Behind the doors of private mansions, in the Haussmannian interiors of beautiful Parisian neighborhoods, a strange coexistence is taking place. Cooks, seamstresses and governesses, all full-time servants, work day and night serving a few thousand ultra-rich.
Sociologist Alizée Delpierre has researched for several years among these millionaires and those who serve them, becoming herself a baby sister at the service of a wealthy family. It tells, from that place of discreet reproduction of inequalities that constitutes the home, how the former consolidate their class privilege by offering themselves the unlimited commitment of invisible workers who dream of social advancement.
Who are the domestic workers who work for the rich?
Alizee Delpierre. They are mostly women but there are also some men, sometimes graduates, most of the time single. They all work eight, ten hours a day, often more, sleep at their employer’s house or nearby. These mansions are a magnifying mirror of the sexual division of labor. The maids of immigrant origin, with little qualification, and the women take care of the housework, the laundry or are kitchen employees. The men are butlers, drivers, chefs. There is also a form of racial essentialization: for example, black women will be considered better babysitters because they are supposed to be more loving. these stereotypes
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