Au Pairs and their appearance– another dicey topic.
We don’t like to think that an au pair’s physical appearance affects how we (or others) respond to her, but the ugly truth is– appearances are influential.
When we (American) host parents react to an au pair’s appearance, we’re invoking preferences, expectations and interpretations based partly in stereotypes and norms related to gender, race, class, national culture, and personality….
We need to consider all of these when we respond to this host mom’s concern: Her au pair dresses like a “tramp”.
(Actual word changed to avoid spammers.)
Dear Au Pair Mom,
I don’t know how to describe the problem we are having with our Au Pair except to be blunt about it.
Our au pair dresses like a “tramp”.
She wears very short shorts, tank tops, tight t-shirts, padded bras, high-heeled boots- and we live in Arizona, so there is never a chance that she has to cover up to keep warm.
It would be one thing if she dressed like this just to go out at night with her friends, but she wears skimpy clothing 24-7.
I’m not concerned about my dear husband (he is oblivious. He is more interested in her being a safe driver.) I’m more concerned about the way that our au pair’s clothing invites other people to treat her. I think she must get a lot of cat-calls and even propositions from various men as she takes my twins around downtown the stroller. I worry about her safety.
Maybe I should point out that our au pair is tall and slender, European, highlighted hair, and above average pretty. She has been a great au pair so far… my kids adore her and she is dependable and pleasant. But the Daisy Dukes, the Victorias Secret push up bras, and the Hot Topixx are more than I can handle.
Am I just being too uptight? Should I go with it? Or should I say something to her about how her clothing makes her seem to others?
In all honesty, her clothing makes her look “low rent” and “easy”, and she is neither.
What do you recommend? Say something? Stay quiet? Take her to the Gap?
See Also: Myths About Au Pairs: Au Pair = Hottie
Images: SDSU Sorority Girls from San Diego Shooter