Book review: Male Sex Work and Society, edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott
This much-needed exploration of male sex work marks the relaunching of Harrington Park Press, a long-standing publisher of gender and queer studies titles. Male sex work has only recently emerged as a subject of serious academic inquiry as treated in this collection of essays, although the lived reality of male sex work permeates history. The essays included, by scholars both established and new, attempt to situate the subject within “the wider social and cultural umbrella under which the male sex industry is now based.” Most of the articles are research centered and bring quantitative analysis to historical, national, and cultural events. This research constitutes the most evident strength of the collection, as the public understanding of male sex work has largely been defined by false assumptions, gaps in information, and prejudices. The book is not without flaws though: the unfortunate choice to include photographs of shirtless, muscled men and the sometimes problematic handling of transgender sex workers stand out as two problem areas. Scholars researching male sex work will appreciate this crucial step in the right direction.