Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race, and Sexual Labor

Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race, and Sexual Labor

Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race, and Sexual Labor

Sexing the Caribbean: Gender, Race, and Sexual Labor

Synopsis

The primary focus of the book is to illuminate intersections of gender, sexuality, work, race and economic relations in the Caribbean. A central focus is on the social construction of prostitution and other types of transactional sexual relations that many women, and increasingly more young men, are engaged in. Sex tourism, migrant sex work, HIV/AIDS, and legalized prostitution are topics that are examined alongside sex workers agency, resistance and organization. This book challenges conceptions of prostitution as, exclusively, a form of violence to women, and argues that sexual-economic relations can be sites of both oppression and liberation. It sheds light on aspects of women's lives and of the Caribbean that are widely know to exist, but which have not been documented or analyzed in any extent in social studies.

Excerpt

The Caribbean has long been portrayed in the global imagination as an exotic, resource-filled region of the world. A hypersexual image has been construed as "fact" by social chroniclers, travelers, historians, sociologists, and anthropologists to represent its "backward" and "undeveloped" condition, and the region has been variously lusted after for its natural wealth, sun-drenched sand beaches, sparkling blue seas, and tropical sensuousness. Its perceived feral nature once evoked images of wild and savage men who ate human flesh (Cannibals) and sexually precocious women (Amazons) who were to be tamed and controlled in the name of God and the Crown in order that Europe could secure its cornucopia of riches. To many, the Caribbean continues to be an unruly and promiscuous place. Territories that once served as sex havens for the colonial elite are today frequented by sex tourists, and several of the island economies now depend upon the region's racialized, sexualized image.

While other and different representations of the region abound, those that center on its sexuality have been roundly condemned by the Church, women's movements, and many intellectuals, and, as one observer notes, "are bound to erode Caribbean integrity." However, in this study I argue that we need a different lens for thinking about Caribbean sexuality-that we cannot simply view it as a fabrication of the European mind and imagination, or dismiss it as colonial discourses or metaphors, but need also to view hypersexuality as a lived reality that pulses through the Caribbean body. As Frantz Fanon reminds us, colonial discourses are deeply embedded in the psyche and behavior of the colonized; such images are a part of a broader colonial regime of oppression that is sedimented in the hearts and minds of Caribbean men and women themselves. Moreover, I explore the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.