ed a s a fr ie nd o r e v en a s “ o ne o f th e fa m ily .” B ut th e sh ifti n g e th nic c o m positi o n o f th e work fo rc e te lls a no th er s to ry : m any w om en h av e b een tr a p ped in th is k in d o f w ork , w heth er b y r a cis m , im perfe ct E nglis h s k ills , i m mig ra ti o n s ta tu s, o r l a ck o f e d ucati o n. F ew h ap pily c ho ose i t. I n te rv ie w s w ith in d ep end ent m aid s c o lle cte d b y R om ero a nd b y s o cio lo gis t J u d ith R ollin s, w ho h ers e lf w ork ed a s a m aid in th e B osto n a re a in th e e arly e ig hti e s, c o nfir m th e u nd esir a b ility o f th e w ork to th o se w ho p erfo rm it. 8 Even w hen th e p ay is d eem ed a ccep ta b le , th e h o urs m ay b e lo ng a nd u np re d ic ta b le ; th ere is n o jo b se curity ; th ere a re u su ally n o h ealth b enefits ; a nd if th e e m plo yer h as fa ile d to p ay S ocia l S ecurity ta xes (in s o m e c ase s b ecause th e m aid h ers e lf p re fe rs to b e p aid o ff th e b ooks), th ere a re n o r e ti r e m ent b enefits . And th e p ay is o fte n fa r fr o m accep ta b le . T he B LS fo und fu ll- ti m e “p riv ate ho use ho ld w ork ers and se rv ants ” e arn in g a m ed ia n i n co m e o f $ 223 a w eek i n 1 998, w hic h i s $ 23 a w eek b elo w th e p overty l e v el fo r a f a m ily o f th re e. R ecall th at i n 1 993 Z oë B air d p aid h er u nd ocum ente d h o use ho ld w ork ers $ 5 a n h o ur out o f h er e arn in gs o f $ 507,0 00 a y ear. At th e m ost l u rid e xtr e m e th ere i s s la v ery . A f e w c ase s o f c ap ti v ity a nd f o rc ed l a b or p op u p i n th e p re ss ev ery y ear, m ost r e centl y i n v olv in g u nd ocum ente d w om en h eld i n s e rv itu d e b y h ig h-ra nkin g s ta ff m em bers of th e U nite d N ati o ns, th e W orld B ank, a nd th e I n te rn ati o nal M oneta ry F und . C onsid er th e c harg es b ro ught by E liz a b eth S engho r, a S enegale se w om an w ho to ld th e c o urt th at h er M anhatta n e m plo yers f o rc ed h er to work fo urte en-h o ur d ays w ith o ut a ny r e gula r p ay a nd w ith n o a cco m modati o ns b eyo nd a p ullo ut b ed in her e m plo yers ’ liv in g r o om . H ers is n o t a p arti c ula rly s ta rtl in g in sta nce o f d om esti c s la v ery ; n o b eati n gs or s e xual a ssa ults w ere c harg ed , a nd M s. S engho r w as a p pare ntl y fe d . W hat g iv es th is c ase a c erta in ru efu l poig nancy is th at her em plo yer, fo rm er U .N . em plo yee M arie A ngeliq ue S av ane, is one of Senegal’s le ad in g w om en’s -rig hts a d vocate s, a nd h ad to ld th e Chris tia n S cie n ce M onito r in 1 986 a b out her e ffo rts to g et th e S enegale se to “ re aliz e th at b ein g a w om an c an m ean o th er th in gs th an s im ply h av in g child re n, ta kin g c are o f th e h o use .” Mostl y th o ugh, in d ep end ent m aid s a nd th eir e m plo yers c o m pla in a b out th e p eculia r in ti m acy o f th e em plo yer-e m plo yee re la ti o nsh ip . D om esti c se rv ic e is an occup ati o n th at pre d ate s th e re fr e sh in g im pers o nality o f c ap ita lis m b y s e v era l th o usa nd y ears , c o nd iti o ns o f w ork b ein g s ti ll la rg ely d efin ed b y th e i d io sy ncra sie s o f th e e m plo yers . S om e o f th em s e ek f r ie nd sh ip a nd e v en w hat th eir m aid s d esc rib e a s “th era p y,” th o ugh th ey a re u su ally q uic k to r e d ra w th e lin es o nce th e m aid is p erc eiv ed a s o vers te p pin g. Oth ers d em and d efe re nce b ord erin g o n se rv ility , w hile a n in cre asin g p orti o n o f th e n o uv eau ric he is sim ply o ut o f c o ntr o l. In A ugust 1 999, th e New Y o rk T im es re p orte d o n th e g ro w in g p ro ble m o f d in ner parti e s in u p sc ale h o m es b ein g d is ru p te d b y h o ste sse s s c re am in g a t th eir h elp . T o th e v erb al a b use , a d d pub lis h ed r e p orts o f s e xual a nd p hysic al a ssa ults — th e te enage s o n o f a n e m plo yer, f o r e xam ple , k ic kin g a liv e-in n anny f o r r e fu sin g to m ake s a nd w ic hes f o r h im a nd h is f r ie nd s a fte r s c ho ol. For b ette r o r w ors e , cap ita lis t ra ti o nality is fin ally m akin g so m e head w ay in to th is p re in d ustr ia l backw ate r. N ati o nw id e a nd e v en i n te rn ati o nal c le anin g s e rv ic es l ik e M erry M aid s, M olly M aid s, a nd T he Maid s In te rn ati o nal, a ll o f w hic h h av e a ris e n s in ce th e 1 970s, n o w c o ntr o l 2 0 to 2 5 p erc ent o f th e $ 1.4 billio n h o use cle anin g b usin ess, a nd p erh ap s th eir g re ate st in no vati o n h as b een to a b olis h th e m is tr e ss- maid r e la ti o nsh ip , w ith a ll i ts q uir k s a nd d ep end encie s. The c usto m er h ir e s th e s e rv ic e, n o t th e m aid , w ho h as b een r e p la ced a nyw ay b y a te am o f tw o to fo ur unifo rm ed p eo ple , o nly o ne o f w ho m , th e te am l e ad er, i s u su ally a uth o riz e d to s p eak to th e c usto m er a b out th e w ork a t h and . T he m aid s’ w ages, th eir S ocia l S ecurity ta xes, th eir g re en c ard s, b ackaches, a nd c hild – care p ro ble m s a re th e so le c o ncern o f th e c o m pany, m eanin g th e lo cal fr a nchis e o w ner. If th ere a re co m pla in ts o n e ith er s id e, th ey a re a d dre sse d to th e f r a nchis e o w ner; th e c usto m er a nd th e a ctu al w ork ers need n ev er in te ra ct. S in ce th e fr a nchis e o w ner is u su ally a m id dle -c la ss w hite p ers o n, c le anin g s e rv ic es are th e id eal s o lu ti o n fo r a nyo ne s ti ll s e nsiti v e e no ugh to fin d th e tr a d iti o nal e m plo yer-m aid r e la ti o nsh ip mora lly v exin g. I n a 1 997 a rti c le a b out M erry M aid s, Fra nch is e T im es r e p orte d te rs e ly th at th e “ cate go ry is b oom in g, [ a nd th e] n ic he i s h o t to o, a s A meric ans l o ok to o uts o urc e w ork e v en a t h o m e.” Not a ll c le anin g s e rv ic es d o w ell. T here is a h ig h ra te o f fa ilu re a m ong th e in fo rm al, m om -a nd -p op se rv ic es, lik e o ne I a p plie d to b y p ho ne th at d id n o t e v en r e q uir e a c urs o ry in te rv ie w ; a ll I w ould h av e had to d o w as s h o w u p a t s e v en th e n ext m orn in g. T he “ b oom ” is c o ncentr a te d a m ong th e n ati o nal a nd in te rn ati o nal c hain s— outf its l ik e M erry M aid s, M olly M aid s, M in i M aid s, M aid B rig ad e, a nd T he M aid s In te rn ati o nal— all n am ed , c urio usly e no ugh, to h ig hlig ht th e m ore a nti q ue a sp ects o f th e i n d ustr y , a lth o ugh th e “ m aid ” m ay o ccasio nally b e m ale . I n 1 996, M erry M aid s c la im ed to b e g ro w in g a t 1 5 to 2 0 p erc ent a year, w hile s p okesp ers o ns fo r M olly M aid s a nd T he M aid s In te rn ati o nal e ach to ld m e th at th eir fir m s’ sa le s a re g ro w in g b y 2 5 p erc ent a y ear. L ocal fr a nchis e rs a re e q ually b ullis h . M y b oss a t T he M aid s co nfid ed to m e th at he co uld doub le his busin ess overn ig ht, if only he co uld fin d eno ugh re lia b le em plo yees. To th is e nd , T he M aid s o ffe rs a w eek o f p aid v acati o n, h ealth in su ra nce a fte r n in ety d ays, a nd a fr e e bre akfa st e v ery m orn in g, c o nsis ti n g, a t le ast w here I w ork ed , o f c o ffe e, d oughnuts , b agels , a nd b ananas. Som e fr a nchis e s h av e d ealt w ith th e ti g ht la b or m ark et b y p arti c ip ati n g in w elfa re -to -w ork p ro je cts th at no t o nly f u nnel th em e m plo yees b ut o fte n s u b sid iz e th eir p aychecks w ith p ub lic m oney, a t l e ast f o r th e f ir s t fe w m onth s o f w ork ( w hic h d oesn ’t m ean th at th e n ew ly m in te d m aid e arn s m ore , o nly th at th e c o m pany has to p ay h er le ss). T he M erry M aid s fr a nchis e in th e c ity w here I w ork ed is c o nv enie ntl y lo cate d a blo ck a w ay f r o m th e c ity ’s w elfa re o ffic e. Among th e w om en I w ork ed w ith a t T he M aid s, o nly o ne sa id sh e h ad p re v io usly w ork ed a s a n in d ep end ent, a nd s h e p ro fe sse d to b e p le ase d w ith h er n ew s ta tu s a s a c le anin g-s e rv ic e e m plo yee. S he n o lo nger n eed ed a c ar to g et h er fr o m h o use to h o use , a nd s h e c o uld ta ke a d ay o ff— unp aid , o f c o urs e — to sta y h o m e w ith a s ic k c hild w ith o ut ris k in g th e lo ss o f a c usto m er. C le anin g s e rv ic es a re a n e sp ecia lly ap pealin g o pti o n f o r r e cent i m mig ra nts , w ho a re u nlik ely to h av e c ars o r th e c o nta cts th ey w ould n eed to work a s in d ep end ents ; la rg e s e rv ic es, lik e T he M aid s, h av e v id eo ta p es u se d fo r tr a in in g n ew h ir e s in Spanis h a nd w ell a s E nglis h . I m yse lf c o uld s e e th e a d vanta ge o f n o t h av in g to d eal d ir e ctl y w ith th e custo m ers , w ho w ere s o m eti m es a t h o m e w hile w e w ork ed a nd e ager to m ake u se o f th eir s u p erv is o ry sk ills . C riti c is m s o f o ur m eth o ds, a s w ell a s d em and s th at w e p erfo rm u nsc hed ule d ta sk s, c o uld s im ply b e re fe rre d to th e te am l e ad er o r, b eyo nd h er, to th e f r a nchis e o w ner. But w ork ers in ev ita b ly fa ce lo sse s w hen a n in d ustr y m oves fr o m th e e ntr e p re neuria l to th e in d ustr ia l phase — most s tr ik in gly , in th is c ase , in th e m atte r o f p ay. A t M erry M aid s, I w as p ro m is e d $ 200 fo r a fo rty -h o ur w eek, w ith th e m anager h aste nin g to a d d th at “ yo u c an’t c alc ula te i t i n d olla rs p er h o ur,” s in ce th e f o rty h o urs i n clu d es a ll th e ti m e s p ent tr a v elin g f r o m h o use to h o use — up to f iv e h o use s a d ay— whic h is unp aid . T he M aid s In te rn ati o nal, w ith its str a ig htf o rw ard sta rti n g ra te o f $ 6.6 3 an ho ur, se em ed pre fe ra b le , a lth o ugh th is r a te w as c o nd iti o nal o n p erfe ct a tte nd ance. M is s o ne d ay a nd y o ur w age d ro pped to $ 6 a n h o ur f o r tw o w eeks, a r u le th at w eig hed p arti c ula rly h eav ily o n th o se w ho h ad y o ung c hild re n. I n ad diti o n, I s o on l e arn ed th at m anagem ent h ad w ays o f s h av in g o ff n early a n h o ur’s w orth o f w ages a d ay. We w ere to ld to a rriv e a t 7 :3 0 i n th e m orn in g, b ut o ur b illa b le h o urs b egan o nly a fte r w e h ad b een te am ed up , g iv en o ur lis t o f h o use s fo r th e d ay, a nd p acked o ff in th e c o m pany c ar a t a ro und 8 :0 0. A t th e e nd o f th e d ay, w e w ere n o lo nger p aid fr o m th e m om ent w e le ft th e c ar, a lth o ugh a s m uch a s fifte en m in ute s o f work — so rti n g th ro ugh th e r a gs d ir ti e d i n th e c o urs e o f th e d ay, r e fillin g c le anin g-flu id b ottl e s, a nd th e l ik e —re m ain ed to b e d one in th e o ffic e. S o fo r a s ta nd ard n in e-h o ur d ay, th e a ctu al p ay a m ounte d to a b out $6.0 6 a n h o ur, u nle ss y o u w ere s ti ll b ein g p unis h ed f o r a n a b se nce, i n w hic h c ase i t c am e o ut to $ 5.4 8 a n ho ur. Nor a re c le anin g-s e rv ic e e m plo yees lik ely to r e ceiv e a ny o f th e p erk s o r ti p s fa m ilia r to in d ep end ents —fr e e lu nches a nd c o ffe e, c ast- o ff c lo th in g, o r a C hris tm as g ift o f c ash . W hen I a sk ed , o nly o ne o f m y co w ork ers c o uld re call e v er re ceiv in g a ti p , a nd th at w as a v oucher fo r a fr e e m eal a t a d ow nto w n re sta ura nt o w ned b y a c usto m er. M ore th an a y ear l a te r, s h e h ad s ti ll h ad n’t u se d i t, p ro bab ly b ecause s h e would h av e to e at a lo ne, th e $ 20 o r s o f o r a c o m panio n’s m eal b ein g o ut o f th e q uesti o n. T he c usto m ers o f cle anin g s e rv ic es a re p ro bab ly n o s ti n gie r th an th e e m plo yers o f i n d ep end ents ; th ey j u st d on’t k no w th eir cle anin g p eo ple a nd p ro bab ly w ould n’t r e co gniz e th em o n th e s tr e et. T hey m ay e v en g et a d iffe re nt c re w each v is it. B esid es, c usto m ers p ro bab ly a ssu m e th at th e f e e th ey p ay th e s e rv ic e— $25 p er p ers o n-h o ur i n th e c ase o f m y f r a nchis e o f T he M aid s— go es l a rg ely to th e w ork ers w ho d o th e a ctu al c le anin g. T he m ost in te re sti n g fe atu re of th e cle anin g-s e rv ic e chain s, at le ast fr o m an ab str a ct, his to ric al pers p ecti v e, is th at th ey a re fin ally tr a nsfo rm in g th e h o m e in to a fu lly c ap ita lis t- s ty le w ork p la ce, a nd in ways th at th e o ld w ages-fo r-h o use w ork a d vocate s c o uld n ev er h av e im agin ed . A h o use is a n in nate ly diffic ult w ork p la ce to c o ntr o l, e sp ecia lly a h o use w ith te n o r m ore ro om s, lik e so m any o f th o se w e cle aned ; w ork ers m ay r e m ain o ut o f o ne a no th er’s s ig ht fo r m any m in ute s, a s m uch a s a n h o ur a t a ti m e. For in d ep end ents , th e u ngo vern ab le n atu re o f th e h o m e w ork p la ce m eans a c erta in a m ount o f a uto no m y. They c an ta ke b re aks ( th o ugh th is i s p ro bab ly i ll- a d vis e d i f th e h o m e o w ner i s o n th e p re m is e s); th ey c an ease th e m ono to ny b y l is te nin g to th e r a d io o r te le v is io n w hile th ey w ork . B ut c le anin g s e rv ic es l a y d ow n ru le s m eant to e nfo rc e a fa cto ry lik e— or e v en c o nv entl ik e— dis c ip lin e o n th eir fa r-flu ng e m plo yees. A t The M aid s, th ere w ere n o b re aks e xcep t fo r a d aily te n-m in ute s to p a t a c o nv enie nce s to re fo r c o ffe e o r “lu nch,” m eanin g s o m eth in g lik e a s lic e o f p iz za . O th erw is e , th e ti m e s p ent d riv in g b etw een h o use s w as co nsid ere d o ur “b re ak” and w as th e o nly chance to eat, d rin k, o r (a lth o ugh th is w as als o o ffic ia lly fo rb id den) s m oke a c ig are tte . W hen th e h o use s w ere s p aced w ell a p art, I c o uld e at th e s a nd w ic h I p acked each d ay in o ne sitti n g; o th erw is e it w ould h av e to b e d iv id ed in to a s m any a s th re e se p ara te , h asty sn acks. With in a custo m er’s ho use , no th in g w as to to uch o ur lip s at all— no t ev en w ate r. O n ho t d ays, I so m eti m es b ro ke th at r u le b y d rin kin g f r o m a b ath ro om f a ucet. T ele v is io ns a nd r a d io s w ere o ff- lim its , a nd we w ere n ev er, e v er to c urs e o ut lo ud , e v en in a n o ste nsib ly d ese rte d h o use . T here m ig ht b e a h o m e ow ner se cre te d in so m e lo cked ro om , w e w ere to ld , e ar p re sse d to th e d oor, o r, m ore lik ely , a ta p e re co rd er o r v id eo c am era r u nnin g. A t th e ti m e, I d is m is se d th is a s a s c are s to ry , b ut I h av e s in ce c o m e acro ss a d s fo r c o nceala b le v id eo c am era s, lik e th e T ech 7 “ in cre d ib le c o in -s iz e d c am era ,” d esig ned to “get a v is u al r e co rd o f y o ur b ab ysitte r’s a cti o ns” a nd “ w atc h e m plo yees to p re v ent th eft.” I t w as th e th re at or r u m or o f h id den r e co rd in g d ev ic es, s e t u p b y c usto m ers to c atc h o ne o f u s s te alin g, th at p ro vid ed th e fin al c ap ita lis t- in d ustr ia l to uch: s u p erv is io n. But w hat m akes th e w ork m ost fa cto ry -lik e is th e in te nse T aylo riz a ti o n im pose d b y th e c o m panie s. A n in d ep end ent, o r a p ers o n c le anin g h is o r h er o w n h o m e, c ho ose s w here s h e w ill s ta rt a nd , w ith in e ach ro om , pro bab ly ta ckle s th e m ost egre gio us dir t fir s t. O r sh e m ay pla n her w ork m ore or le ss erg o no m ic ally , f ir s t d oin g w hate v er c an b e d one f r o m a s ta nd in g p ositi o n a nd th en s q uatti n g o r c ro uchin g to r e ach th e l o w er l e v els . B ut w ith th e s p ecia l “ sy ste m s” d ev is e d b y th e c le anin g s e rv ic es a nd i m parte d to em plo yees th ro ugh tr a in in g v id eo s, th ere a re n o s u ch d ecis io ns to m ake. In T he M aid s’ “ health y-to uch” sy ste m , w hic h is s im ila r to w hat I s a w o f th e M erry M aid s’ s y ste m o n th e tr a in in g ta p e I w as s h o w n durin g m y in te rv ie w , all cle anin g is d iv id ed in to fo ur ta sk are as— dusti n g, v acuum in g, kitc hens, and bath ro om s— whic h a re i n tu rn d iv id ed a m ong th e te am m em bers . F or e ach ta sk a re a o th er th an v acuum in g, th ere i s a b ucket c o nta in in g r a gs a nd th e a p pro pria te c le anin g f lu id s, s o th e b ig gest d ecis io n a n e m plo yee has to m ake i s w hic h f lu id a nd s c ru b bin g i n str u m ent ( ra g, b ru sh , o r D obie -b ra nd p la sti c s c o urin g p ad ) to dep lo y o n w hic h kin d o f su rfa ce; alm ost ev ery th in g els e has b een cho re o gra p hed in ad vance. W hen vacuum in g, y o u b egin w ith th e m aste r b ed ro om ; w hen d usti n g, w ith th e f ir s t r o om o ff th e k itc hen, th en y o u move th ro ugh th e r o om s g o in g le ft to r ig ht. W hen e nte rin g e ach r o om , y o u p ro ceed fr o m le ft to r ig ht a nd to p to b otto m , a nd th e s a m e w ith e ach s u rfa ce— le ft to rig ht, to p to b otto m . D ev ia ti o ns a re s u b je ct to re b uke, a s I d is c o vere d w hen a te am l e ad er c aught m e m ovin g m y a rm f r o m r ig ht to l e ft, th en l e ft to r ig ht, while w ip in g W in d ex o ver a F re nch d oor. It’ s n o t e asy fo r a nyo ne w ith e xte nsiv e c le anin g e xp erie nce— and I in clu d e m yse lf in th is c ate go ry — to accep t th is lo ss o f a uto no m y o ver h er m ovem ents fr o m m in ute to m in ute . B ut I c am e to lo ve th e s y ste m : fir s t, b ecause i f y o u h ad n’t a lw ays b een tr a v elin g r ig o ro usly f r o m l e ft to r ig ht, i t w ould h av e b een e asy to lo se y o ur w ay i n s o m e o f th e l a rg er h o use s a nd to o m it o r r e d o a r o om . S eco nd , m any o f o ur h o use s w ere alr e ad y c le an w hen w e s ta rte d , a t le ast b y a ny n o rm al s ta nd ard s, th anks p ro bab ly to a h o use keep er w ho kep t th in gs u p b etw een o ur v is its ; b ut th e a b se nce o f v is ib le d ir t d id n o t m ean th ere w as l e ss w ork to d o, fo r n o s u rfa ce c o uld e v er b e n egle cte d , s o it w as im porta nt to h av e “ th e s y ste m ” to r e m in d y o u o f w here yo u h ad b een a nd w hat y o u h ad a lr e ad y “ cle aned .” N o d oub t th e b ig gest a d vanta ge o f th e s y ste m , th o ugh, is th at it h elp s y o u a chie v e th e s p eed d em and ed b y th e c o m pany, w hic h a llo ts o nly s o m any m in ute s p er dom ic ile ( fr o m a b out fo rty -fiv e fo r a s m allis h a p artm ent u p to s e v era l h o urs p er h o use ). A fte r a w eek o r tw o o n th e j o b, I f o und m yse lf m ovin g r o botl ik e f r o m s u rfa ce to s u rfa ce, g ra te fu l to h av e b een r e lie v ed o f th e th in kin g-p ro cess. Even r itu al w ork , h o w ev er, ta kes i ts to ll o n th o se a ssig ned to p erfo rm i t. T urn o ver i s d iz zy in gly h ig h i n th e c le anin g-s e rv ic e i n d ustr y , a nd n o t o nly b ecause o f th e u su al c halle nges th at c o nfr o nt th e w ork in g p oor, in clu d in g c hild -c are p ro ble m s, u nre lia b le tr a nsp orta ti o n, e v ic ti o ns, a nd p rio r h ealth c o nd iti o ns. A s m y lo ngw in d ed in te rv ie w er a t M erry M aid s w arn ed m e, a nd a s m y c o w ork ers a t T he M aid s c o nfir m ed , th is is a p hysic ally p unis h in g o ccup ati o n, s o m eth in g to ti d e y o u o ver f o r a f e w m onth s, n o t y ear a fte r y ear. T he hand s-a nd -k nees p ostu re d am ages knees, w ith o r w ith o ut p ad s; v acuum in g str a in s th e b ack; co nsta nt wip in g a nd s c ru b bin g i n v ite r e p eti ti v e-s tr e ss i n ju rie s e v en i n th e v ery y o ung. I n m y th re e w eeks a s a m aid , I s u ffe re d n o th in g m ore th an a p ers is te nt m usc le s p asm i n th e r ig ht f o re arm — fr o m s c ru b bin g, I s u p pose — but th e d am age w ould h av e b een fa r w ors e if I’ d h ad to g o h o m e e v ery d ay to m y o w n h o use w ork a nd child re n, a s m ost o f m y c o w ork ers d id , in ste ad o f re tu rn in g to m y m ote l a nd in d ulg in g in a d aily a fte r- work r e gim en o f ic e p acks a nd s tr e tc hes. C ho re s th at s e em e ffo rtl e ss a t h o m e, e v en a lm ost r e cre ati o nal when u nd erta ken a t w ill f o r tw enty m in ute s o r s o a t a ti m e, q uic kly tu rn n asty w hen p erfo rm ed h o ur a fte r ho ur, w ith f e w o r n o b re aks a nd u nd er r e le ntl e ss ti m e p re ssu re . So f a r, th e i n d ep end ent, e ntr e p re neuria l h o use c le aner i s h o ld in g h er o w n, b ut th ere a re r e aso ns to th in k th at co rp ora te cle anin g se rv ic es w ill ev entu ally dom in ate th e in d ustr y . N ew use rs ofte n pre fe r th e im pers o nal, s ta nd ard iz e d s e rv ic e o ffe re d b y th e c hain s, a nd i n a f a st- g ro w in g i n d ustr y , n ew u se rs m ake u p a siz a b le c hunk o f th e to ta l c lie nte le . G overn m ent re gula ti o n a ls o fa v ors th e c o rp ora te c hain s, w ho se sp okesm en s p eak g ra te fu lly o f th e “ Z oë B air d e ffe ct,” r e fe rrin g to c usto m ers ’ w orrie s a b out b ein g c aught em plo yin g a n u nd ocum ente d im mig ra nt. B ut th e fu tu re o f h o use cle anin g m ay d ep end o n th e e ntr y o f e v en big ger p la yers in to th e in d ustr y . M erry M aid s, th e la rg est o f th e c hain s, h as th e a d vanta ge o f b ein g a u nit with in th e $ 6.4 b illio n S erv ic eM aste r c o nglo m era te , w hic h i n clu d es s u ch r e la te d b usin esse s a s T ru G re en Chem Law n, T erm in ix , R esc ue R oote r, a nd F urn itu re M ed ic . A fe w o th er la rg e fir m s a re te sti n g, o r h av e te ste d , th e w ate r: J o hnso n W ax a cq uir e d M olly M aid i n 1 987–88, th en a b and oned i t, a cco rd in g to a M olly Maid s p okesp ers o n, b ecause th e w ax p eo ple w ere to o “ p ro duct o rie nte d ” f o r th e “ re la ti o nal” c ultu re o f a se rv ic e-p ro vid in g c o m pany. S w is h er In te rn ati o nal, b est k no w n a s a n in d ustr ia l to ile t- c le anin g s e rv ic e, is opera ti n g S w is h er M aid s in G eo rg ia a nd N orth C aro lin a; a nd S ears m ay b e fe elin g its w ay in to th e busin ess to o. If la rg e m ulti n ati o nal fir m s esta b lis h a fo oth o ld in th e in d ustr y , th e m obile custo m ers so cio lo gis t S ask ia S asse n calls th e “new tr a nsn ati o nal p ro fe ssio nals ” w ill b e ab le to fin d th e sa m e bra nd ed a nd s ta nd ard iz e d p ro duct w here v er th ey r e lo cate . F or th e a ctu al w ork ers , th e c hange w ill, i n a ll lik elih o od, m ean a m ore s ta nd ard iz e d a nd s p eed ed -u p a p pro ach to th e w ork , w ith l e ss f r e ed om o f m oti o n and f e w er c hances to p ause . T he tr e nd to w ard o uts o urc in g th e w ork o f th e h o m e s e em s, a t th e m om ent, u nsto ppab le . T w o h und re d years a go , w om en m anufa ctu re d s o ap , c and le s, c lo th , a nd c lo th in g i n th eir o w n h o m es, a nd th e c o m pla in ts of so m e w om en a t th e tu rn o f th e tw enti e th c entu ry th at th ey h ad b een “ ro bbed … b y th e re m oval o f cre a tiv e w ork ” fr o m th e h o m e s o und p oin tl e ssly r e acti o nary to day. N ot o nly h av e th e s k ille d c ra fts , lik e se w in g a nd c o okin g f r o m s c ra tc h, l e ft th e h o m e, b ut m any o f th e “ w hite -c o lla r” ta sk s a re o n th eir w ay o ut to o. F or a fe e, new fir m s lik e S an F ra ncis c o -b ase d L es C oncie rg es and C ro ss It O ff Y our L is t in Manhatta n w ill p ic k u p d ry c le a nin g, b ab y-s it p ets , b uy g ro cerie s, deliv er d in ner, e v en d o th e C hris tm as sh o ppin g. W ith o th er fir m s a nd in d iv id uals o ffe rin g to b uy y o ur c lo th es, o rg aniz e y o ur fin ancia l file s, str a ig hte n o ut y o ur c lo se ts a nd d ra w ers , a nd w ait a ro und in y o ur h o m e fo r th e p lu m ber to s h o w u p , w hy would a nyo ne w ant to h o ld o n to th e to ile t c le anin g? Abse nt a lo ng-te rm s o urin g o f th e e co no m y, th ere is e v ery r e aso n to th in k th at A meric ans w ill b eco m e in cre asin gly r e lia nt o n p aid h o use keep ers a nd th at th is r e lia nce w ill e xte nd e v er fu rth er in to th e m id dle cla ss. F or o ne th in g, th ere is n o r e aso n to e xp ect th at m en w ill v olu nta rily ta ke o n a g re ate r s h are o f th e burd en, a nd m uch o f th e n eed fo r p aid h elp a ris e s fr o m th eir a b dic ati o n. A s fo r c hild re n, o nce a h and y so urc e o f h o use ho ld h elp : th ey a re n o w o ff a t s o ccer p ra cti c e o r S A T-p re p c la sse s, a nd G ra nd m oth er h as re lo cate d to w arm er w eath er o r ta ken u p a s e co nd c are er. F urth erm ore , d esp ite th e f a ct th at p eo ple s p end le ss ti m e a t h o m e th an e v er, th e s q uare fo ota ge o f n ew h o m es s w elle d b y 3 9 p erc ent b etw een 1 971 a nd 1996, to i n clu d e f a m ily r o om s, h o m e-e nte rta in m ent r o om s, h o m e o ffic es, b ed ro om s, a nd o fte n a b ath ro om fo r e ach f a m ily m em ber. 9 B y th e s e co nd q uarte r o f 1 999, 1 7 p erc ent o f n ew h o m es w ere l a rg er th an th re e th o usa nd s q uare fe et, w hic h is u su ally c o nsid ere d th e s iz e th re sh o ld fo r h o use ho ld h elp , o r th e p oin t a t whic h a h o use b eco m es u nm anageab le to th e p eo ple w ho l iv e i n i t. 10 One m ore tr e nd im pels p eo ple to h ir e o uts id e h elp , a cco rd in g to c le anin g e xp ert C hery l M end els o n: fe w er A meric ans k no w h o w to c le an o r e v en to “ str a ig hte n u p .” I h ear th is fr o m p ro fe ssio nal w om en defe nd in g th eir d ecis io n to h ir e a m aid : “ I’ m ju st n o t v ery g o od a t it m yse lf” o r “ I w ould n’t r e ally k no w where to b egin .” S in ce m ost o f u s l e arn to c le an f r o m o ur p are nts ( u su ally o ur m oth ers ), a ny d im in uti o n o f cle anin g sk ills is tr a nsm itte d fr o m o ne g enera ti o n to th e n ext, lik e a g ene th at c an, in th e a p pro pria te env ir o nm ent, tu rn o ut to b e l e th al o r d is a b lin g. U pper-m id dle -c la ss c hild re n r a is e d i n th e s e rv ant e co no m y of th e e arly tw enty -fir s t c entu ry a re b ound to g ro w u p a s d om esti c ally i n co m pete nt a s th eir p are nts , a nd n o le ss d ep end ent o n o th ers to c le an u p a fte r th em . M end els o n s e es th is a s a m eta p hysic al l o ss, a “ m atte r o f no lo nger bein g physic ally cente re d in yo ur env ir o nm ent.” H av in g cle aned th e ro om s of m any overp riv ile ged te enagers d urin g m y s ti n t w ith T he M aid s, I th in k th e p ro ble m is a littl e m ore u rg ent th an th at. T he A meric an overc la ss is ra is in g a genera ti o n of yo ung peo ple w ho w ill, w ith o ut co nsta nt assis ta nce, s u ffo cate i n th eir o w n d etr itu s. If th ere a re m ora l lo sse s, to o, a s A meric ans in cre ase th eir r e lia nce o n p aid h o use ho ld h elp , n o o ne h as been ta ctl e ss e no ugh to ra is e th em . A lm ost e v ery th in g w e b uy, a fte r a ll, is th e p ro duct o f so m e o th er pers o n’s s u ffe rin g a nd m is e ra b ly u nd erp aid la b or. I c le an m y o w n h o use , b ut I c an h ard ly c la im p urity in any o th er a re a o f c o nsu m pti o n. I b uy m y j e ans a t th e G ap , w hic h i s r e p ute d to s u b co ntr a ct to s w eats h o ps. I te nd to fa v or d eco ra ti v e o bje cts n o d oub t r ip ped o ff, b y th eir p urv eyo rs , fr o m s c anti ly p aid T hir d W orld cra fts p ers o ns. L ik e e v ery o ne e ls e , I e at sa la d g re ens p ic ked b y m ig ra nt fa rm -w ork ers , so m e o f th em possib ly child re n. A nd so o n. W e can tr y to m in im iz e th e p ain th at go es in to fe ed in g, clo th in g, and oth erw is e p ro vis io nin g o urs e lv es— by o bse rv in g b oyco tts , c heckin g fo r a u nio n la b el, a nd so o n— but th ere i s n o w ay to a v oid i t a lto geth er w ith o ut l iv in g i n th e w ild ern ess o n b errie s. W hy s h o uld h o use w ork , am ong a ll th e g o ods a nd s e rv ic es w e c o nsu m e, a ro use a ny s p ecia l a ngst? Yet i t d oes, a s I h av e f o und i n c o nv ers a ti o ns w ith l ib era l- m in d ed e m plo yers o f m aid s, p erh ap s b ecause we a ll s e nse th at th ere a re w ays i n w hic h h o use w ork i s d iffe re nt f r o m o th er p ro ducts a nd s e rv ic es. F ir s t i s its i n ev ita b le p ro xim ity to th e a cti v iti e s th at c o nsti tu te “ p riv ate ” l ife . T he h o m e th at b eco m es a w ork p la ce fo r o th er p eo ple re m ain s a ho m e, ev en w hen th at w ork p la ce is m in ute ly re gula te d b y th e co rp ora te cle anin g c hain s. S om eo ne w ho h as n o q ualm s a b out p urc hasin g r u gs w oven b y c hild -s la v es in In d ia , o r co ffe e p ic ked b y r u in ed p easa nts in G uate m ala , m ig ht s ti ll h esita te to te ll d in ner g uests th at, s u rp ris in gly eno ugh, h is o r h er l o vely h o m e d oub le s a s a s w eats h o p d urin g th e d ay. Y ou c an e sc hew th e c hain c le anin g se rv ic es o f c o urs e , h ir e a n i n d ep end ent c le aner a t a g enero us h o urly w age, a nd e v en e nco ura ge, a t l e ast i n sp ir it, th e u nio niz a ti o n o f th e h o use cle anin g i n d ustr y — and o f c o urs e y o u s h o uld d o a ll th ese th in gs i f y o u are a n e m plo yer o f h o use ho ld h elp . B ut n o ne o f th is w ill c hange th e f a ct th at s o m eo ne i s w ork in g i n y o ur ho m e a t a j o b s h e w ould a lm ost c erta in ly n ev er h av e c ho se n f o r h ers e lf— if s h e’d h ad a c o lle ge e d ucati o n, fo r e xam ple , o r w as a n ati v e-b orn A meric an w ith g o od E nglis h s k ills — or th at th e p la ce w here s h e w ork s, ho w ev er e nth usia sti c ally o r r e se ntf u lly , i s th e s a m e a s th e p la ce w here y o u s le ep . It is a ls o th e p la ce w here y o ur c hild re n a re ra is e d , a nd w hat th ey le arn p re tty q uic kly is th at s o m e peo ple a re le ss w orth y th an o th ers . E ven b ette r wages a nd w ork in g c o nd iti o ns w on’t e ra se th e h ie ra rc hy betw een a n e m plo yer a nd h is o r h er d om esti c h elp , sin ce th e h elp is u su ally th ere o nly b ecause th e em plo yer h as “ so m eth in g b ette r” to d o w ith h er ti m e, a s o ne r e p ort o n th e g ro w th o f c le anin g s e rv ic es p uts it, n o t n o ti c in g th e o bvio us im plic ati o n th at th e c le anin g p ers o n h ers e lf h as noth in g b ette r to d o w ith h er ti m e. In a m ere ly m id dle -c la ss h o m e, th e m essa ge m ay b e re in fo rc ed b y a w arn in g to th e c hild re n th at th at’ s w hat th ey’ll e nd u p d oin g if th ey d on’t tr y h ard er in s c ho ol. H ouse w ork , a s r a d ic al fe m in is ts o nce pro pose d , d efin es a h um an r e la ti o nsh ip a nd , w hen u neq ually d iv id ed a m ong th e s o cia l g ro up s, r e in fo rc es pre exis ti n g i n eq ualiti e s. D ir t, i n o th er w ord s, te nd s to a tta ch to th e p eo ple w ho r e m ove i t— “garb agem en” and “ cle anin g l a d ie s.” O r, a s c le anin g e ntr e p re neur D on A sle tt to ld m e w ith s o m e b itte rn ess— and th is i s a s u ccessfu l m an, th e c hair m an o f th e b oard o f a n in d ustr ia l c le anin g s e rv ic e a nd a fr e q uent te le v is io n guest— “T he w ho le m enta lity o ut th ere i s th at i f y o u c le an, y o u’re a s c um ball.” I ncre asin gly o fte n, th e h o use c le aner is a w om an o f c o lo r a nd a r e cent a rriv al fr o m th e T hir d W orld , s o th at th e im plic it le sso n fo r th e h o use ho ld ’s c hild re n is th at a nyo ne fe m ale w ith d ark sk in a nd b ro ken Englis h i s a p ers o n o f i n fe rio r s ta tu s— so m eo ne w ho h as “ no th in g b ette r” to d o. W hat w e r is k a s d om esti c work is ta ken o ver b y im mig ra nt w ork ers is r e p ro ducin g, w ith in o ur o w n h o m es, th e g lo bal in eq ualiti e s th at s o p ain fu lly d iv id e th e w orld . There i s a no th er l e sso n th e s e rv ant e co no m y te aches i ts b enefic ia rie s a nd , m ost tr o ub lin gly , th e c hild re n am ong th em . T o b e c le aned u p a fte r is to a chie v e a c erta in m agic al w eig htl e ssn ess a nd im mate ria lity . Alm ost ev ery o ne co m pla in s ab out vio le nt vid eo gam es, but paid ho use cle anin g has th e sa m e co nse q uence-a b olis h in g e ffe ct: y o u b la st th e v illa in in to a m is t o f b lo od d ro ple ts a nd m ove r ig ht a lo ng; yo u d ro p th e so cks k no w in g th ey w ill e v entu ally le v ita te , la und ere d a nd fo ld ed , b ack to th eir n o rm al dw ellin g p la ce. T he r e su lt i s a k in d o f v ir tu al e xis te nce, i n w hic h th e tr a il o f l itte r th at f o llo w s y o u s e em s to e v ap ora te a ll b y its e lf. S pill s y ru p o n th e flo or a nd th e c le anin g p ers o n w ill s c ru b it o ff w hen s h e co m es o n W ed nesd ay. L eav e th e Wall S tr e et J o urn al s c atte re d a ro und y o ur a ir p la ne s e at a nd th e flig ht atte nd ants w ill d eal w ith it a fte r y o u’v e d ep la ned . S pra y to xin s in to th e a tm osp here fr o m y o ur fa cto ry ’s sm okesta cks a nd th ey w ill b e filte re d o ut e v entu ally b y th e lu ngs o f th e b re ath in g p ub lic . A se rv ant eco no m y m ay p ro vid e o pportu niti e s, h o w ev er l im ite d , f o r p oor a nd i m mig ra nt w om en. B ut i t a ls o b re ed s callo usn ess a nd so lip sis m in th e se rv ed , a nd it d oes so a ll th e m ore e ffe cti v ely w hen th e se rv ic e is perfo rm ed c lo se u p a nd r o uti n ely i n th e p la ce w here th ey l iv e a nd r e p ro duce. In d iv id ual s itu ati o ns v ary , o f c o urs e , in w ays th at e lu d e b la nket ju d gm ent. S om e p eo ple — th e e ld erly and d is a b le d , p are nts o f n ew b ab ie s, a sth m ati c s w ho re q uir e a n a lle rg en-fr e e e nv ir o nm ent— may w ell need h elp p erfo rm in g w hat n urs in g-h o m e sta ffe rs c all th e A DLs, o r a cti v iti e s o f d aily liv in g, a nd n o sh am e s h o uld b e a tta ched to th eir d ep end ency. In a m ore g enero us s o cia l o rd er, h o use keep in g s e rv ic es would b e su b sid iz e d fo r th o se w ho h av e h ealth -re la te d re aso ns to n eed th em — a m easu re th at w ould genera te a s u rfe it o f jo bs fo r th e e ntr y -le v el w ork ers w ho n o w c le an th e h o m es o f th e a fflu ent. A nd in a le ss g end er-d iv id ed so cia l o rd er, h usb and s a nd b oyfr ie nd s w ould m ore re ad ily d o th eir sh are o f th e cho re s. T he g ro w in g s e rv ant e co no m y, w ith a ll th e q uand arie s it g enera te s, is la rg ely a re su lt o f m en’s co nti n uin g a b dic ati o n f r o m th eir d om esti c r e sp onsib iliti e s. How ev er w e re so lv e th e is su e in o ur in d iv id ual h o m es, th e m ora l c halle nge is , p ut s im ply , to m ake work v is ib le again : no t o nly th e sc ru b bin g and v acuum in g, b ut all th e ho ein g, sta ckin g, ham merin g, drillin g, b end in g, a nd lifti n g th at g o es in to c re ati n g a nd m ain ta in in g a liv ab le h ab ita t. In a n e v er m ore eco no m ic ally u neq ual w orld , w here s o m any o f th e a fflu ent d ev ote th eir liv es to g ho stl y p urs u its lik e sto ck tr a d in g, im age m akin g, a nd o pin io n p ollin g, re al w ork , in th e o ld -fa sh io ned se nse o f la b or th at engages h and a s w ell a s e ye, th at ti r e s th e b ody a nd d ir e ctl y a lte rs th e p hysic al w orld te nd s to v anis h f r o m sig ht. T he fe m in is ts o f m y genera ti o n tr ie d to b rin g so m e o f it in to th e lig ht o f d ay, b ut, lik e b usy pro fe ssio nal w om en fle ein g th e h o use in th e m orn in g, th ey le ft th e p ro je ct u nfin is h ed , th e d eb ate b ro ken off i n m id -s e nte nce, th e n o ble i n te nti o ns u nfu lfille d . S ooner o r l a te r, s o m eo ne e ls e w ill h av e to f in is h th e jo b.

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