This is an interesting one. So are tech startups staffed with useless manbabies who can’t do their own housework and their own cooking… or does the massive push to outsource domestic duties represent a new social order in which traditionally “female” labour is finally being recognised, sort of, as work worthy of financial remuneration and is thus being outsourced appropriately?
The linked article, from Business Insider, makes a sneery argument for the former, but… I dunno. The more domesticity-as-a-service startups I see, the more I start to think about working women pushing back against the expectations of the second shift. If women are refusing to do the work, and men aren’t picking up the slack, what other option then but to outsource? Especially for middle class couples who can afford to do so?
One of the arguments I’ve heard before about tech is that it gives the merely affluent access to services that have traditionally been the realm of the truly rich. Domestic help is pretty much on top of that list. We certainly do this at home, for example; we have a cleaner that comes every Friday and a man at the markets who makes up hipster boxes of locavore dinners, just add frying pan and stir.
It’s also worth noting that both my husband and I already have second shift jobs; I’m an author, he sits on various boards. So in our case, our days consist of 8 hour shifts at the office, followed by another couple of hours “freelance” work when we come home in the evenings and on weekends. Spending another couple of (unpaid) hours cleaning showers and vacuuming on top of that isn’t particularly appealing–we also occasionally like to spend time together, for example–hence the outsourcing. And we aren’t a particularly unusual modern white collar couple in that regard.
So Business Insider can sneer all it wants. But these times, they are a’changing.