I was rocking some power-reading over the long weekend. And one of the books I was consuming at rapid speed was The Help. This is actually one of the rare occasions where I actually saw the movie before I read the book. I know. Weird.
My impression of the movie - it was hysterically funny, but also insightful into the lives of the early 60s housewives and their subsequent house maids. As I read the pages outlining the cultural divide between the careers of black women, raised to be maids to earn enough to get by, and the bonds they forge with the white babies they raise (although not always with their white employers) it made me wonder - what happened to this way of life?
Did house maids eventually fade away as an employment option, as the black community earned equal rights to education, and therefore better jobs?
Did white women start to roll up their own sleeves, earning Independence and aimed to take care of the households themselves?
What puzzles me with both cultures is over time women have become drastically more educated and independent. We have marched in and out of university, earned employment, yet are still struggling to maintain the role of the housewife, the housemaid, and the career-women. Wouldn't this be an age where women would WANT support at home the most?
The book brought to light the types of housewives who had hired help but also had endless time for bridge club, social committees and hair appointments. Yet, the modern women now, working 40 hours a week, culturally has no help, and attempts to fill the same role. I mean, when was the last time I went to bridge club?
I had to wonder if Help, be it of any race, gender or orientation - has a place, now more than ever, in our busy lives. It seems in the 1960s, having help was not uncommon however, in the new millennium it's practically unheard of. Although, come to think of it, Charlotte and Miranda in Sex and The City both had nannies...so maybe it's a making a come back.
Maybe it's a weird admission, but I saw that movie and thought "I could use THAT Help!" - and I don't even have kids yet. Someone to help me manage a household with laundry, cleaning, cooking and vacuuming would be a GOD SEND. And taking care of kids? Well..maybe one day...I would probably appreciate it ten times more.
Maybe I've struck on an emerging career idea, because it seems to me that the housemaid role which vanished over time, could certainly use a resurrection - with equal pay and benefits. What do you think?
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