‘Putting femininity to work’: Negotiating hypersexuality and respectability in sex tourism, Brazil

Marie-Eve Carrier-Moisan
  • Sexualities, February 2015, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1363460714550902

Practices of feminine distinction in sex tourism in Brazil

What is it about?

This article engages with femininity as a resources that women capitalized on in the context of sex tourism in Brazil. It is based on ethnographic research conducted in the city of Natal, Northeast Brazil. It focuses on the tensions generated by sex tourism for practices of racialized feminine distinction, as women sought to produce themselves as desirable feminine subjects at once hypersexual and respectable.

Why is it important?

This piece points to femininity as a form of embodied cultural capital in sex tourism, and the ways women integrated foreign men in their process of feminine self-making. As such it expands on existing scholarly work on practices of distinction in sex-based economies by considering competing forms of value in transnational sex tourist spaces, where blackness is both devalued and desirable. It expands on existing scholarly literatures that examine the ways in which racialized women make strategic uses of their hypersexualized bodies in the global sex industry, considering the negotiations between respectable and hypersexual femininity in sex tourism, as women sought to make themselves marriageable.


Marie-Eve Carrier-Moisan
Carleton University

I hope this article makes people about the ways in which the women I write about sought to produce themselves as respectable subjects of global mobility. This was done through practices of feminine distinction that are deeply contingent upon their desire for mobility, marriage, and migration in response to the exclusions they faced in their own society.

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