Synopses & Reviews
Mainstream feminist discourse has failed to fully engage with commercial sex work. In a series of groundbreaking, previously unpublished essays, The Business of Sex
corrects this lacuna.
Moving beyond the traditional feminist focus on slavery and trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and other health issues, the contributors to this volume engage fully with the political and theoretical implications of sex work. Dismissing old antagonisms, they argue that feminism—thanks to its role in revolutionizing perspectives on sexuality and labor—is a natural ally for the sex workers’ rights movement. In the process, these innovative scholars provocatively critique the dominant moral paradigm of heterosexual monogamy, which has created a pervasive “victim” discourse and limited our understanding of sex work’s complex realities.
Drawing on first-hand stories of sex workers and prostitutes, this volume gives voice to newly articulated movements such as “whore feminism” and “queer feminism”—feminisms that have the potential to move discussions about sex work onto new and fruitful terrain.
Sex Work Matters brings sex workers, scholars and activists together to present pioneering essays on the economics and sociology of sex work. From insights by sex workers on how they handle money, intimate relationships and daily harassment by police, to the experience of male and transgender sex work, this fascinating and original book offers theoretical discussions as well empirical case studies, providing new ways to link theory with lived experiences. The result is a vital new contribution to sex-worker rights. The book will equip any reader with new theoretical frameworks for understanding the sex industry, challenging readers to explore the topic of sex work in new ways, especially its cultural, economic and political dimensions.
About the Author
Laxmi Murthy is a consulting editor at Himal Southasian and heads the Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange.Meena Saraswathi Seshu is the general secretary of SANGRAM, an organization that works to protect the rights of sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS in Sangli, Maharashtra.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Beyond the Sex in Sex Work - Alys Willman and Antonia Levy
Part 1. Beyond Divides: New Frameworks for Understanding the Sex Industry
1. Sex Work Now: What the Blurring Boundaries around the Sex Industry Means for Sex Work, Research and Activism - Barbara G. Brents and Kathryn Hausbeck
2. The (Crying) Need for Different Kinds of Research - Laura Agustín
3. The Meaning of the Whore: How Feminist Theories on Prostitution Shape Research on Female Sex Workers - Juline A. Koken
Part 2. Managing Multiple Roles
4. To Love, Honour, and Strip: An Investigation of Exotic Dancer Romantic Relationships - Mindy S. Bradley-Engen and Carrie M. Hobbs
5. Sex and the Unspoken in Male Street Prostitution - Kerwin Kaye
6. enforced ab/normalcy: the sexworker hijras and the (re)appropriation of s/he identity - Mashrur Shahid Hossain
Part 3. Money and Sex
7. Let's Talk About Money - Alys Willman
8. Show Me the Money: A Sex Worker Reflects on Research into the Sex Industry - Jo Weldon
9. Selling Sex: Women's Participation in the Sex Industry - Melissa Petro
Part 4. Sex Work and the State
10. Pimping the Pueblo: State Regulated Commercial Sex in Neoliberal Mexico - Patty Kelly
11. Deviant Girls, Small-Scale Entrepreneurs and the Regulation of German Sex Workers - Anne Dölemeyer, Rebecca Pates, Daniel Schmidt
12. Sex Work, Communities and Public Policy in the UK - Maggie O'Neill and Jane Pitcher
Part 5. Organizing Beyond Divides
13. Sex Workers' Rights Activism in Europe: Orientations from Brussels - Giulia Garofalo
Conclusion: Pushing Boundaries in Sex Work Activism and Research - Melissa Ditmore