Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn, and Working Women

Every day I thank God that I am not a maid or a housekeeper. People take advantage.

First, the news about Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the hotel worker — and now, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the housekeeper. WTF!!! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely (from Machiavelli) — even into our homes and hotel rooms.

I worked at the front desk of the Vista Hotel in the World Trade Center all through college. It was no secret. My room service and housekeeping friends told me that business men made inappropriate, illegal requests just about every single day. My friends would knock on the doors to clean the bathrooms or deliver the food with a certain dread, not knowing what lay on the other side of the door.

I am so pissed — Who do men like Strauss-Kahn and Schwarzenegger think they are! The women who work in service jobs are simply women making a living — trying to feed the kids at home, maybe support a disabled spouse, and even pursue their our dreams of an education. (I can identify!) They do not deserve such treatment!

This world is so messed up. People swoon over celebrities like Schwarzenegger and flip off working women who make beds and deliver food.

Women’s service work is not valued and too often women’s income is based on non-existent tips so we don’t even feel entitled to speak out. Our innate niceness keeps us down.

Nice no more! We need justice for the working women!

Maybe the Schwartzenegger affair was consensual. I don’t know. But I do feel sorry for the women — especially the imbalance of power — if you are a woman who cleans houses and hotel rooms. They are almost always immigrants and they should not have to put up with such BS.

I wrote about this, too, a year ago: when I learned that women still make 80 cents on every dollar that a man earns.

As a society we profess to value women’s skills of team work, collaboration, and service, we really do not care about the women, especially nameless nannies and housekeepers.

3 thoughts on “Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn, and Working Women

  1. What you say is very true, and I agree with you, Mary Beth. There is sometimes another side of the story, however. I, too, have many service worker friends, but unfortunately, not all of them are victims. I have known one or two who actually think that this a**hole propositioning them will help them, or give them something in return–even if it’s just an ego boost. Sometimes the workers have no idea how they are being used, but sometimes they do. What bothers me more than anything is the complete lack of respect for the institution of marriage, and their professions. These jobs are supposed to be legal, after all, not the oldest ones in the book which are not legal. All-in-all, M.B., I’m with you, and it pisses me off, too!

  2. Jennifer, you’re definitely right. My post was pretty much a knee-jerk reaction. People are always more complicated than a news item can summarize. And yes, people look to exploit one another in all kinds of ways.

    And so, too, is the institution of marriage complex. In fact on my Twitter feed today came a story about the origins of Wonder Woman

    “Interestingly, she (Wonder Woman) was inspired by two of Marston’s loves: his accomplished wife, Elizabeth; and a former student of his, Olive Byrne, who lived with the couple. He even had children with both women, and according to several sources, they led a pretty harmonious life.”

    So maybe that’s the scenario with Schwarzenegger, Shriver, and the housekeeper. It was consensual — as it was with the Elizabeth, Olive, and Marston, the creators of Wonder Woman.

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