I was one of the tens of thousands of people who subscribed to the failing New York Times after the election. Todays’ paper had a review of Ivanka Trump’s new book, in which Jennifer Senior describes it as “…a strawberry milkshake of inspirational quotes.”
This part was most relevant to the question of who does the dishes:
…a class bias at some point begins to reveal itself, and it’s not just in the business leaders she profiles — who, like Trump, are often the daughters of New York City’s elite. It’s in her discussion of Covey’s four-quadrant time-management grid, when she identifies grocery shopping as neither urgent nor important. (Do the groceries just magically appear in her fridge? Oh, wait. They probably do.) It’s in her confession that “honestly, I wasn’t treating myself to a massage or making much time for self-care” during the 2016 campaign. (Too busy.)
It’s in her description of her daily life, in which she somehow — until the election, anyway — managed to run her own company, serve as an executive vice president in the Trump Organization, train for a half marathon and spend time alone with each of her three children. Absent locating a wormhole in space, there’s really only one way to find time for all of these commitments, and that is with the help of staff. Yet her household help barely rates a mention in this discussion.Do the women who wash dishes in the homes of other households count as “women who work”? They’d better! Who does the dishes in their homes? What do their quadrants look like?
…she opens her book with a pasture full of straw men, including the argument that our culture isn’t having nuanced conversations about working mothers. “The time to change the narrative around women and work once and for all is long overdue,” Trump writes. This will come as a shock to Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter— both of whom Trump later quotes at length.
It will also come as a shock to Arlie Hochschild. Right now she’s receiving attention for Strangers in Their Own Land, which she published last year, but her book The Second Shift came out in 1989, when Ms. Trump was seven or eight years old.
Here are a couple passages hitting related themes in the chapter I was reading this morning:
In addition to the split between housewives and working women, this social revolution also widens a split between women who do jobs that pay enough to pay a baby-sitter and women who baby-sit or tend to other home needs (p. 241).
There is a curious hierarchy of backstage “wealth.” The richest is the high-level executive with an unemployed wife who entertains his clients and runs his household; and a secretary who handles his appointments, arranges his travel, and orders anniversary flowers for his wife. The poorest in backstage support is the single mother who works full time and rears her children with no help from anyone. Between these two extremes lie the two-job couples (p. 248).