N.B This post was originally published in March 2015.

Arabs and their housekeepers, it can be something right out of a horror flick; our very own modern take on slavery.

One of the most interesting (read: disgusting) aspects of the housekeeper-employer relationship in the Arab world, and in Lebanon in particular, is the high levels of control the employers exert on these women – to the point of playing dress-up with their bodies. The employers feel as though housekeepers are not just their property, but believe what their domestic workers wear somehow reflects their economic status as a whole.

Here are the different ways Lebanese people dress their housekeepers, from least to most degrading:

5. Human Clothing

(Image via telegraph.co.uk)

It is rare that a Lebanese woman would allow her housekeeper to dress in human-style jeans and T-shirts. If Kumari looks like a human, onlookers might embarrassingly mistake her for one of Ghada’s daughters … or worse - a friend.

4. The Apron

(Image via gingerbeirut.com)

This is where an apron is layered over human clothing, to ensure that nobody will confuse the housekeeper for a normal person; you need to keep her in her place. Marking her with a scarlet letter in the form of an apron is the perfect way to do that! For all of you simple-minded apron defenders who are bound to say, “Aprons are useful!” You’re wrong. You’re wrong and stupid, actually – because the only functionality an apron has it to keep your clothes from getting dirtied by food while you cook, which begs the questions: why are you asking your housekeeper to wear an apron while she serves you coffee, cleans your room, wipes your asshole child’s asshole, etc?

3. Rags and Scraps

(Image via Al-Akhbar English)

This get-up is only slightly less dignified than the apron, because the apron is layered over human clothing. In this version of dress-up, the employer (usually a gross woman that has a penchant for slavery,) takes her children’s ratty old clothing and gifts it to her housekeeper as one final stop before the garbage can. Whether the employer’s children are aged 1-7 or 5-10, it doesn’t matter - because what woman wouldn't want to wear short bellbottoms bedazzled with words like “cute” and “diva” across their thigh?!

2. Semi-Uniform

(Image via CNN)

This dress code is for the “Masters” and “Madames” of the world that convince themselves that they’re being generous, good-hearted human rights activists by allowing half-human clothing to be worn. The other half of the outfit is taken from a poster displayed outside of a maid’s office named Golden Maids – yes, this is a real place.

1. Full Uniform + Hat

(Image via farfahinne.blogspot)

This is based on a very real thing I saw in Beirut Souks last year. There was a family with a bratty child who was being tended to by a young girl who was dressed in a pink housekeeping uniform. The best part was that they also had her wear a tiny French maid’s hat. I’m pretty sure that the hat came from the employer’s lingerie drawer. Who actually buys those things in real life?

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This is modern day slavery, I can't even begin with the absurd idea of getting a woman to fly from another country, enslave her in your house, lock her in, make her clean up all your crap, turn her into a cook, cleaning lady, babysitter and sometimes shop keeper! And all of that for a salary that is very low. Honestly the uniform is the least degrading aspect these women have to face everyday.

Josiane Saba on Feb 11, 2016 via web
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Oh sorry, regarding all the crap about professionalism and how soldiers, construction workers. nurses and doctors wear uniforms, so why is it bad that maids do? Well soldiers wear a uniform to 1 camouflage themselves from their enemies and 2 distinguish themselves from other members of society because they have a monopoly on power and so any person holding a gun per se that is not wearing this uniform would get challenged. For construction workers it's about safety because their working conditions must contain many safety hazards and nurses wear their scrubs for cleanliness purposes because it's easy to carry bad viruses and microbes around with you if you work in a hospital. Do you people get it now? If you want to be "more professional" how about considering respecting the minimum wage and not paying those workers a cent less? 8 hour shifts and anything more should be paid by a 1.5 an hour overtime? a day off? Her passport FFS!!

Jamal Awar on Feb 10, 2016 via web
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A uniform that doesn't serve a purpose is useless (here we're assuming the "employers' intentions are clean. These uniforms are dehumanizing. making your house slaves easier on your visitor's eyes while also giving you a fake sense of power, that you are higher up on the hierarchical ladder than other people. It's a disgrace. A disgrace that people make other people wear clothes arbitrarily, a disgrace that people blindly defend them rather than critically challenging them

Jamal Awar on Feb 10, 2016 via web