This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Business of Love: Managing the Challenges of Legitimizing the Work of the Babysitter




Kowtko, Lily

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


This thesis examines how babysitters construct their work as being more or less real work. I argue that babysitters construct their work as being both real and not real at the same time. In some ways, the work is real, like when the babysitters are working long hours and changing diapers. In other ways, babysitters construct the work as less real, like developing close, personal relationships with their employers. This project seeks to understand how babysitters structurally and discursively construct and, sometimes, deconstruct the realness of their work. By completing 18 interviews with babysitters, I was able to gain this understanding. Ultimately, this thesis explains how babysitters work within a marginalized field and due to internal and external influences, construct their work in a less real manner.