Added: Holt Lesher - Date: 09.09.2021 17:55 - Views: 43680 - Clicks: 8006
I guarantee at least half of you are picturing a bustling nightlife: cheap drinks, neon lights, flamboyant performances, and women in minimal clothing — sometimes with stickers plastered across their chests. Thailand possesses the reputation of a country with a thriving, unconfined landscape of sexual exploration, especially in the West. As the only Southeast Asian country not colonized, Thailand has historically always been a place people just passed through. The history of the industry can be traced back to the Vietnam War, where entertainment businesses in Bangkok profited off the continuous arrivals of American military personnel, resulting in the creation of Rest and Recreation centers.
When the war ended, Thailand reworked its economy to be based on tourism, following advice from the World Bank. Thus, this system of sexual pleasure, powered by the erotic Bangkok sex tourism a militarized context, was reworked to fit the needs of the average white hetero-male who would experience the erotic in a blissful space of tropical exploration instead. The Thai economy became reliant upon the constant arrivals and departures of the temporary white male tourist, and has been ever since. A sex tourist walks into a bar. He drinks, he dances, he receives the sexual attention he has come to expect and been conditioned to desire.
Sound like the beginning of a bad joke? I wish it were. In Western popular Bangkok sex tourism, Bangkok is continuously equated with prostitution and sexual adventures. Such representations within Western media only reinforce internalizations that Thailand is a place where one, especially the hetero-male, can embark on a quest of erotic discovery with no consequences.
The lived experiences of sex workers are unfortunately very different, ruled by impoverishment, exploitation, and a lack of protection from state authorities. What brings a majority of Thai girls to the industry is a mixture of interlinked factors: poverty, familial cultural expectations, and a need for a stable income. Traditionally, the figure of the Thai daughter is that of a self-sacrificing female, whose income is used to care for, and uphold, domestic and family stability Muecke, Families will often persuade their daughters to migrate to urbanized areas such as Bangkok to work as sex workers, where income is higher than average minimum-wage occupations such as waitressing.
Thai sex workers working in areas such as Patpong, Nana, and Asok are usually from a lower socio-economic background, with families residing in the Northeast provinces — a region adversely affected by poverty and poor government policies toward agriculture. Sex workers fundamentally carry two economic systems on their shoulders : the rural Thai family and the very nation these families inhabit.
Just as the tourist rests in a liminal space between host country and home, the sex industry also resides in a space between legal and illegal. Sex workers do not receive protection from state infrastructures, nor the authorities that are meant to uphold the law. Prostitution is illegal under national law, but authorities are often complicit in the operations of local sex establishments. The passage of the Entertainment Act of effectively legitimized the sex trade.
Businesses such as karaoke bars, bath and tea houses, massage parlours, and other such venues were deemed legal by the Royal Thai Government, despite common knowledge that these establishments are infamous for employing, and providing, commercial sex services. The passing of this law also means that owners of sex establishments Bangkok sex tourism as entertainment ones are not vulnerable to arrests, though sex workers working within such establishments are. The sex industry is not immune to the plague of Thai corruption, which infects all areas of socio-economic life.
What is more, a common tactic used in domestic tourism adverts is language that actively emphasizes these exotic sexual escapades can happen nowhere else except for Thailand. It seems it is not just Western financial institutions who are complicit in a process of exploitation, but also the Thai state and the people who promote it, drawing tourists into an exotic land based on imaginary fantasies that have not just been historically constructed, but also widely distributed throughout popular culture and consumed on a global scale.
What you want to see, it seems, becomes exactly what you get. Sex workers have come to be conceptualized by the West as exotic and erotic beings, further enabling an industry that thrives on the systematic reinforcement of unequal power relations between the foreign white male and the Thai woman. How sex in Thailand has come to be represented, and the international and domestic systems of inequity that have formed because of those representations, highlights the racialized and orientalist interactions that are still influencing the sex industry today.
For a lot of these women however, the current quick fix is not empowerment, but escape. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where sex workers can be, or feel, empowered when faced with a sexual system beyond their control, one that is still reducing them to exoticised bodies where profits can be derived.
Angana Narula is a Bangkok-ian living in London. Currently, she works as co-founder of the jfa human rights journalediting op-ed and photography submissions. If you wish to submit a post to Engenderings, you can at gender. Have a look at our notes for contributors ! Bad Behavior has blocked access attempts in the last 7 days. Twitter Twitter. What you want to see is what you get: realities, representations, and reputations of sex tourism in Bangkok.
What you want to see is what you get: realities, representations, and reputations of sex tourism in Bangkok by Angana Narula Each year students on the LSE Gender MSc course Sexuality, Gender and Globalisation present independent research papers at an all-day student conference. If I ask you to picture Thailand, what do you see? October 24th, FeaturedSociety 0 Comments. post Next post. Leave A Comment. Search Engenderings. See all of our blog posts. Engenderings on Twitter. Abortion academia activism anti-gender anti-gender politics Brazil conflict Covid development discourse empowerment European Union feminism feminist research gender gendered violence gender equality gender ideology Gender Studies heteronormativity Higher Education Human Rights India intersectionality law LGBT LGBTQI masculinity media migration policy political change Politics popular culture rape religion Representation sexuality sexual violence violence violence against women women women's Bangkok sex tourism women and employment women and politics.
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Prostitution in Thailand