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Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415912884
ISBN-10: 0415912881
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Commercial sex has long been a troublesome issue for feminists. Chapkis, a sociologist and author of Beauty Secrets: Women and the Politics of Appearance, is a self-professed champion of the rights of prostitutes and pornographers. This sets her at odds with those who are opposed to women's participation in "erotic labor" on the grounds that it exploits them. Here, she conducts 50-plus unstructured interviews with women in the trade between 1986 and 1995 in the Netherlands and in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, Calif.?all places where Chapkis lived. The author notes that she reprints fewer than half the interviews, which may reveal a great deal more about Chapkis than about her subjects. The book is shaped into seven main chapters, each with an academic essay about some aspect of the sex trade followed by two or more edited, but graphic, interviews with women in the sex business. The interviewees included "call girls, escort workers, pornography actresses and models, brothel workers, exotic dancers, peep show workers, phone sex workers, street workers, and window prostitutes." Chapkis also personally experimented with buying and selling sex to experience the transactions. Eight black-and-white photos of professional women add to the gritty and realistic, rather than erotic, tone of the book. It is part sociology and part journalism, with a polemic on the rights of women in the commercial-sex business running throughout. The mix doesn't work well, and will likely disappoint the possible audiences interested in sociology, journalism or polemic.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"...Chapkis is an exceedingly purposeful and interesting writer. Her discourse...is often amusing and never boring..." -- Lesbian Review of Books

"...a page-turner, sparkling with insight and with the surprising voices of prostitutes themselves..." -- Dissident

"...aims to change the tone of the feminist sex debates, bridging the daunting gaps between such such self-identified feminists as Kathleen Barry, Andrea Dworkin, Pat Califia and Camille Paglia." -- Ms. Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (December 21, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415912881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415912884
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By danielle egan on December 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Chapkis in her book "Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labour" does an excellent job exploring the often complex experiences of women who perform erotic labor. She gives a careful and sensitive analysis, not falling into the trap of romanticisng their lives or disregarding their experiences. This is a truly excellent book. Which is theoretically complex and includes women's experiences in their own words. I loved it.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I LOVED this book! I've been in the sex trade ever since college, and found the book to be absolutely insightful and fascinating. It is NOT a "a suger-coated [sic] way of talking about prostitution", but a very accurate representation of the business--at least for those among us who choose to be empowered rather than exploited. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone considering entering the sex trade, or to anyone curious about the reality of sex work.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
The intro to this book presents a clear, concise account of contemporary feminist perspectives on sex work, ranging from the adamantly anti to the decidedly pro (no pun intended). Likewise, the essays inside represent an equally broad range of views and experiences from women in nearly every facet of the sex industry, proving once and for all that sex work is neither inherently degrading nor inherently empowering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Celeste Thayer on September 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For such an excellent title, cover, and concept - women talking about real experiences in the sex industry - this manages to be scholarly without being approachable. It's heavy and boring and dry.
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By shay on May 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must have in this field. Chapkis brings in many personal accounts of sex work. She presents many different perspectives, including her own.
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By Charlie on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Needed it for a class, and I loved it. I'm deciding to keep it, because I want to keep reading it.
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