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Tag Archives: Gender Studies

Abstract

The Archives de la Préfecture de Police de Paris have served as an important source base for historians of both female prostitution and male homosexuality during the nineteenth century. Although the archives often place these two forms of sexual marginality in the same series, cartons, and dossiers, historians have almost always treated the two as distinct social categories. This article argues that this separation results from an overreliance on the modern sexual identity categories that serve as our point of departure. Instead, we should approach the archive without identifying with it in order to formulate a vision of the sexual past that may or may not reflect our own sexual organization. In dialogue with a broader discourse that conflated male same-sex sexual activity with female prostitution, these archives participate in the production of a sexual category that has as much to do with the selling of sex as it does with same-sex sexual desire.

Les historiens de la prostitution féminine et de l’homosexualité masculine au dix-neuvième siècle ont abondamment utilisé les archives de la Préfecture de police de Paris. Bien que les archives situent souvent de ces deux formes de marginalité sexuelle dans les mêmes séries, cartons, et dossiers, les historiens les ont presque toujours traitées comme des catégories sociales distinctes. Le présent article affirme que cette séparation repose sur une dépendance des catégories qui fournissent le point de départ des enquêtes historiques. Le refus de s’identifier à l’archive est une étape nécessaire pour formuler une vision du passé sexuel qui peut—ou pas—refléter notre propre organisation sexuelle. En dialogue avec un discours combinant les activités sexuelles entre hommes avec la prostitution féminine, ces archives participent en effet à la production d’une catégorie sexuelle qui a autant à voir avec le commerce du sexe qu’avec le désir homosexuel.

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Body issues: The political economy of male sex work. Nicola J Smith. Sexualities Vol 15, Issue 5-6, pp. 586 – 603. First published date: September-24-2012

The analysis of global sexual economies has emerged as an important part of a wider feminist project to re-imagine the boundaries of what constitutes the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of globalisation and capitalism. Emphasising the importance of such an agenda, the article argues that continued understandings of commercial sex as ‘women’s work’ place male and transgender bodies on the outside rather than the inside of the analysis of global sexual economies. Highlighting the need to address this gap in contemporary theorising and empirical analysis, the article then offers an illustration of research into male sex work through discussion of how male escorts in San Francisco negotiate the complex meanings and practices surrounding gender, sexuality and political economy.

Full text of author’s original manuscript available here.

Abstract

Much has been said about tourist sexual behavior in the Global South. These studies range from those who view men’s and women’s sexual sojourn as distinctly different activities (sex versus romance tourism respectively) to those who consider sex and romance tourism as independent of sexed and gendered bodies. This work attempts to assess this critical aspect of tourism in Jamaica. Through data collection in two phases and using mixed methodology, the study seeks to assess the perception of local hotel workers and female tourists to the issue of sex and romance tourism. Findings indicate that while male and female hotel workers tend to view men as searching for sex and women for romance, female tourists are largely discrediting the perception that men and women seek distinctly different things while on vacation. The paper argues that there is therefore need to shift the paradigm of sex tourism research to include a wider range of perceptions. The implications for destination marketing are then discussed.

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Research conducted at the New York State Reformatory for Women at Bedford under the direction of founding superintendent Katharine Bement Davis produced some of the most influential data on prostitution in the Progressive Era. While Davis and Bedford have figured prominently in histories of the women’s prison reform movement, historical studies of the social response to prostitution in the Progressive Era, and feminist biographical accounts of women in early twentieth century reform crusades, the relationship between penal reform and the changing social organization of labor has been overlooked. This paper undertakes a critical reexamination of the Bedford data, demonstrating that while Davis advocated a social scientific approach to reform, she systematically displaced the significance of structural factors at two crucial levels: her studies of inmates and her own philosophy and practice of reform. Studies of inmates discounted the role of economic factors for women’s entry into prostitution in favor of explanations that emphasized familial and personal weakness. The institutionalization, training, and parole of inmates functioned not simply to place inmates in domestic service but to effectively disqualify them from other sources of respectable employment. Viewed through the lens of a social organization of labor perspective, a previously neglected dimension of the logic and practice of reform is illuminated.
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The article explores how Czechoslovakia reacted to the persistence of prostitution during State Socialism (1948-1989) when its underlying Marxist-Leninist ideology predicted that it should disappear with the overthrow of capitalism. The paper adopts a law in context approach, critically analysing legal instruments as well as expert commentaries by social scientists, legal scholars, judges and prosecutors from the period.

It argues that while the Czechoslovak state attempted to suppress prostitution through criminal law, conceptualizing it as ‘parasitism’, many of the State Socialist experts ultimately fell back on the extra-legal normative system of gender. Women in prostitution were condemned for their sexually promiscuous behaviour while all women were blamed for failing in their gender roles as good women, wives and mothers. Whereas the official policy was thus enforcing socialist morality, the experts reverted to traditional bourgeois morality, in clear betrayal of the promises of both Marxism-Leninism and the State Socialist ideology as regards the equality of the sexes.

The heightened responsibility all women were given to prevent prostitution was unique. State Socialist Czechoslovakia is thus more than yet another case study of a repressive regime that controls and punishes the more vulnerable side of the prostitution transaction and apportions blame in a gendered way. Instead, it demonstrates how prostitution can become a vehicle for promoting and upholding traditional gender norms not only towards women in prostitution, but all women in society.

Full article available here.
Besbris, Max. “Revanchist Masculinity: Gender Attitudes in Sex Work Management.” The Sociological Quarterly, July 1, 2016, n/a – n/a. doi:10.1111/tsq.12149.
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Pimps, or male managers of female sex workers, are commonly represented in popular culture as hypermasculine and as a ubiquitous part of sex work. However, there is little empirical scholarship on pimps or the construction of their masculinity. Drawing on ethnographic and interview data, this article demonstrates how pimps produce a “revanchist masculinity” that seeks to reclaim power from women and establish status over other men. Pimps are suspicious of sex workers’ motives and deny them decision-making power and profit sharing—processes that highlight how work practices can structure gender identity construction.

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This article discusses how staff at a gay adult film studio produce a local form of hegemonic masculinity to which adult film performers are held accountable, requiring performers to orient their gender strategies in specific ways to obtain employment. These findings contribute to understandings of how hegemonic masculinity is embodied, racialized, and sexualized at work in ways that subordinate femininity while affording privileges to those who meet these criteria. I conclude with a discussion of how this local form relates to regional hegemonic forms, implications for the workplace experiences of marginalized men, and how gay adult film studios may be complicit in the domination of gay and effeminate men.