Of Heterosexual Prostitution and Its Audiences: An Introduction
In the 1970s, social anthropologists challenging androcentrism in the discipline undertook women-centred work that looked at the 'worlds of women'. Client-sex worker-anthropologist relationships in the barrio are messy – a potent cocktail with ingredients such as gendered power, class struggle, moralistic religion, friendship, feelings, age differences, body fascism and appreciation, sex, love and hegemonic discourses of 'prostitution'. It is always clear that heterosexual prostitution exists because of women's oppression in a largely male-dominated society. Feminist anthropologists were born of a more general political feminist movement that problematised and emphasised power inequalities between women and men. Abu-Lughod exposes the hidden cultural hierarchies that anthropologists make for themselves and challenges the fictitious integrity of the 'self-other' distinction. Anthropologists are always going to have dilemmas about which theoretical traditions they wish to draw upon. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.