Código Doméstico in the flesh
Domestic Code in the flesh
Welcome to this digital territory that articulates life stories and embodied perspectives of women who work in cleaning apps in some countries of Abya Yala. Domestic Code seeks to rethink the idea of connectivity given by an algorithm built on hegemonic parameters. The proposal is to give visibility to the particularities that unite these paid domestic workers beyond the apps, their livelihood or skin color.
It is a space to question the hegemonic reading inscribed in the skin of the bodies that carry out domestic work. It is a proposal that connects racialized women from other places and weaves the untold narratives of digital platforms. We position ourselves against the automation of work, fatigue and exploitation, the dehumanization of capitalism. Here we revalue oral history as a possibility of weaving from voice, memory, body and skin (in the flesh).
The life stories of four women workers of digital platforms from Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and the United States are woven. These stories are close to each other because we know that care work keeps the world moving and makes our lives possible. This is how we want to embroider this proximity, based on this intimacy, resistance and everyday life.
These stories have been built together with the compañeras workers of cleaning apps in different territories of Abya Yala. Jessi, Giselle, Paola and Roxy have been immersed in the entire creative, graphic and editorial process of the project, deciding how they want to be represented. Each story has been graphically translated by illustrators and visual artists from the same countries where the workers live.
Oral history is a counter-reading of the capitalist, patriarchal and colonial system. Domestic Code it is a bet of weaving knowledge in the flesh. The entire work team is made up of women and dissidents: illustrator, graphic designers, editors, readers, transcribers, translators, diagrammers, researchers, communicators; all women workers!
Here are short extracts of the life stories of women workers. Fragments of their stories are present in different formats: podcasts, illustrations, and texts. Pieces that, when assembled, delve a little deeper into their experiences working in cleaning apps, but which continue to be just small brushstrokes of their lives.
Jessi is 24 years old and lives on the outskirts of São Paulo, in Freguesia do Ó, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Since she was little, she was in charge of caring for her mother, who is functionally diverse, which has motivated Jessi to want to study medicine and become a doctor; however, currently, she does not have the time or resources to do so. She lives with her mother and grandmother and is the breadwinner for her family. Since 2017 she has been working on the Mary Help app, cleaning houses and offices. Jessi has demanded on several occasions that Mary Help increases the payment they transfer to workers. In fact, the rate has not been updated since Jessi created her profile with the company, more than 5 years ago.
Giselle is 38 years old, a single mother of 3 girls and lives south of Mexico City, in Tlalpan. A few years ago, she decided to get out of an abusive relationship. Since then, she has raised her daughters with the conviction that they are free and independent: they do not need to marry or be with a man to be happy. She has been doing paid domestic work for more than 8 years and since 2020 she has been working in the Aliadas app. According to Giselle, working with the application guarantees constant work, but it would be important for Aliadas to affiliate their workers so that they can have social security and a decent retirement.
Paola is 36 years old, lives in Bogotá, in Laches, a neighborhood that was created from occupations and land grabs on the slopes of the Guadalupe and La Peña hills. She has a 17-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old grandson. She has provided paid domestic work for more than 5 years and has been working with the Hogaru app for 2 months. If she could choose what to do, what to work on, her dream would be to own a restaurant because she likes to cook. To have her own business! Paola claims that Hogaru pays the workers very little and requires them to work more than 40 hours a week.
Roxy is 41 years old, was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States in the late 1990s. When she was 18 years old, she left Mexico City and went to California; since then, she has lived in Los Angeles. She continues to fight to regulate her immigration status. She has a 21-year-old daughter and 18-year- old twins. She works with different cleaning apps, including: Jan-Pro and Care. Roxy would like cleaning apps in the United States to pay workers more and reduce commissions for each job. In addition, they should consider the environmental impacts and the health of workers, who are exposed to contact with toxic commercial cleaning products that, unfortunately, are commonly used.
Este texto recoge las historias de vida de cuatro trabajadoras en apps de limpieza en distintos países de nuestro continente ancestralmente llamado Abya Yala. El recorrido por el proceso de investigación, las metodologías colaborativas y los debates teóricos ha permitido generar esta investigación militante. Este, sobre todo, es un espacio para posicionar las demandas que tienen estas trabajadoras de plataformas digitales frente a las apps de limpieza que cada día aumentan en nuestros países.
This text gathers the life stories of four workers in cleaning apps in different countries of our continent ancestrally called Abya Yala. The journey through the research process, collaborative methodologies and theoretical debates has allowed us to generate this militant research. This, above all, is a space to position the demands that these digital platform workers have against the cleaning apps that are increasing every day in our countries.
Este texto recolhe as histórias de vida de quatro trabalhadoras em aplicações de limpeza em diferentes países do nosso continente, ancestralmente chamadas Abya Yala. A viagem através do processo de investigação, metodologias colaborativas e debates teóricos permitiu-nos gerar esta investigação militante. Isto, acima de tudo, é um espaço para posicionar as exigências que estes trabalhadores de plataformas digitais têm perante as aplicações de limpeza que estão a aumentar todos os dias nos nossos países.
-Jessi, Brasil, MaryHelp app
-Roxy, United States, Jan-Pro app
-Giselle, Mexico, Aliadas app
-Paola, Colombia, Hogaru app
This is a living project, your comments, ideas and stories are welcome.