‘Guilt-tripping misogynist crap’: Opinion in the Guardian tells of one feminist’s anguish over hiring female cleaner
Howard lamented she used to return home to “a clean kitchen and bathroom and a drenching sense of guilt.” Hiring a female to clean her home weighed on her “feminist conscience,” so she was inspired to go “undercover” as a cleaner to learn more about the job firsthand for a new book. Working in office buildings and hotels, she says, “I picked used tampons off bathroom carpets and scrubbed bathtub tidemarks and sauces spattered across kitchen walls.”
She goes on to demand cleaners be paid more, but she admits that paying her own cleaner well above the national average still wasn’t enough to alleviate her guilt.
“Did I find I could hire a cleaner with a clean conscience? No, but I found I could ease my feminist conscience by scrubbing my own toilet,” she announces at the end of her Guardian piece, which is meant to promote her book ‘The Home Stretch’ on the same subject.Also on rt.com NHS distributes ‘inclusive’ leaflet about smear tests for transgender men, forgets to mention women
The author says she was also inspired to fire her cleaner as some sort of woke message to her three-year-old son.
“I did not want him to see the labour of some women as less worthwhile than the labour and leisure of other women and men. Middle-class women’s emancipation from housework has come at the cost of reinscribing poor women’s ties to it,” she writes.
Howard’s discovery of self through scrubbing toilets and taking a job away from someone has gone viral, with many not sharing in her suffering and criticizing her for undervaluing women’s labor.
Hang on, I realise everyone is all over this article but: the author’s ‘realisation’ that she ‘can’t’ pay a woman to clean for her came about because she thought her toddler son saw woman’s work as undervalued because... she paid a woman a fair wage? What? https://t.co/O3pg1moDuN— Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley (@lottelydia) March 8, 2020
The Times columnist Janice Turner slammed Howard’s piece as “guilt-tripping misogynist crap” in a Twitter thread where she mentions her own mother being a cleaner for years. Many others supported her in saying the article shames household workers.
What guilt-tripping misogynist crap. My mother was a cleaner: it gave her a crumb of financial independence & paid for eg my school shoes. Hiring a cleaner & paying her (nearly always *her*) well is Wages for Housework in another form. No one asks if it’s acceptable for a man. https://t.co/dgfw0fSDjT— Janice Turner (@VictoriaPeckham) March 8, 2020
Anyway Happy International Women’s Day. Feel no guilt for paying for women’s time to do labour which is normally invisible & unpaid.✊— Janice Turner (@VictoriaPeckham) March 8, 2020
What is wrong with being a cleaner? For a domestic cleaner wages are above living wage for many, it has highly flexible hours and in a safe environment with a high degree of autonomy.— GH (@RogdFamily) March 8, 2020
Others also wondered why Howard presumes in her piece a cleaner will be a woman, and therefore a threat to her feminist conscience — the author does mention a disproportionate number of women are cleaners, but she makes no mention of any attempt to hire a male to do the job.
Is it institutionally sexist to assume the cleaner is a woman..?— Chris Hallam (@ChrisHallamLaw) March 8, 2020
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