Individual Submission Summary

Direct link:

Wanted Bodies and Unwanted Bodies: Logic and Power in the Process of Selecting Female Sex Workers in Tokyo

Sun, June 26, 5:00 to 6:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: BF, 011


In Japan, sex work is no longer solely considered the occupation of people in extreme poverty; rather, it is now being considered by a large number of people, particularly women in cities. Therefore, studying sex workers can lead to a broader analysis of women in contemporary Japan. Many women are entering the industry, and those who are rejected after job interviews feel they have no alternative but to seek employment at lower-level establishments. Based on the findings of a long-term study at an S&M club in Tokyo, this presentation analyzes how women are rejected based on the context of one-on-one interviews. This focus on the factor of rejection is one way to understand sex workers, because the comparison between those who were rejected and those who were accepted will clarify traits (both common and disparate) among the two groups of women. By examining cases of rejection, the ways in which power and mechanisms of inclusion/exclusion work in the sex industry will be clarified. Because the major reasons for rejection are associated with body issues, several case studies and questions related to body selection by club owners and managers will be discussed (e.g., what they see in women’s bodies and what logic is applied in decision-making). Then, broader issues that include these working women are analyzed to determine whether sex workers are allowed to have a variety of body types or if are they cast based on conformity to a single type.