Ryan Carroll Essay

Ryan Carroll

November 8, 2019

WGSS Midterm Exam

Nickel and Dimed

In Nickel and Dimed gender is often determined by identity. In class we discussed how gender is a masculine and feminist construct. Barbara Ehrenreich’s characterization of various jobs in the book and the roles that gender play in the experiences depicted in the book are that as a lower class citizen people look at you a certain way due to the norms that lower class people didn’t finish high school or didn’t go to college.

Ehrenreich’s gender analysis fail to the account of globalization by the way she is treated in the companies she works for. While being a waitress and as she gets situated she realizes that her name no longer matter due to customers and co-workers due to the norms in society that she would be called “Baby, honey, blondie and most commonly girl.” Ehrenreich uses different statistical stats to prove that more women are living in poverty than males.

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She also talks about the lack of women in managerial positions. Which I agree because while she works all day the men in these positions don’t understand the countless hours of severing and being on your feet all day. Also while wages aren’t even mentioned as a source of gender equality in regards to the cleaning service that she worked at her boss does not give female employees raises due to the fact that he gives them “Mother hours” which mean females are given shifts that allows them time to be home before and after their kids come home from school. In my opinion I feel like “Mother hours” are good but also kind of unfair to the females that don’t have kids or kids that are old enough to take care of themselves to a point that their mothers don’t have to be home with them. I feel like based on your circumstances that you should be allowed a raise or “Mother Hours.”

Since the 1980s, in the after math of mid-century civil right and women rights movements, the number of women who entered the work force has increased exponentially. Such workforce movement has been described as feminization of labor which refers to the increased integration of women. The demographic shift reflected in the first chapter of the book and the authors experiences connect to feminization of labor for example, When Ehrenreich goes to one of her job interviews they ask her questions that I feel like is kind of irrelevant for the job title that she is applying for they ask her questions like “Do you have any such child care problems that might make it hard for you to get to work? How many dollars of stolen goods have you purchased? Would you turn a fellow employee in if you caught them stealing? Are you honest?” this connects to feminization labor because if this was a male applicant the question would be totally different.

In previous class lectures we talked about casualization of labor which refers to the work place phenomenon wherein temporary workers outnumber the permeant workers. Infromalization of labor refers to those who work without benefits of any type of contract; as a result the people who fall into this are told to be quite vulnerable and contingent. Ehrenreich address and describes the casualization and in formalization of labor as Grueling. When she got her job at Merry Maids she talks about her experiences that the jobs they do isn’t worth their actual pay for example, her job as a maid is very tuff and can be aggravating because she has to clean up after people and she finds out that the company charges their customers $25 an hour but she only makes $6.65 an hour. I feel like it’s a total rip off and for her to not get any benefits with that sum of pay is ridiculous. Another example of is when she was hired as a maid she was not hired on contract that she would receive any benefits. For the maids being temporary employees the company is not forced to give them contract company benefits and this is how the rich stay rich. So when Ehrenreich gets a rash she wonders how her boss Ted would react due to his company motto “Working through it.” When she decides to tell him he says that she probably allergic to latex and that she is still able to work. Just based off this you realize the type of effect that takes place in informalization of labor. I feel like Ted didn’t take in consideration that the rash could be contagious and how it could affect the other workers.

Domestic work is precarious and is connected to casualization of labor because companies would rather save money by hiring temporary worker so that they don’t have given them benefits cause their not on contract. Domestic work is connected to informalization of labor because there are workers who have been dedicated for years and when injuries occur they can be forced resign and then later replace because they are not under company contract so they don’t get the same healthcare benefits as those who are under contract. For example, Ehrenreich’s coworker holly was visibly sick she described her pale and then. So she decides that she and Marge (another worker) help take some load off her by doing her job. One day holly hurt her ankle and was unable to work. With Ehrenreich becoming triggered by the lack of care by her boss she tells ted but Holly continues to work because she knows that she doesn’t have any benefits so there would be no workers compensation due to the injury if anything she could be fired and replaced. Now this where informalization of labor really takes place. Pauline who is Ehrenreich coworker has been working there for 2 years as a temp worker. Well 2 years don’t sound temporary to me but when she tells ted that she can’t do this anymore and decides to leave the comp-any he feels no sympathy and doesn’t say anything about it because he knows how this works one leave another one to come in and everyone is replaceable.

Affective labor is revealed in the final section of the book. When Ehrenreich is on the job hunt and she finds out on her orientation at Menards that her salary will be $10 an hour she is shocked and surprised. So she accepts the offer due to higher wages. When she calls them to figure out what day and time she would have to go in she later finds out that she would not be getting paid $10 an hour. I can sense the anger and frustration because I know how it feels to expect one thin g and being let down, it makes you second guest any future promises. After she was told that they had the nerve to tell her that they want her to work 11 hours without timed and a half so she declines and decides to work at Walmart for $7 an hour. In vis-?-vis to the work the possibilities and limitations are slim because you never know what to expect at these low paying jobs. I just find it frustrating on how you can ask me to do one thing and once it’s mastered you flip it on me. For example, Ehrenreich was asked to memorize the whole floor outline at Walmart and once she gets it down pack she later finds out that the outline is about to change. Due to the fact that she is new this can build emotion and could be frustrating because you took it out your time to learn if for it only to be switched. In term of limitations you can highlight how anger and frustration serve as catalyst for potential change and how it may work against systemic change, conversely taking consideration that the toll of positivity has on worker in this section. It just seems like everyone is over false expectations from these low income jobs. In conclusion Nickel and dimed really shows the challenges that lower class females go through and how job choices are slim for those, and how we today under appreciate the people who work these jobs.

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