Book review: Male Sex Work and Society, edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott
The two editors of the book come to the claim, male sex (MSA) to rethink (S. XV ff.). By this they mean, the discourse of MSA from the prevailing until the turn of the millennium perspectives of prostitution extract as a social problem and as a deviance and to put in analyzing other aspects to the fore and the often simplistic and prejudiced representations a more complex picture of the working confront and realities of male sex workers. They rightly consider rethinking of MSA due to the structural challenges that accompany the technological, economic, political and social change in the context of a globalized labor market and a fully capitalized society, necessary.
So much is anticipated: the editors, Victor Minichiello and John Scott ─ both recognized experts in research on MSA ─ succeeds in an impressive manner, with its assortment of posts, the heterogeneity and complexity of the work area as well as the diversity of sex workers in terms of their socio-demographic characteristics, the motives, to work in the sex, sexual orientation, etc. represent.
Construction and design
The seventeen articles in this volume are grouped into four broad thematic sections: MSA in socio-historical context, marketing of MSA, social issues and cultures and MSA in the global context. Each article is a synopsis of the publisher preceded by the / -Innen not only offers the reader a quick overview of the content, but in the position, the contribution in the wider context of the book and ─ as far as possible on one side ─ in the context of scientific research is situates. Although not recognized by the publishers as an introduction work, this combination Look refer to such a character (in the positive sense of the word). Six of seventeen contributions are not primary publications, some of them turn earlier date (eg Friedman 2003 Kaye 2006.); this also corresponds to the introduction character. This impression is reinforced by the stapled copy sheets and a comprehensive glossary (14 pages), are listed in the national or sub-specific terms, little used foreign words, abbreviations and proper names, which contributes to the comprehensibility of the texts.
The author / -Innen approach the topic “Male Sex Work and Society” with the methods of different scientific disciplines. Thus, in addition cultural and socio-anthropological approaches (Castañeda, Boyce) criminological (Crofts, Ellison, Laing), psychological (Disorga, Isaacs, Koken, Scott, Smith), political science (Crofts), sociological (Kaye, Kong) and historical ( Friedman, Kaye) perspectives. Illuminated the topic also in the context of economy (Logan), Urban and Regional Planning (Maginn) and the filmic representation (Sheaffer).
Unusually for an academic work is the aesthetic and visual design. A well-formed man’s body on the cover illustrates this, what is the publishers also goes, namely not to outline sex work exclusively as a problem, but also to show the pleasurable and the stimulus may include the sexual services of providers such as buyers. Each section and each item is preceded by consecutive ─ primarily a picture of a mostly young, athletic and fit throughout man shirtless ─, partly there are full body images partly torsos. Especially the selection of pristine, spotless beautiful bodies and aestheticising imagery to illustrate the one that men as well as women become dominant notions of beauty are subject, and on the other hand, they refer to the commodification of the body. The editors use thus just like the sex workers as Trevon D. Logan in its economic analysis of the marketing strategies of male escorts in this volume describes (p 137), hegemonic stereotypes and images of masculinity. It was not intended by the editors to deconstruct such images; a critical examination ─ at least in the introduction ─ would have been all desirable.
Research on MSA has three central paradigms: social deviance, health and prostitution as work (Bimbi 2007 Minichiello / Scott / Callander 2013). The contributions of the book are clearly situate in the latter two paradigms.
While in terms of sex workers prostitution is discussed as a health problem for more than a century, this is for men only with the advent of AIDS to an “obsession” (Dennis 2008, p 18 f.) Become in the scientific employment. The dominance that takes the issue of health in this book is, on the one hand probably due to the fact that half of the author / -Innen expert has in this area. Secondly, it may be read as a response to the continuous academic debate, is so far ‘focused mainly in the threat to public health / Public Health by MSA. The author / -Innen address other concerns in this band. Make the physical and mental health of sex work practitioners and the causes of health problems in the center of their research (see. Koken / Bimbi, Laing / Gaffney, Niccolai and Castañeda). Hazards due to the working conditions (violence by clients, employers, intermediaries, police), stigma and structural violence (z. B. illegality, lack of support facilities, no access to other labor market) are key issues here.
In connection with the working conditions in the MSA currently ─ primary research interest in the scientific dispute ─ are the contributions of the collection, especially the changes brought about by new communication technologies such as Internet and mobile (eg. B. Kaye, Tyler), through migration (Castañeda Kong ) and by the greater social acceptance of homosexuality and gay subcultures (Grov / Smith, Crofts) taken. By reconnection to social structures a highly differentiated picture of sex work is drawn. But it is also evident how rudimentary research this is still.
I would like to highlight the contribution of Paul Boyce and Gordon Isaacs (“Male Sex Work in Southern and Eastern Africa”), which offers an innovative research design that underlies it: Research offered by their participative access, where sex workers not only researched were, but were involved creatively in terms of questions and methods, the sex workers a base for the struggle for rights, access to health and social services and much more, also they came even their say. This transdisciplinary-participatory access results in an ‘other’ knowledge, are sex workers / -Innen definition and interpretation, and reduced thickness not this on their activities, the yes is only part of their lives.
Homosexuality ─ ─ male sex work stigma / tomation
One of the most stimulating and disturbing at the same conclusions can already be found in the first article of the anthology. In a historical outline about the shape of male sex work, from antiquity to the present day Mack Friedman concludes that homophobic societies men in sex work / prostitution may better working conditions, or at least not offered poorer than do modern societies, the value of protecting Laying of Human Rights and in which the status of sex workers continuously declining (Friedman refers to the United States) (see p. 28 f.). Towards homosexuality intolerant societies have male sex workers ignored at best, and at worst they would have suffered from the general stigma associated with homosexual behavior. Today is the displacement of MSA from the public space, through changed attitudes in the gay community over MSA and by new communications technologies that male sex work become invisible, which primarily brought negative effects for the sex workers. Friedman concludes: “Paradoxically, we seem to be right back where we started.” (P.29) Even though me this conclusion is insufficient and this thesis would probably also requires a more accurate historical work, but the question arises, what agreement there is between the degree of social acceptance of homosexuality and the degree of stigmatization of MSA. Learn male sex workers only in liberal societies ─ as is suggested by Friedman ─ the double stigma due to homosexuality and because of prostitution? Or is where the stigma of homosexuality is still unbroken, this so overwhelming that anything deviating from the social norm ─ also ─ commercial sex is regarded as an expression of sexual deviance? And what difference does it in the end for those affected? Contradicting Friedman’s thesis other authors (Crofts, Sheaffer, Grov / Smith) be stated in this book at least gradual positive changes in attitudes to MSA through history and see a direct positive relationship between the granting of human rights on the one hand and the decriminalization of homosexuality and / or sex work and good working conditions (Bimbi / Koken) on the other. These contradictory findings are not taken up by the editors. Thus, the question remains whether, and if so, what effects has prostitution policy on the reality of life of male sex workers.
The majority of research on MSA comes from the Anglophone space and also refers to this. This is made as set out in this anthology that six posts on countries and continents focus of which little is known about MSA’s (Latin America, South and East Africa, China, Germany, Russia and Ireland). Misleading is the first section titled “Male sex work in its global context,” he suggests but that sex work in the context of transnational (work) is discussed migration and the global economy. With the exception of Heide Castañeda article on migrant sex workers in Germany this expectation is not met. On the whole, it is, country studies’ without compensation would be manufactured on an international level,. These case studies are, despite their multiple thesis character which is due to the poor state of research on MSA in general and the synopsis of several large countries in the contributions, but read very exciting. They show away impressively similarities across countries and continents, but also cultural and socio-political differences. In order for the social construction of masculinity, gender, sexuality etc. and their nevertheless real impact on the individual’s life are illustrated.
“The aim of this book has been to open and clarify a new, conceptually broader perspective on the male sex industry”, write Minichiello and Scott in their conclusions (S. 462). This claim will do justice to the book. The complexity and heterogeneity of male sex work are visible through the various topics and not least because of the different disciplinary approaches. By differentiated and objective analysis avoiding the author / -Innen both scandal and glossing over the situation. The two editors close the tape from the designation of open research fields. In particular, as an introduction to the topic of MSA is the book especially recommended, as it provides a compact overview of the state of research.
Reviewed by Helga Amesberger