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social sciences

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Sex Work and Prostitution: Female  
page: 1  2  3  

Aileen Wuornos became the subject of several films including two documentaries, Nick Broomfield's Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992) and Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (directed by Broomfield and Joan Churchill, 2003), and Patty Jenkins' docudrama Monster (2003), which starred Charlize Theron as Wuornos.

Other Films

A number of other films have explored or exploited the life of the lesbian prostitute, beginning as early as 1912, when Aleksandr Arkatov made a film version of the 1906 Sholom Asch play, God of Vengeance, about a Jewish brothel owner whose daughter falls in love with one of the prostitutes who works for him.

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Edward Dmytryk's 1962 film Walk on the Wild Side features Barbara Stanwyck as the madame of a New Orleans bordello in love with one of her prostitutes, played by Capucine.

In 1986, lesbian filmmaker Lizzie Borden used information she gathered from interviewing sex workers to create her film Working Girls, the story of a lesbian photographer who works in a New York house of prostitution. Unlike more sensational portrayals of sex workers' lives, Borden's film presents prostitution as a singularly un-erotic routine, where boredom and violence are all part of the working day.

Tina Gianoulis

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social sciences >> Overview:  Lesbian Sex Wars

The lesbian "sex wars" of the 1980s, centered on issues of pornography and s/m, constituted one of the most significant debates among second-wave feminists in North America and Europe.

arts >> Overview:  Pornographic Film and Video: Lesbian

Although pornography is controversial among lesbians, it has nonetheless been openly embraced by a faction of pro-sex lesbians, and there has emerged a small but growing film and video industry committed to authentic lesbian pornography.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sex Work and Prostitution: Male

Sex workers range from well-organized professionals who work for escorting agencies, perform in pornographic films, or manage independent escort businesses to those who engage in unpremeditated and sporadic cash transactions resulting from casual encounters.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sexology

Sexology, the study of sex or of the interactions between the sexes, first emerged as a field of intellectual inquiry in the second half of the nineteenth century; its practitioners were the first to identify homosexuality as such and to speculate about its prevalence and etiology.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Sex Workers

Although art historians have given very little attention to representations of sex workers, images of same-sex prostitution extend far back into history.

arts >> Borden, Lizzie

Bisexual filmmaker Lizzie Borden brings a feminist perspective and a dynamic authenticity to her films about the unexplored politics of women's lives.

literature >> Califia, Patrick

Controversial for defending sadomasochism and pornography, gender outlaw and sexual anarchist Patrick Califia, who recently underwent gender reassignment, is widely admired as a defender of individual freedom.

social sciences >> Dworkin, Andrea

Controversial radical feminist and anti-pornography crusader Andrea Dworkin wrote and spoke extensively on the cultural subjugation of women.

social sciences >> Nestle, Joan

Through her writing, teaching, editing, and activism, Joan Nestle has devoted her life to promoting awareness of glbtq culture and advancing glbtq equality.

social sciences >> Transsexuals of Brazil

Transgender people--more specifically, people who were born male but present themselves as female--are Brazil's single most marginalized group.


Barton, Bernadette. "Queer Desire in the Sex Industry." Sexuality and Culture 5.4 (Fall 2001): 25-31.

Chapkis, Wendy. "Sex Work." Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. Bonnie Zimmerman, ed. New York: Garland, 2000. 685-87.

Delacoste, Frederique, and Priscilla Alexander, eds. Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 1987.

Dworkin, Andrea. "Prostitution and Male Supremacy." (1992). Andrea Dworkin Website.

MacLeod, Marlee. "Aileen Wuornos." Crime Library (2005):

Miller, Heather Lee. "Sexologists Examine Lesbians and Prostitutes in the United States, 1840-1940." National Women's Studies Association Journal 12.3 (Fall 2000): 67-91.

Nagel, Jill, ed. Whores and Other Feminists. New York: Routlege, 1997.

"The Story of Aileen Wuornos." Crossroad 6.3 (1995): Prison Activist Resource Center Website.

Tea, Michelle. Rent Girl. San Francisco: Last Gasp, 2004.

Vandebogart, Leigh. "Invisibility and Visibility of Queer Women and Lesbians in the Sex Work Industry between 1970 and 1990." Transcending Silence (2005):

"Whores Fight Back: Lesbian, Gay, And Bisexual Sex Workers Organize."  The Advocate 590 (November 19, 1991): 64-66.


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Sex Work and Prostitution: Female  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated October 23, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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