Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sexual Relationships

by Krystina Johnson

The popular song “No Scrubs” by TLC discusses how women only want a man with money. In the chorus of “No Scrubs” the man is talking to flirt with a woman walking down the street while he is sitting on the passenger side of the car. The man is seen as not having any money so he is not worth the effort to get the young lady’s phone number.

Here is the link to song and lyrics: No Scrubs.

This popular song shows that women do not want to date the man that is willing to take money from them. Brennan says that “men are praised for sponging off of women and for working less” although this man has the material gains he is unattractive for marriage because he is not the one buying the material gifts.

To be in a sexual relationship money is required. A man must prove that he has some money for a woman to take notice of him, “premarital sexual relations also involved money” (Bähre). Proving that women will only give sexual favors when money is involved. Some women avoid becoming sex workers but start dating so to receive money for sex, “her boyfriend should only come to her for sex and before having sex she wanted to see money. . . she explicitly stated that money had to be given in exchange for sex” (Bähre). Sex in relationships for money is not always the actual money but can be seen in other products such as sex toys, lotion, as the like. Curtis says that “romantic and sexual promise, insinuates itself into the consumer’s aspirations and sexual-subjectivity . . . consumption and desire within this ethnographic context are closely tied to sociality” (Curtis). The only difference between prostitution and dating is that the money is given freely and not because the man is required to give his girlfriend or wife his money. Traditional gender roles do require men to take care of his family so the money is required. When men does not have money or a job and are involved in a sexual relation they are “constantly afraid that their wives or girlfriends were going to leave them because they had no money” because they are not needed to take care of their family which makes them emotionally depressed and vulnerable (Bähre). The raunch culture creates emotionally strong people since the constricting gender roles and thoughts of sex are not in effect also because sex and intimacy is connected to commodities the thought of sex as a commodity is a positive thing.


By Krystina Johnson


Bähre, Erik. "Witchcraft and the Exchange of Sex, Blood, and Money among Africans in Cape
Town, South Africa." Journal of Religion in Africa 32.3 (2002): 300-334.
Brennan, Denise. "Women Work, Men Sponge, and Everyone Gossips: Macho Men and
Stigmatized/ing Women in a Sex Tourist Town." Anthropological Quarterly 77.4 (2004):
Curtis, Debra. "Commodities and Sexual Subjectivities: A Look at Capitalism and Its Desires."
Cultural Anthropology 19.1 (2004): 95-121.
Levy, Ariel. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. New York: Free
Press, 2006.
Manderson, Lenore. "Public Sex Performances in Patpong and Explorations of the Edges of
Imagination." The Journal of Sex Research 29.4 (1992): 451-475.
Winter, David G. "Power, Sex, and Violence: A Psychological Reconstruction od the 20th
Century and an Intellectual Agenda for Political Psychology." Political Psychology 21.2
(2000): 383-404.

Easy Sex

By Krystina Johnson

Lenore Manderson determines in his article “Public Sex Performances in Patong and Explorations of the Edges of Imagination,” that in the sex trade it is understood that “the objects of the ‘new consumerism’ were women” (Manderson). Since women are the commodity sex is very easily accessed but it has limitations that keep it from being completely accepted in open society.

“Brother keeping, procurement and prostitution were banned only in 1960, with the introduction of the Prohibiting Prostitution Act; the Entertainment Places Act in 1966 resulted in the flourishing of places alternative to old style brothels: “massage parlours, nightclubs, bars, coffee shops, tea houses and barber shops were erected in every major town” . . . by the 1980s, the industry had diversified further to cater to all tastes and pockets: brothels, work as prostitutes primarily because of factors that relate to gender rather than desire” (Manderson).

Laws were erected to answer the problems for prostitution so that lewdness could not be in the public eyes of political officials. The sex trade was transferred to the private so that sex and women could still be a commodity but have some form of decorum so that it could be accepted in society.

This lack of acceptance causes shame and embarrassment to be felt by the female sex workers and the men in their lives. The economy in society is declining so sex is used to earn and gain money. Denise Brennan’s article “Women Work, Men Sponge, and Everyone Gossips: Macho Men and Stigmatized/ing Women in a Sex Tourist Town,” says that the change “proliferatation of sex-tourist destinations/sexscapes throughout the developing world reflect global capital’s destabilizing effects on less industrialized countries’ economies where globalization of capital not only shapes women’s work options in the developing world, but also often forces them into dangerous and insecure work” (Brennan) This dangerous work includes working as a sex worker and working long and irregular hours that causes people to believe an extramarital relationship is occurring. Any extramarital activities are the main topic of gossip of neighbors and coworkers causing the women to be both shamed and embarrassed about their way of earning money, “as sex workers compete with one another for clients, especially sober, clean, and generous customers, the atmosphere in the bars and boarding houses is ripe for gossip and back-biting” (Brennan). The gossip proves that the traditional roles of women and the traditional ideals of sex are still in place making prostitution, life as a sex worker, and even working outside of the home much harder for these women.

For some working the sex tourist spots is a stepping stone for marriage to a foreigner. This plan to marry a foreigner shows that beside the shame and embarrassment lies an agency to retain a visa and leave the poor country.

“Sosúa’s sex workers use the sex tourist trade as an advancement strategy, not just as a survival strategy. This strategy hinges on their performance of “love” as they try to marry their European clients-turned-suitors and migrate to these men’s home countries. Their earning power, retention of earnings, and the migration strategies they weave into the sex trade, are examples of how women struggle to take advantage of foreign men who are in Sosúa to take advantage of them” (Brennan).

This agency allows the women to take control of their lives by using their most valuable asset, sex, as a commodity to sell until they can figure out a way out of sex trading and away from the gossip. Plus these women are intelligent enough to have a plan to make a way from the abuse of the gossip and men in the poor country.
This gossip from neighbors and coworkers leads the men of sex workers and women that work outside of the home to abusing the women while stealing the money earned from these taboo jobs. Erik Bähre argues in his article, “The Exchange of Sex, Blood, and Money among Africans in Cape Town,” that due to women in the work force men are treated as though they are children, “money was transferred from the wife to the husband, among other ways through theft, and the man’s status as husband and father regressed to that of an irresponsible child” (Bähre). Losing his traditional place in the household the man is devolved to childhood since the woman is paying for him. Another uncomfortable position that men are placed in due to the sexual commodity is the thought that their wives or girlfriends are unfaithful which is fueled through gossip, Zuko was hearing from his sister that his working wife Nomahobe was seen with someone else so “as a ‘proper man’, he had to make the accusation” this is when sex becomes a dangerous commodity (Bähre).

Sex as a commodity is dangerous since men believe that powerful and violence is sexy. Men in history are to conquer women since women and their sexuality are their propery once these women are conquered. According to David G. Winter in the article “Power, Sex, and Violence: A Psychological Reconstruction of the 20th Century and an Intellectual Agenda for Political Psychology,” men have a higher status than women because “the presence for sex-exclusive ‘men’s houses,’ marriage by capture, restrictions on women’s sexuality after marriage, and property rights in women” (Winter). This enforcement of traditional gender roles in marriage shows that not challenging the gender roles is dangerous since the men in gender roles are very violent. This violence is shown in courtship.

“Rank also gave examples of the reverse symbolic connection, in which the ‘courting’ (or sexual conquest) of a woman is represented as the siege or seizure of a city. In Italian novellas collected by Giovanni Sercambi, for example, men and women having sex call it playing “the Sultan entering Babylon” or “storming Constantinople”. The connotation is also apparemt in our everyday representation of proposals of love with metaphors of ‘assault’ and ‘capitulation.’ Rank analyzed these symbolic connections in terms of a fusion of the libidinal and mastery instincts (in contemporary terms, a linkage of sex and violent power).” (Winter) The instinct to be the “conqueror” is threatened once the woman is doing the financial conquering and controlling.

Exchanging Sex for Monetary Gain

By Krystina Johnson

Women will only have sex for money. Meaningless sex happens for women when money is not involved. With the new involvement of using sex for marketing, women become disappointed when commodities are lacking in any sexual act. Woman have been told that “good” girls do not have sex and if they do have sex then they do not enjoy it so this change in the way sex is viewed is problematic for traditional gender roles this causes the gender roles to be seen as confining and outdated. The outcry for sexual freedom causes the conservative culture to battle with the raunchy culture. Since “sex sells” is there a moment when sexual appeal does not work for the commodity? Has sex lost its emotional appeal due to the transition to the raunch culture? Is it dangerous to challenge the gender roles through sex? Sex will only have emotional attachment if it is connected to monetary gain, making sexual acts comfortable and used for the advancement of wealth, although sexual innuendos aids marketing there are moments when the product is not recognized due to an overabundance of sex.

Emotional attachment comes in several forms of desire, shame, addiction, embarrassment and calculated moves for advancement. The disgust appears to come from the society deeming any sexual acts as “bad” and “gross.” Debra Curtis says in her article, “Commodities and Sexual Subjectivities: A Look at Capitalism and Its Desire,” that often “a part of sales pitch” for sex toys or any other commodity, capitalism uses sexual innuendoes (Curtis). Majority of commercials that are selling anything to the public uses the powerful marketing tool of sex appeal. One current commercial that uses a big amount of sex appeal is the Reebok EasyTone gym shoes. In this commercial the camera is so focused on the woman’s body describing how her body became toned from wearing the shoes, but the model is lounging in a chase wearing nothing more than her underwear and the Reebok EasyTone gym shoes.

Here is the link for the commercial: Reebok EasyTone gym shoes

This commercial uses so much sexual innuendoes to increase the worth of the Reebok EasyTone gym shoes that viewers cannot help but desire those gym shoes to increase their own sex appeal, “desire is produced through the sexualization of commodities, tapping into the consumer’s fancies, appetites, and needs” (Curtis). The popular society shows that to be considered sexy, women must be thin and toned because of this vantage point of sexy and desirable work out clothing and exercise technology are sexualized to answer the need for sex appeal.
Normally marketing executives know when sex appeal can be used to sell items and when sex appeal has no place in the commercial. The worst use of sexual innuendo was used by Boost Mobile to sell one of their unlimited calling plans during the Christmas season. In this commercial Mrs. Clause is shown having an affair with a snowman while Santa is out delivering toys.

Here is the link for the commercial: Naughty Mrs. Clause

This sexy commercial although using satire and humor fails at selling any plans due to making several beloved childhood characters racy. According to Curtis, Boost Mobile is attempting to “establish an emotional bond between not only the product and the consumer but, more importantly, between themselves and the consumer” by placing a new twist on a childhood memory but is highly unsuccessful in doing so (Curtis). Once this bond is formed between the consumer and marketer, the consumer will “feel” comfortable buying the product in the present and possibly in the future regardless of the product’s sexual implications. Proving further that sex still has an emotional attachment that can be transferred to commodities.