Housekeeping Service 'Rent-A-Wife' Blasted for Sexist Name

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A housekeeping service in Los Angeles called “The Rent A Wife” asks clients to imagine life “with no to-do list.” Stop pining for the 1950s and leave all those chores for “your wife.”

The service, owned by Juliette Bresnahan, offers three packages including “The Starter Wife,” “The Good Wife,” and “The Trophy Wife.”

“We can be your Girl Friday, your Handyman, your Suzie Homemaker, and your Rosie the Riveter all rolled up into one,” the service promises.

The website says Rent A Wife was originally created for women. According to Jezebel, most of the service's clients are women.

“The Rent A Wife is not just for busy mothers, we also cater to single dads, overwhelmed executives, and anyone who needs more time and eight more hands.”

Under the web tab “Things Your Wife Can Do,” ideas include meal planning, shopping, driving the kids around, party planning, and choosing “gorgeous paint colors for every room.” You know, “wifely duties.”

The service encourages people to refer to the housekeeper as their “wife.” A wife is an “order taker” who can “make things pretty.”

But what distinguishes this from the average maid service? Nothing. So why the sexist name?

Allison Davis at New York Magazine’s The Cut said their clients really want personal assistants, suggesting the service be renamed “Rent-a-Temp" and "Rent-a-Situational-Personal-Assistant."

“Bresnahan should reconsider what she's calling this service, because it both conjures up some kind of perverted domestic fantasy and equates being a wife to being a servant/personal assistant with great skill in negotiating a contract," Davis wrote.

"So it's basically a maid service with a really, really messed up name," one Jezebel user commented. "Because, you know, wives are just women you marry to clean your house for free."

"I guess the difference is this one also does things a cleaner wouldn't, like bake and walk the dogs and organize things. But still, why not just call her an all-around servant/assistant/chore helpy person/life improver/any of the million other things you could call her?" another user asked.

Sources: Jezebel, MSN Now, NY Mag