The issue of responsibility is big in American life today; scapegoats and blame games are being played in the political arena as I type, two examples: the funding for national health care and Planned Parenthood. Whose fault is it that some people are rich and some are poor? Whose responsibility is it to fund education? Whose job is it to decide how much education costs in the first place? Is education the reason or the fix for homelessness? These are all questions of responsibility, but the bottom line is that they are just questions--not answers. Concerning the welfare of nannies and housekeepers, who's to say that people can't choose to clean on their own (because who in their right mind would choose to do that...right)? Why can't people choose to monopolize on the things that other people choose not to do themselves? We all sell ourselves in some way to make a living, don't we? We are all prostitutes. Maybe the issue is better stated as an issue of awareness of the fact that, "Almost everything we buy is a product of some other person's suffering, and miserably underpaid labor" (Ehrenrich 51). Is it human nature to shy away from hard physical labor and lean towards intellectual labor (hence college)? And if that is so, then why do people degrade those choosing a physical vocation when they reach the pinnacle of their intellectual careers?
The constructed gender roles in the home seem to be the root cause of a new problem "that cannot be named," women who work full time jobs, take full time care of their children and their home with little to no help from their spouses (Friedan). The nanny, housekeeper, or maid seems to stand in this chasm picking up the slack for one or both partners, essentially as the ideal "wife." With awareness, and not only awareness but also a name or names for the problem at hand, people might be able to delve into the socio/economics of happiness and responsibility while stepping outside themselves, and evaluating how they divvy out value in a world that seems to devalue physical labor involved in the very things that make the rich's livelihoods run more smoothly (waiters and waitresses, janitors, maids, taxi drivers, stewardesses, cashiers, migrant workers, farmers, field hands...). The world would not run so well without them.