This week’s readings basically focus on the idea of sex tourism and the contradictions that exists in relation to this form of prostitution. It’s interesting that Taylor begins the article by talking about tourism in general, and then later starts mentioning the different activities that partake in that such as “prostitution and other forms of tourists-local sexual-economic exchange” (43). She makes sure to inform the readers that this form of tourism aids the Caribbean’s “crippling economic problems and poverty, repay international debts, and improve rates of unemployment” (43). But also, that it’s not just local women who are entering into this “informal tourist sex industry.” Men are usually the ones who provide sexual services for tourist women. So as we can see, prostitution is not always a woman thing. Men partake in the activity at times. In this article, women don’t necessarily think that their actions reflect those of a prostitute. The contradictions are furthered explained as one reads about the double-standard that exists in relation to all of this.
It’s also interesting to read about the double-standard that is applied to male and female tourists’ sexual behavior. Males are often described as “sex tourists” but women are described as the ones who engage in “romance tourism” (43). Why is that the case? It has to do with the parallels between male and female sex tourism that are widely overlooked. We perceive sex tourism differently when comparing the two genders. Male sex tourism embraces “brief, explicit cash-for-sex exchanges” while women’s sex tourism trades romance for “economic support and other benefits” (44). Gender plays out differently when talking about sex tourism.
I was appalled by how women handled the situation of sex tourism when they, themselves, were the “sex tourists”. They obviously denied the fact that they were being involved in prostitution-like acts. Sleeping around with local men for something in exchange was seen differently by them. They didn’t think they were victimizing men, when really, they were. Taylor points out that women thought there was nothing “problematic” about these sorts of acts.
Fantasy Islands, explores male sex tourism, especially the desire White Western men have for the “Others.” These men desire someone different from their own due to the racial fantasies they produce when regarding the sexuality of the women that are “socially formed perceptions regarding the sexual and moral purity of white women” (454).
It’s crazy to see how sex tourism is inextricably linked to discourses that naturalize and celebrate inequalities structured along lines of class, gender, and race or Otherness. But the most important aspect of it all is the power that transpires from these fantasies and sexual activities.
These readings definitely opened my eyes to new ideas regarding sex tourism. I was never aware of such things or that they revolved around prostitution acts, even when some people might deny that aspect, and perceive it as something totally different.