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Tag Archives: Gender Studies

Swedberg, Gregory. 2018. „Moralizing Public Space: Prostitution, Disease, and Social Disorder in Orizaba, Mexico, 1910–1945“. Journal of Social History 52 (1): 54–73. https://doi.org/10.1093/jsh/shx083.
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Abstract
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This article explores how women working as prostitutes in Orizaba, Mexico, laid claim to a more revolutionary vision of women’s citizenship. Prostitutes pushed the state to realize the promises of the Mexican Revolution, even as officials and many local residents—rich and poor—retained outmoded notions of gender and citizenship. This research indicates that “respectable” poor and working-class individuals gravitated toward traditional gender values so as to position themselves as respectable in the eyes of state agents charged with policing morality and public health. State officials’ rhetoric of egalitarianism that followed the Mexican Revolution fell flat for the public women whose pecuniary position persisted long after the guns fell silent.

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The journal “Sexualities” published a discussion around Ronald Weitzer’s piece “Resistance to sex work stigma” in its September 2018 issue.

From the Editor’s Note:
“Professor Ronald Weitzer has written a short piece to Sexualities. It is a commentary in which Weitzer examines the notion of stigma in the context of sex work. He points out that stigma is not determined but has the possibility of change and suggests ‘a set of preconditions for the reduction and, ultimately, elimination of stigma from sex work’, which includes neutralization of language, a more balanced representation of sex work in the mass media, decriminalization, industry mobilization, sex worker activism, and intervention from the academia. We thought this piece would generate discussion and thus open up theoretical debate as well as practical concern about policy and legislation regarding sex work and stigma. We then invited scholars to comment and the following have agreed to write a commentary: Professor Teela Sanders, Professor Wendy Chapkis, Professor Jo Phoenix, and Professor Minichiello (together with Professor John Scott and Mr Cameron Cox).”

Read full note here (freely available).

The contributions to the discussion can be found here (paywall).

Jones, Angela. 2016. „“I Get Paid to Have Orgasms”: Adult Webcam Models’ Negotiation of Pleasure and Danger“. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42 (1): 227–56. https://doi.org/10.1086/686758.
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Abstract
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This article makes several important contributions to the burgeoning literature on sex work in a digital era. The scholarly literature that has documented the use of the Internet by sex workers has focused almost entirely on prostitution and has yet to make adult webcam modeling a focal point of analysis. This article critically examines the ways in which entry into adult webcam modeling is facilitated by an expectation that sex work in cyberspace maximizes pleasure, primarily because it minimizes the risk of dangers associated with street-based sex work. I conduct content analyses of discussions on a popular online forum for webcam models to explore the themes of pleasure (erotic and affectual) and danger (capping, doxxing, and harassment) in adult webcam modeling. I argue that adult webcam models experience sexual and affectual pleasures in the course of their work and that they are able to experience these pleasures because the computer-mediated sexual exchange acts as a psychological barrier, and that the computer in turn becomes the primary tool that performers use for emotional management. My analysis focuses on how sex workers reconcile the pleasure in their work with the exploitation that is also found there. Here, these camgirls use neoliberal ideas to minimize the perception of danger of their work so that they can experience high levels of pleasure. I further open up a new dialogue about neoliberalism and sex workers by focusing on the neoliberal subject in this new form of sex work.

Full text available here.

Thiemann, Inga K. o. J. „Beyond Victimhood and Beyond Employment? Exploring Avenues for Labour Law to Empower Women Trafficked into the Sex Industry“. Industrial Law Journal 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/indlaw/dwy015.
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Abstract
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This article explores under which circumstances a labour law approach could make a meaningful contribution to combatting human trafficking into the sex industry. In this, I critique the existing criminal law approach to human trafficking and its policies, which focus on trafficked persons as idealised victims in need of protection, rather than on their rights as workers, migrants and women. Furthermore, I also challenge the exclusion of sex workers from arguments for a labour law response to human trafficking, as they maintain the construction of trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labour exploitation as separate phenomena. Instead, this article advocates an alternative labour law approach to human trafficking, which incorporates wider interdisciplinary issues of gender equality and societal exclusions for women and migrants, and particularly female migrant sex workers, within a labour response. My focus is therefore on exclusions maintained by existing labour legislation, which are based on the standard employment contract and amplified by barriers to labour protections faced by workers in female-dominated service jobs in general and by sex workers in particular. As sex workers’ embodied feminised labour is deemed not to be ‘real work’, they seem to be unworthy of labour protections. My proposed labour response to human trafficking into the sex industry therefore combines some of the strengths of the existing labour rights-focussed anti-trafficking and exploitation discourse with arguments from feminist labour law theory in order to tackle the intersectional dimension of human trafficking into the sex industry.

Sanders, Teela. 2018. „Enhancing the study of sex work“. Sexualities, June 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460718771346.
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I write this as an academic who has focused on understanding the sex industry and advocating for the rights of sex workers in much of the time that Sexualities has been a space for the social sciences to enhance the study of sexuality through scholarship and thinking. I have approached this reflection specifically relating to the field of sex work, or what has been called ‘the sociology of sex work’ as a sub-discipline. For this reflection I reviewed all of the issues of the journal, a truly fascinating and indulgent exercise, to track how sex work research has emerged through the journal. There were some 47 articles directly relating to the sex industry/sex workers with many more circling the periphery of the broad subject.
Read more here.
Beloso, Brooke M. „Queer Theory, Sex Work, and Foucault’s Unreason“. Foucault Studies 0, Nr. 0 (7. August 2017): 141–66. https://doi.org/10.22439/fs.v0i0.5345.

Abstract

During the late nineties, leading voices of the sex worker rights movement began to publicly question queer theory’s virtual silence on the subject of prostitution and sex work. However, this attempt by sex workers to “come out of the closet” into the larger queer theoretical community has thus far failed to bring much attention to sex work as an explicitly queer issue. Refusing the obvious conclusion—that queer theory’s silence on sex work somehow proves its insignificance to this field of inquiry—I trace in Foucault’s oeuvre signs of an alternate (albeit differently) queer genealogy of prostitution and sex work. Both challenging and responding to long-standing debates about prostitution within feminist theory, I offer a new queer genealogy of sex work that aims to move beyond the rigid oppositions that continue to divide theorists of sexuality and gender. Focusing specifically on History of Madness (1961), Discipline and Punish (1975), and History of Sexuality Volume I (1976), I make the case for an alternate genealogy of sex work that takes seriously both the historical construction of prostitution and the lived experience of contemporary sex workers.
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Drawing upon over a decade of research in our respective communities, we argue that the intergenerational socioeconomic insecurities and violence prevalent in the lives of North American street-involved women, their families, and others in their social circles constitute a set of shared precarities. Taking both socioinstitutional and interpersonal forms, shared precarities obviate the women’s rights to access the lived experience and social status of motherhood. Yet they also engender maternal subjectivities reflective of the ambivalence, temporal ambiguity, and interconnections between family and state structures that characterize the women’s child custody arrangements. These maternal subjectivities, and the shared precarities that give rise to them, emphasize how individual members of marginalized communities cope with violence generated by the legitimation of particular family forms and devaluation/criminalization of others.