The first book I read (actually it was audio–so technically I listened) and finished, was the memoir Maid.
I really wanted to read/listen to it before watching the Netflix series that just came out.
Maid by Stephanie Land is a story about a single mom who works as a housekeeper.
She is often viewed as less than desirable only because of her lack of funds.
She goes to homes and cleans their messes which is one of the most intimate things you can do, yet she’s invisible.
The story is one I’m sure a lot of women can relate to–doing honest work for honest pay but with little or no appreciation.
In this situation, the problem is when an agency takes half the hourly wage and the cleaning work–which is seriously manual labor– and cleaners are not given their just due.
This book is worth the read as it’s not all about cleaning but the injustice of the system.
It is set in the Pacific NorthWest (specifically Washington State) where the social safety net is different from other countries, but that being said, the struggle to find work to cover rent, food, and basic necessities can be near impossible.
This expose is one that is real. The laborers are often women, immigrants, and poor (or all three). Once working they’re underpaid, have very little voice, and are an invisible–dare I say, judged–member of society.
The story examines the young mom’s struggles to keep up, but as life takes its toll on her health, her car, and her relationships, something has to give. She’s worked so hard but is still standing still. What’s wrong with this picture?
Maid is a quick, easy read and recommended. Now I can check out the Netflix series.
sidebar: I feel blessed to live in a country with universal healthcare.. Just saying.
The other book I finished in October was the non-fiction memoir entitled: Girls Need Not Apply: Field Notes from the Forces by Kelly S. Thompson.
This is about a young woman of 18 who walks naively (even though she came from a generational military family) into the male dominated world of the Canadian Armed Forces.
She soon learned that her personal story was not important to anyone except her, and being accepted as part of something larger and strictly regimented, was not as easy as once thought.
She was met with misogyny at every turn. Support was not forth coming and empathy within the competitive environment was seen as a weakness.
Thompson ran into issues of acceptance, sexual harassment, discrimination, and invisibility all because she was a woman.
This book really resonated with me as I spent five years within the Canadian Corrections in all-male institutions.
The standing joke was that we (female officers) didn’t need to worry so much about the cons (or inmates) as we did about our fellow male officers. How sad is that?
I look back now and see situations for what they really were and should never have happened. I was just a kid. As I said, Thompson’s story is similar to my own.
In her book she shows herself as human and vulnerable. Sometimes, the truth is hard to take or admit but she shares it all–her poor choices, her doubts, and her dreams.
Girls Need Not Apply: Field Notes from the Forces is an easy read that takes the reader into the world of the Canadian Armed Forces, the brutal training, and the reality of a broken system. I would recommend it.
A Note to Every Father, Brother, Uncle, Grandpa, Nephew, or anyone who Identifies as Male…. Think about it…
Right now there are huge questions and concerns about the Canadian Armed Forces. They’ve been in the National News a lot lately and the Minister who led the Armed Forces was recently replaced.
It’s said that female personnel find themselves in a toxic environment with little to no support as their concerns or reports are dismissed as being too sensitive, misunderstood, or whiney. (Idk: if a high-ranking male officer shoved the face of another male officer into my cleavage I would have an issue…)
While I understand the need for composure and teamwork, there’s no place for personal attack on someone because of their physical being. Any innuendo, flirtation, sexual overture, or overt/forced attack on fellow workers is not acceptable. If you seriously don’t know that grabbing someone’s butt or sending suggestive emails is wrong, then you need to return to elementary school. The kids will teach you all about bullies.
Men and women work differently. We think differently. Our processes may even differ, but we really can help each other.
For every man out there, please think about how you’d want your wife, mother, sister, auntie, niece, or daughter treated. If you wouldn’t want men commenting on their boobs, lack of strength or effort, their menstrual cycle, moods, body shape….etc. etc. etc. then don’t comment on others. Ever.
Grow the fuck up.
It’s unusual for me to write about books in my Auntie Says blog but these two are so rich with life lessons that it seemed important to share.
Hard work, dedication, and survival are the themes running through both of these books yet the women come from totally different backgrounds and are pushing forward with different goals.
The fact is that the world holds lessons for us all and they may come through in circumstances or situations that you don’t always expect. It’s the way you respond and deal with the traumas that make you the person that you are.
Go read a book. It’s a good thing.
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