This is for my fellow house cleaners. If you do house cleaning for a living, I wanna give you a piece of advice, don’t let anyone call you a maid. For starters the term maid comes from the term “Maiden” (was often used to describe “a virgin; a young, unmarried woman around 12th century).
However, the most recent meaning from the last couple centuries was use to describe a female servant/salve. In case y’all forgot servant’s were slaves and in the best case scenario they were highly exploited and mistreated by their masters.
Being someone’s maid has a serious derogatory connotation, I’m not not a fan of cancelled culture, hardly anything offends me, but if there is one word that should literally be noted as offensive, is calling someone a maid or a servant, which is practically the same thing as calling someone a slave, because as I mentioned Domestic Servitude has its background in Slavery.
There are many articles that talk about this and tangle around the subject, but practically , servitude was the succession of slavery. As a matter of fact, salves were considering servants. In any history, all servants, especially women, were seriously exploited and taken advantage off. Humans are Supremist by nature. People will take advantage of others they deem inferior. More often than not they justify such actions, such as paying ilegal immigrants way below living wages with the reasoning that they are supporting them by providing labor in the first place. Nothing justifies exploitation but I digress.
Many of these maids, had almost no time off, or days off; they were treated as inferior beings, including constant psychological and physical abuse, as if serving their masters was some type of honor. Im not blaming racism because this mentality has happened in all cultures and races.
Before the depression it was common for most middle-class Americans to have a full-time servant in their homes. After the depression, due to many people, not being able to afford servants there was a huge shift where most people were no longer interested in being anyone’s servant or maid.
As quoted on an article written by Erin Blakemore;
“The experts saw that employers who continued to hire domestic workers during the Depression believed that they did a worker a favor by offering her a job at all,” writes Dudden. People even stopped paying servants altogether, offering instead an “opportunity home” that traded food and shelter for domestic work.”
I also found this from another article:
“How America Tried (and Failed) to Solve Its ‘Servant Problem’
In the early part of the twentieth century
In 1928, a group called the National Council on Household Employment brought together working servants, labor activists, efficiency experts, and even future First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to try to solve the so-called ‘servant problem.’ The ‘servant problem’ boiled down to the fact that wealthier women wanted reliable, cheap, willing labor, but poorer women (many of them black) did not want to be their servants. The NHCE tried to figure out why. They concluded that not only was domestic service undesirable because of its low pay and unlimited hours, but that the terms ‘servant’ and ‘maid’ alienated would-be domestics.”
America’s domestic home help workers, most of them female members of minority groups, earn low wages and often receive no retirement or health benefits because the lack of basic labor protections.
Domestic workers are also excluded from vacation time, sick time, and overtime, and only thirteen percent of domestic workers get health insurance provided by their employers. A report from the National Domestic Workers Alliance and affiliated groups found that nearly a quarter of nannies, caregivers, and home health workers make less than the minimum wage in the states in which they work, and nearly half – 48 percent – are paid less than needed to adequately support a family. Many of these workers are subjected to abuse, sexual harassment, and social inequality. However, because domestic workers work in the home, their struggles are hidden in the home and out of the public spotlight.“
This problem and paradigm from many if not most middle & upper class people still persist till this day. If I had a penny for every time I had customers try to bargain our prices or insist into making us work extra hours at not additional charge, I’d be retired by now. The entitlement of many people that grew up either having domestic employees or simply seeing cleaning with the popularized ignorant view of a mediocre low class labor that requires no skill nor intelligence to perform, is mind blowing to me.
This is my desperate attempt to educate people. Classism it’s still very present in today’s society, and I mean the real classism, the one that discriminates and belittles other people just for being deemed inferior. No one should be paid bellow living wages regardless of anything, including immigration status.
On that note, when you are underpay illegal immigrants you don’t just hurt them, you hurt their legacy, their children grow up under the shadow of discrimination and many of them grow up resenting society. Everything has repercussions, it doesn’t just end with the person being abused. If you don’t believe illegal immigrants should make the same as legal immigrants, then don’t hire them in the 1st place. Don’t excuse yourself by Virtue Signaling, but I digress.
People need to get over the whole idea of classifying certain jobs or services as less than worthy. That is an ignorant outdated mentality to have that helps absolutely no one. There are even services these days of dog poop cleaning, which charge very decently and people pay it, why, because it’s the convenience they are paying for. It’s a chore they simply don’t feel like doing, and they rather do other things with their time. All jobs and services are needed and required and should be compensated accordingly to the level of effort, in order to make it appealing for people to do it.
First of all, heavy physical labor should never be paid at minimum wage, such as gardening, carpet, windows, etc. Second of all, from all the manual physical labors, cleaning is one that most ppl can do at a very basic level, but very few can actually do right. Which is why most big cleaning companies have so many bad reviews, because they focus on quantity over quality. Same goes with restaurants, you can’t compare a fast food burger to a high end restaurant burger. However, when it comes to food most people don’t care about the quality, (although they should) but when it comes to hiring a service to clean your home, you should because you are still paying a significant amount to get below average service.
People always have this consumerism mentality of buying things on a bargain. It doesn’t work that way with cleaning services; that’s because the way marketing works is to give people the impression of having a bargain when in reality they are paying a fair price for the product they are consuming. When it comes to human labor, you are not purchasing a perfect replicated service. You are purchasing trustworthy trained manual labor (we take the time to vet, train, and supervise these people for you and so much more).
While most companies cannot teach 2 people to work the exact same way, we try our best to teach them the basics and to supervise our workers efforts and performance by incentivizing them with bonuses and whatnot. However, that doesn’t guarantee any expectations. The best performance, however, for these kinds of services, you are going to find it with small businesses only. A big company will never be able to replicate quality training, unless they charge 10x more. Just how they do with luxury hotels & other services.
Contrary to popular beliefs, being a professional cleaners requires more than just 2 hands, anyone can pass a rag around your house and call it cleaning. Anyone can scramble egg and call it cooking, but real cooking and real cleaning are a whole other ball game.
Professional cleaning requires a lot of skill, insane attention to detail, amazing memory skills, a lot of endurance, a lot of improvising skills and thinking on your feet, as well as high level of worth ethics and people skills.
Working as a professional cleaners is like becoming a professional puzzle solver. No customer is ever the same, therefore, no house is ever the same. We have to figure out how to get the job done with the customer’s budget which is always a challenge.
That alone with the fact that all residues are different and some of them can be very tough and complicated to remove. There are infinite complexities in a home and it takes a certain type of person to know how to deal with it.
So my advice to you is to forget about the idea that cleaning is not a skilled job, and that it’s ok to call a person a Maid just because they do cleaning! At least in America people don’t wanna be called servants, just for doing domestic labor. We are professional cleaners. Period.
Have respect for other people, every job is very valuable otherwise no one would request it, and they deserve to be paid the market value, not the classist value.