Archives de Tag: Eva Pendleton

Testimonies of sex workers who identify themselves as heterosexual also show ways in which the performance of sex work queers heterosexuality […] One interviewee, Monica, said that her work experience makes her less likely to put up with the hetero pickup scene : “When I go out to a club and some guy’s trying to pick me up, I look at him and think, Why should I even talk to you ? Why listen to your life story and what you do for a living ? I don’t care. You’re not even paying me.” Because she now gets paid to perform heterosexuality, that is to say, to play a role of sexual availability and feminine receptivity, she is less willing to play that role for free. She does not claim to have no sexual interest in men; rather, it is the institution of compulsory heterosexuality, whereby women must politely tolerate and respond to male sexual advances, to which she objects.

Eva Pendleton, “Love for Sale”, in Jill NAGLE, Whores and other feminists, Routledge, 1997, p. 76-77

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The power of Hima B.’s film and the 10 Percent articles is in their juxtaposition of the subjects’ self-described “real” sexuality with their professional, or performed sexuality. The juxtaposition of paid “straight” sexuality with lesbianism actually illustrates that there is nothing straight about sex work. What these women are doing is performing heterosexuality as they perform a sexual service for money. They do not go straight, they play straight. I would like to argue that the sex work in these texts represents a performance of heterosexuality, regardless of the sexual self-identity of the performer. Its defining characteristic is the exchange of money for a sexual service, which is, I would argue, a queer act. Selling sex is quite outside of the normative codes of sexual conduct, whereby sex is privileged as something you do for love or, in a more liberal world view, for fun or, if it is in a Hollywood film like Pretty Woman or Indecent Proposal, for a whole lot of money.

Eva Pendleton, “Love for Sale”, in Jill NAGLE, Whores and other feminists, Routledge, 1997, p. 75-76