Toronto Metropolitan University
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Sex Work in Popular Culture

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posted on 2024-03-13, 15:30 authored by Lauren KirshnerLauren Kirshner

Sex Work in Popular Culture delves into provocative movies, TV shows, and documentaries about sex work produced in the last decade – a period of debate and change around the meaning of sex work in North American society. From Oscar-winning films to viral YouTube videos, and from indie documentaries to hit series – many of which are made by women – the book reveals how sex work is being recognized as real work and an issue of human rights. Lauren Kirshner shares how popular culture has responded by producing the dynamic new figure of a sex worker who challenges tropes and promotes understanding of the key issues shaping sex work.

The book draws on labour and feminist theory, film history, current news, and popular culture, all within the context of neoliberal capitalism and the rise of transactional intimate labour. Kirshner takes us from erotic dance clubs to porn sets, illuminating the professional lives of erotic dancers, massage parlour workers, webcam models, call girls, sex surrogates, and porn performers. Probing how progressive popular culture challenges stereotypes, Sex Work in Popular Culture tells the story of sex work as labour and how the screen can show us the world’s oldest profession in a new light.