Siobhan Brooks, Unequal Desires: Race and Erotic Capital in the Stripping Industry

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In this morning’s panel at the “After Gender” Symposium, Adrienne Davis (Wash. U. St. Louis) mentioned an interesting new book — Siobhan Brooks, Unequal Desires: Race and Erotic Capital in the Stripping Industry (SUNY Press 2010).  Here is the description from the publisher’s website:

Winner of the 2008 SUNY Press Dissertation/First Book Prize in Queer Studies, this groundbreaking ethnographic study of racial stratification in queer and straight strip clubs examines the lives and working conditions of Black and Latina dancers in strip clubs in New York City and Oakland, California. Through interviews with dancers, customers, managers, bouncers, and other strip club employees, Siobhan Brooks explores the connections between race, desire, and commodification in what she terms “desire industries.” The study finds that even in times of economic gains for a minority of Black and Latino/a middle-class populations, sexual stereotypes and racial hypersexualization continue to affect many women of color who work in the sex industry, leading to more exposure to violence, wage gaps, and less access to more lucrative shifts and performance venues. Through her insightful and illuminating analysis, Brooks makes the case that racialized erotic capital is central to what owners think will sell, what customers will buy, how dancers negotiate those desire landscapes, and the male and female consumption of desire.

-Bridget Crawford

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