HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Forums » 2016 Postmortem (Forum) » Fifties were a better tim... » Reply #172

Response to pnwmom (Reply #39)

Fri May 27, 2016, 06:37 PM

172. Jane Austen? Bit silly. Waiting correct: it was not the norm. I lived it.

I lived in a lower middle class neighborhood that included some wealthy and some very poor. No one had a maid. My best friend in 4th gr had a maid. Her dad was architect (one you'd know so I won't say but it is tempting...) and she had in 1958 a black maid that wore a black dress with a white apron and cap, That was a contiguous ultra-wealthy area due to the views. I was a top of the hill kid. In those days, the poor lived among us more often that not. As a previous poster said, almost everyone worked. White families of course. We had not maids and my family couldn't afford to hire a cleaner.

Regional differences - the south? Maybe. Also, as Waiting said, "middle class" constituted a large cross section of incomes. We had a real middle class then. The top and the bottom much thinner.

So, in reading the article(your excerpts) I didn't find any support or evidence for author's opinion. The excerpts seem a little biased. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I had context. Also, picture not from fifties. But the comments were pretty interesting and varied and you might be interested in these which range from appliances to higher pay for women working elsewhere to range of middle class to onset of fast food and its employment of the new domestic worker working for minimum wage. Nothing is simple. But it was not common to have servants in the fifties for many, many middle class families and none that I know of. The very last comment mimicks mine.

MintDragon 8 months ago
This is interesting from an economic and social perspective. To paraphrase, the unskilled worker we will always have with us. Today, they work fast food. Yesterday, they would have been someone's hired help. The question is, what happens tomorrow?


registered_with_discus MintDragon 8 months ago
Well, the question is, how would total robotization (which is coming fairly soon) will change the work loads. Robots are already taking over manufacturing (the US manufacturing is on the rise... the jobs aren't). Fast food would be simple to take over as well. Household maintenance - might be trickier, but definitely doable too.

Thomas registered_with_discus 8 months ago
Dishwashers, washing machines, Roombas? Machines may not pick up after us (yet) but they're already doing a ton of household chores, or at least making them simpler, easier and less time-consuming.

marketkarma MintDragon 8 months ago
also missing (noticably) from the article above -- but hinted at by this: "Foreign girls do not go into housework for this reason. They prefer the fixed hours of factory and shop work."

the biggest reason why domestic help dissapeared: the rise in wages. People had better paying alternatives, often with better hours.

the creation of household work saving appliances was a reaction to the high cost of domestic help --- not the cause of domestic help jobs going away.


Mark Jackson veerkg_23 8 months ago
In Hong Kong, even the lower middle class often has live in domestic helpers-- and it can do so because the helpers come from developing countries. In Hong Kong it's much easier to afford a domestic helper than it is to afford a place to put her-- which is why a lot of domestic helpers sleep in the kitchen or living room.

Atheissimo marketkarma 8 months ago
And the disappearance of the social stigma around women doing factory and shop work. Until the end of the first world war and acute manpower shortages, it was often the only work that it was socially acceptable for a woman to do.

Bizarrely, my great grandmother (who had a maid) was herself a maid at a bigger house (think Downton) and only left to have children.


ducky_1374 Frank 8 months ago
But remember that middle class stretches from $30,000 to $100,000. P

John Wellington Wells 8 months ago
"Only a generation before middle-class housewives entered the workforce en masse, they enjoyed the assistance of nannies, cooks, and cleaners."

So there was at least one underclass family for every middle-class family that employed them. Being middle-class was somewhat of an elite status.

The prevalence of domestic help has undoubtedly changed, but so has our definition of middle-class. People now view middle-class as average or typical - what working class would have been a couple generations ago. The doctors, lawyers, business owners, scientists and politicians that used to make up the middle-class would now be called upper class, or at least upper middle class (a term which had to be invented since the definition of middle class became so watered down).

west_coast_ange John Wellington Wells 8 months ago
The definition of middle class wasn't diluted, it changed. What it meant to be middle class (employment, homeownership, savings, etc.) no longer fit, thus we needed a new term (upper middle class) to describe folks who still met those standards.

cxt 8 months ago
Interesting read.

Not sure I fully agree with how widespread it was to have a maid etc. Might have been a more regional thing.

But interesting read.


Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 300 replies Author Time Post
snowy owl May 2016 OP
jamese777 May 2016 #1
snowy owl May 2016 #2
denverbill May 2016 #19
snowy owl May 2016 #63
PeaceNikki May 2016 #74
Duval May 2016 #141
CorkySt.Clair May 2016 #3
workinclasszero May 2016 #9
CorkySt.Clair May 2016 #10
workinclasszero May 2016 #12
CorkySt.Clair May 2016 #57
snowy owl May 2016 #115
RichVRichV May 2016 #212
CorkySt.Clair May 2016 #260
RichVRichV May 2016 #262
1StrongBlackMan May 2016 #285
RichVRichV May 2016 #297
Hoyt May 2016 #4
snowy owl May 2016 #15
Hoyt May 2016 #78
snowy owl May 2016 #116
msanthrope May 2016 #292
scscholar May 2016 #5
Txbluedog May 2016 #14
snowy owl May 2016 #64
barrow-wight May 2016 #275
mcar May 2016 #187
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #6
onyourleft May 2016 #8
snowy owl May 2016 #17
PeaceNikki May 2016 #30
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #59
Hekate May 2016 #170
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #216
mcar May 2016 #190
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #193
mcar May 2016 #203
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #211
tammywammy May 2016 #204
mcar May 2016 #206
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #219
Hekate May 2016 #221
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #44
Amaril May 2016 #98
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #100
Number23 May 2016 #238
Agschmid May 2016 #244
mcar May 2016 #201
auntpurl May 2016 #33
Dem2 May 2016 #47
denverbill May 2016 #144
LineLineLineLineReply .
Dem2 May 2016 #147
denverbill May 2016 #150
Dem2 May 2016 #151
denverbill May 2016 #164
Dem2 May 2016 #168
snowy owl May 2016 #192
blue neen May 2016 #283
denverbill May 2016 #295
blue neen May 2016 #298
snowy owl May 2016 #66
Agschmid May 2016 #124
snowy owl May 2016 #194
jwirr May 2016 #188
HereSince1628 May 2016 #289
jwirr May 2016 #296
workinclasszero May 2016 #7
snowy owl May 2016 #21
dsc May 2016 #56
snowy owl May 2016 #67
PeaceNikki May 2016 #75
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #96
Number23 May 2016 #235
msanthrope May 2016 #293
heaven05 May 2016 #255
barrow-wight May 2016 #277
denverbill May 2016 #11
Raastan May 2016 #29
philosslayer May 2016 #121
heaven05 May 2016 #256
Cheese Sandwich May 2016 #13
snowy owl May 2016 #22
Cheese Sandwich May 2016 #50
snowy owl May 2016 #69
barrow-wight May 2016 #279
bravenak May 2016 #272
barrow-wight May 2016 #278
pnwmom May 2016 #16
snowy owl May 2016 #24
pnwmom May 2016 #27
snowy owl May 2016 #70
pnwmom May 2016 #132
snowy owl May 2016 #174
pnwmom May 2016 #176
heaven05 May 2016 #257
barrow-wight May 2016 #280
PeaceNikki May 2016 #31
Duval May 2016 #142
Hekate May 2016 #200
cali May 2016 #18
snowy owl May 2016 #25
cali May 2016 #35
barrow-wight May 2016 #281
mcar May 2016 #205
Waiting For Everyman May 2016 #20
pnwmom May 2016 #26
Waiting For Everyman May 2016 #32
pnwmom May 2016 #39
LineLineLineLineLineReply Jane Austen? Bit silly. Waiting correct: it was not the norm. I lived it.
snowy owl May 2016 #172
Starry Messenger May 2016 #23
snowy owl May 2016 #45
Starry Messenger May 2016 #102
Agschmid May 2016 #126
Starry Messenger May 2016 #128
Agschmid May 2016 #129
GulfCoast66 May 2016 #249
Hekate May 2016 #268
GulfCoast66 May 2016 #271
Hekate May 2016 #273
msanthrope May 2016 #294
barrow-wight May 2016 #282
cali May 2016 #286
One_Life_To_Give May 2016 #28
Hekate May 2016 #195
One_Life_To_Give May 2016 #290
PeaceNikki May 2016 #34
snowy owl May 2016 #48
PeaceNikki May 2016 #54
snowy owl May 2016 #87
PeaceNikki May 2016 #90
Agschmid May 2016 #127
PeaceNikki May 2016 #145
pnwmom May 2016 #133
Hekate May 2016 #173
PeaceNikki May 2016 #177
Hekate May 2016 #197
PeaceNikki May 2016 #199
Hekate May 2016 #202
mcar May 2016 #208
Hekate May 2016 #214
Post removed May 2016 #217
PeaceNikki May 2016 #220
zappaman May 2016 #225
PeaceNikki May 2016 #226
Number23 May 2016 #248
Agschmid May 2016 #299
cali May 2016 #288
PeaceNikki May 2016 #291
Agschmid May 2016 #300
mcar May 2016 #223
PeaceNikki May 2016 #224
mcar May 2016 #232
Hekate May 2016 #229
Number23 May 2016 #243
Hekate May 2016 #252
heaven05 May 2016 #259
Number23 May 2016 #274
cali May 2016 #287
Sheepshank May 2016 #36
snowy owl May 2016 #49
forjusticethunders May 2016 #37
PeaceNikki May 2016 #40
snowy owl May 2016 #52
workinclasszero May 2016 #131
Number23 May 2016 #250
KingFlorez May 2016 #38
PeaceNikki May 2016 #41
forjusticethunders May 2016 #42
KingFlorez May 2016 #43
snowy owl May 2016 #53
KingFlorez May 2016 #55
snowy owl May 2016 #79
Corporate666 May 2016 #46
snowy owl May 2016 #58
bettyellen May 2016 #61
snowy owl May 2016 #103
bettyellen May 2016 #118
suffragette May 2016 #148
Corporate666 May 2016 #83
snowy owl May 2016 #104
PeaceNikki May 2016 #114
Corporate666 May 2016 #159
barrow-wight May 2016 #284
Armstead May 2016 #68
Waiting For Everyman May 2016 #76
snowy owl May 2016 #111
Mnpaul May 2016 #137
mcar May 2016 #209
KT2000 May 2016 #51
snowy owl May 2016 #60
PeaceNikki May 2016 #77
raging moderate May 2016 #186
KT2000 May 2016 #107
gollygee May 2016 #62
Quayblue May 2016 #72
snowy owl May 2016 #80
DemocratSinceBirth May 2016 #84
snowy owl May 2016 #95
gollygee May 2016 #143
CorkySt.Clair May 2016 #157
DemocratSinceBirth May 2016 #163
mcar May 2016 #213
Sheepshank May 2016 #65
Orangepeel May 2016 #71
snowy owl May 2016 #85
jwirr May 2016 #207
Hoyt May 2016 #245
DemocratSinceBirth May 2016 #73
snowy owl May 2016 #81
PeaceNikki May 2016 #82
snowy owl May 2016 #86
PeaceNikki May 2016 #88
snowy owl May 2016 #92
PeaceNikki May 2016 #94
snowy owl May 2016 #106
PeaceNikki May 2016 #108
DemocratSinceBirth May 2016 #89
snowy owl May 2016 #91
DemocratSinceBirth May 2016 #93
snowy owl May 2016 #99
DemocratSinceBirth May 2016 #101
snowy owl May 2016 #105
DemocratSinceBirth May 2016 #109
snowy owl May 2016 #97
PeaceNikki May 2016 #110
snowy owl May 2016 #112
PeaceNikki May 2016 #113
bravenak May 2016 #135
PeaceNikki May 2016 #146
mcar May 2016 #231
heaven05 May 2016 #263
Tierra_y_Libertad May 2016 #117
snowy owl May 2016 #122
snowy owl May 2016 #125
Fresh_Start May 2016 #119
snowy owl May 2016 #120
Fresh_Start May 2016 #149
snowy owl May 2016 #162
Fresh_Start May 2016 #218
Warren DeMontague May 2016 #123
snowy owl May 2016 #136
Warren DeMontague May 2016 #140
zappaman May 2016 #154
Warren DeMontague May 2016 #160
zappaman May 2016 #166
mcar May 2016 #236
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #222
Warren DeMontague May 2016 #228
greatauntoftriplets May 2016 #230
ffr May 2016 #130
snowy owl May 2016 #134
senz May 2016 #138
oasis May 2016 #139
pampango May 2016 #152
snowy owl May 2016 #156
WhiteTara May 2016 #153
Tarc May 2016 #155
snowy owl May 2016 #158
PeaceNikki May 2016 #161
snowy owl May 2016 #165
PeaceNikki May 2016 #171
heaven05 May 2016 #265
Tarc May 2016 #251
Hekate May 2016 #167
MerryBlooms May 2016 #169
snowy owl May 2016 #179
Hekate May 2016 #210
beachbumbob May 2016 #175
snowy owl May 2016 #180
senz May 2016 #178
snowy owl May 2016 #181
senz May 2016 #183
MineralMan May 2016 #182
snowy owl May 2016 #184
PeaceNikki May 2016 #196
okasha May 2016 #261
Hekate May 2016 #270
heaven05 May 2016 #266
KK9 May 2016 #185
snowy owl May 2016 #189
KK9 May 2016 #191
Post removed May 2016 #198
Hekate May 2016 #227
dsc May 2016 #215
Number23 May 2016 #233
PeaceNikki May 2016 #234
Number23 May 2016 #237
PeaceNikki May 2016 #239
mcar May 2016 #240
Agschmid May 2016 #242
Number23 May 2016 #246
Hekate May 2016 #247
Bluenorthwest May 2016 #241
onenote May 2016 #253
La Lioness Priyanka May 2016 #254
onenote May 2016 #258
La Lioness Priyanka May 2016 #264
barrow-wight May 2016 #267
Sparkly May 2016 #269
JTFrog May 2016 #276
Please login to view edit histories.