What is really going on in the basements of suburban mansions?
What is really going on in the basements of suburban mansions? And what exactly are at stake for the thousands of Filipino au pairs, who make everyday life possible for Western families? Au Pair reveals this otherwise unexposed parallel world, in which we meet Roselie, Matet and Theresa, who face their own realities and have their own agendas in the midst of a European everyday life – a life that they are supposedly a part of. Au pair means on equal terms and the purpose of this arrangement is for the girls to be a part of their host families and to function as a kind of ‘big sister’. In exchange for food, shelter and pocket money, they undertake basic household chores for a maximum of 25 hours per week. However, to Roselie, Matet and Theresa there is no question that being an au pair is an actual job. Each month they send home their ’pocket money’ in order to provide for their children, ill parents and siblings, as well as other family members that all expect to be supported by the monthly ’income’ that stems from the girls’ au pair positions in rich countries such as Europe and the States. Needless to say, Roselie, Matet and Theresa are under an enormous amount of pressure. Au Pair questions the au pair arrangement. Sure, the girls volunteer to come here but it is with a clear purpose: to make the kind of money that they cannot make in their home countries. Seen from this perspective, their daily household chores in European families are extremely underpaid – and thus the au pair arrangement helps create a new underclass.