I came across this great photojournal today called “Closed Distance” by Jannatul Mawa. Mawa takes a look inside the homes of Bangladesh where domestic workers are commonplace. The photos depict the woman of the house and her maid sitting side by side. This arrangement allows us a conscious view of the dichotomy of two worlds that go overlooked everyday.
In Bangladesh, a country still facing poverty, domestic workers are still some of the most underpaid, abused, and underrepresented working bodies, which leaves them highly expoloited. Most of these workers come from poor rural areas in search of jobs to support their families and get stuck in rough situations.
I really appreciated Mawa’s photographs because though in Bangladesh and many South Asian countries this practice is normal, the pictures show that there is nothing glamorous about these arrangements. Not to say all homes are abusive, but in many of these photos I see pain in the eyes of the domestic worker and a sense of possessiveness and control from the employer.
Please take a look at this great photojournal and do share.
Below is Jannatul Mawa’s description of her photojournal “Close Distance“.
“Traditionally housemaid (helping hand) work for just two meals a day and assist the middle-class women, both housewives and working women in Bangladesh. They don’t have fixed working-hour or salary. Such cheap labor is rare in the world, perhaps 15 dollars a month. Since domestic work is gendered, hence, housemaids are women. In the society, it is perceived that only women will perform the domestic work which also includes the middle class working women. This household activity is analogous for them although the ‘class’ creates a distance. Every day, maidservants take care of the bed and sofa with their hand but they are neither allowed to sit nor to sleep on them once. With their domestic roles, they are ‘close’ to the middle class women and ‘distant’ at the same time. My intention is to document them by creating a rear occasion of keeping a close distance.”
the dichotomy of the woman of the house and her maid. I