"What is a 'rent-a-wife?'" you may wonder upon reading about the service. "Is it a prostitute who kisses on the mouth and attends family functions?" No, dear reader, it is not. Rent-a-Wife is an L.A.-based business that lets you rent a "wife" to take care of various chores for you. It's a good idea — but, seriously, why does it need to be called that?
As if the name weren't dated and sexist-sounding enough, Rent-a-Wife primarily targets women. The website states that the service "is not just for busy mothers, we also cater to single dads, overwhelmed executives, and anyone who needs more time and eight more hands," implying that it's mostly used by women with children. DesignTaxi confirms this: "most of its clients are actually busy women who found the service via word-of-mouth and networking."
Clients can order various wife packages ("The Starter Wife" for five hours a month, "The Good Wife" for 10, or "The Trophy Wife" for 15); the Rent-a-Wife will do domestic tasks, including closet organization, cupcake baking, office administration, dog-walking, and "making things pretty." If the service mostly functions as a means of allowing busy women to have a bit of free time, it's fairly inappropriate to recycle sexist tropes and cliches while doing so. Calling this business "Rent-a-Wife" reinforces the notion that domestic work is always necessarily feminine (and tied to some antiquated model of marriage dynamics).
Allison P Davis at the Cut has some alternate suggestions: "Rent-a-Temp" and "Rent-a-Situational-Personal-Assistant." Here's my own personal musing: what if they called the business Chore-gasm? That would be a lot worse.
"'Rent-a-Wife' Business Should Get a New Name" [The Cut]
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