“Miss Housekeeping”

As Mark and the betting markets amply demonstrated, Hillary Clinton crushed Donald Trump last night. Whatever else happens, it’s great that young people had the opportunity to see a professional woman take on a bombastic, powerful man–and clean his clock when the stakes could hardly be higher. She was smarter, tougher, better-prepared.

One moment really struck me. Clinton noted the fact that Trump had called Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, “Miss Piggy,” and “Miss Housekeeping.” Of course the “Miss Piggy” comment attracts greatest attention. Trump didn’t like that Ms. Machado had gained some weight.

His “Miss Housekeeping” comment hit me harder. It is, at-once, a sexist slur directed at Latina women and a revolting display of Trump’s disdain for the dignity of difficult work.

I do a lot of business travel. I once ran across a young woman who was working as a hotel maid. Her young daughter tagged along as the woman cleaned the rooms. Maybe there was no school that day or something. That’s real life for millions of people. Housekeepers work hard, for pretty low wages, in a not-always-pleasant occupation. People do this work to support themselves and feed their families. I overheard one woman working a similarly tough occupation tell a co-worker, “I don’t work for my boss. I work for my kids.” Millions of women do.

When I worked for a short while as a janitor, I received a small taste of the difficulty and the deceptively fast pace of the work required to clean up after others. Such work allows University of Chicago professors to enjoy our conference trips. It allows casino resort owners such as Donald Trump to make a living. To disparage their work disgusts me. Many of these women contribute more to this world than Donald Trump currently is doing. They may pay higher taxes, too.

More here.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

13 thoughts on ““Miss Housekeeping””

  1. It gets worse. Trump went on Fox and Fiends today and defended himself by saying that Ms. Machado was really fat. And really, can you blame him? Going after Khizr Khan worked out so well.

  2. What you said, plus, they need to be in a union. Further, I don't get why people have to clean offices at night. Get your feet out of the way, remember that your mother doesn't work here (and neither does your father), stop being such a slob and maybe everyone could bleeping sleep at night for bleep's sake. I'm sure someone can invent a quieter vacuum or we could just switch to sweepers. Seriously. Further, as I said here before… if a person has never done manual labor of any kind, and particularly never cleaned a toilet, I am inclined to think less of them and possibly not trust them. (It got eaten though so I repeat it.) If you use a toilet you are not too special to clean one. He's a jerk but we already knew that.

    1. Back when I did cleaning as a part time job while I was in school, I vastly preferred doing it at night when no one was around. Part of it may be that I'm just an anti-social night owl, but it's also just a lot easier to do. People getting their feet out of the way in order to sweep or vacuum doesn't even begin to describe how annoying it was to clean around people.

      1. Those are excellent points. People *are* annoying!!! Especially me. There are lots of health effects to working at night though. Maybe it could just be an option to choose for people. I do think most of us could stand to be more considerate.

  3. Hotel housekeepers work very damn hard. Just pushing that loaded cart from room to room is tough on the body.

    This generalizes. Lots of low-paying jobs are hard work, and we too often fail to recognize that. We need ways to make sure that hard work really is rewarded, in fact, not just in political rhetoric.

    Meanwhile, leave a nice tip, for Pete's sake.

  4. You are being misdirected. Mr. Trump isn't talking to you/me/us. He is only talking to his people and he is saying what they want to hear.

    The fact that Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton are addressing perfectly disjoint audiences, who by now cannot agree on any proposition whatever, is the real problem. It no longer matters EXACTLY what either side wants to hear or why.

    1. I agree, and that's why I find it frustrating that journalists keep saying the Clinton won the debate. Any intelligent person knows that Clinton won the debate. But the purpose of the debates is not to name a winner of the debates. It is to attract swing voters. I have not read a word about what people who might vote for Trump thought of the debate. Did it make them more or less likely to vote for Trump?

      1. Debates have a fairly small effect on voter behavior. They almost never change the preferences of anyone who has already decided, and the overwhelming majority of the electorate has already decided at this point in the process. Moreover, many undecideds are not "true" undecideds, in that they are not actually undecided between the two candidates. That leaves a fairly small number of impressionable voters to work with.

        I feel pretty comfortable drawing the conclusion that anybody who saw that and thought Trump won was already going to vote for Trump.

        1. Well, in addition to voters who are undecided, an infinitesimal number, there are the "eligible non-voters." Their reasons for passing up their right to vote include, inter alia:
          a. "My one vote doesn't matter anyway."
          b. "I'm not satisfied with either of those two candidates."

          The number of citizens who are eligible but don't show up is shockingly large. We can hope that face-to-face "debates" might influence some of them to rethink their head-in-the-sand views.

          1. Well, yes, but in terms of polling, that is what likely voter models are for, and it's another reason debates don't move the polls much. This year may very well be anomalous, but that is the historical track record.

          2. Also, eligible potential third-party supporters–there are many of those this year, though not as many as in 1992 or 1980.

            I think much of the motion we see in the polls is people on one side or the other shifting in and out of the third-party or non-voter categories. Most of Hillary Clinton's job in this debate was to get those people back; Trump has largely done so on his side.

  5. Apparently Trump tweeted about Miss Universe overnight and that is the topic of conversation this morning on many news outlets.

    Here is a question for which I would like to see an answer: these tweets were sent out at about 3:15 in the morning. Has anyone been tracking the time of day during which Trump sends most of his tweets? Is this middle-of-the-night burst of twitter activity something new or has he been doing this all along? If this is something new, would it signify an acute change in his mental state? The manic phase of bipolar disorder is known to follow this pattern of diurnal activity disturbance. Is there a database somewhere which has kept track of the time of day during which he does most of his tweeting?

    The betting markets moved about three points in Hillary's direction overnight; perhaps that is connected to this latest sign of madness, which the polls will take several days to reflect.

    Anyone know of a database that has the information I am asking about?

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