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The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The industrialization of prostitution and the sex trade has created a multibillion-dollar global market, involving millions of women, that makes a substantial contribution to national and global economies.

The Industrial Vagina examines how prostitution and other aspects of the sex industry have moved from being small-scale, clandestine, and socially despised practices to b
Paperback, 245 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Routledge (first published January 1st 2000)
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Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am working on a project on human trafficking in the early modern Mediterranean, and came across this fascinating and provocative book that examines the burgeoning, contemporary sex industry from a radical feminist perspective. The author looks at trafficking, prostitution, pornography and shows the ways in which postfeminist scholars and the sex industry are redefining these in terms of women's agency and choice, rather than seeing such practices as examples of extreme violence against women. ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I muscled my way through this book, alternately daydreaming, not paying attention to what I was reading and learning new information. It is on the dry side but in moments can be quite readable and informative. I think there are better books out there that do a better job at holding one's interests while putting forth the information. If you like research and dry reading about the global economy and the trafficking of women and children then then this is the book for you. ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good book on political economy of sex trade.

This book shows how prostitution, pornography, strip club, sex tourism, trafficking and legalization of prostitution are antithetical to gender equality. It is scholarly work and has much to inform a reader, bringing inside out of the sex industry. At first, Sheila Jeffreys shows how striping, sex tourism, pornography are akin to prostitution. Some marriage practices are not very different from prostitution, as shown in the book.

The contemporary domi
Mahdi Zaidan
Very intriguing and important work on the political economy of sex trade, something that is continuously marginalized by non-feminist marxists. Her positions definitely belong to an older generation of feminists who have never done participatory work with sex workers which allows for her harsh stances on sex work. Yet the information presented in the book is invaluable.
Feb 19, 2020 marked it as stricken
[02192020] reason stricken: sheila jeffreys is a terf. ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Very dry and unsentimental. By turns bleak and pessimistic, it's not a book to read when you're looking for hope. Still, it's been a source of information and much food for thought. ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting book to get a glance of what the sex industry nowadays implies.
TERF who seems to think that women become unable to make an independent decision as soon as you offer them money. And yes, the author is correct that colonialism also meant a lot of gendered violence but to concentrate only on that and to ignore the racial violence seems pretty racist. Jeffreys is so painfully heteronormative it becomes ridiculous. She goes on and on about how prostitution is not really about "normal" sexuality, the woman is not really a woman to the client, just a warm hole, co ...more
Kaileen McGourty
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting, but slightly narrow, look at sex work and sex workers.
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dans the Industrial Vagina, Sheila Jeffreys (féministe radicale lesbienne) montre comment l'industrie de la prostitution est un business profitable pour les hommes et les états. Le sujet du livre inclut plusieurs types de prostitution : la prostitution légale ou illégale selon les pays, les clubs de strip-tease, la pornographie, le tourisme sexuel (qu'elle appelle "prostitution tourism" et non "sex tourism" car ce dernier terme implique que les relations sexuelles seraient consentis et appréciés ...more
Jesus mother of libertarian/cultural radical feminism. Sheila Jeffreys is from that crazy school of feminism that makes the rest of us look loco. I am anti-prostitution but I don't go to the extremes of arguing it on the basis of say it is a continuation of other oppressive structures like marriage - I mean really???!!-. Some cultural context please. Marriage as institution differs greatly between cultures. In some cultures it is rooted in patriarchy, in others its pretty darn equal. Anyways bas ...more
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dis book killed me
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Sheila Jeffreys writes and teaches in the areas of sexual politics, international gender politics, and lesbian and gay politics. She has written six books on the history and politics of sexuality. Originally from the UK, Sheila moved to Melbourne in 1991 to take up a position at the University of Melbourne. She has been actively involved in feminist and lesbian feminist politics, particularly arou ...more

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“Women exercise agency in order to survive the power relations and oppressive circumstances in which they find themselves. The theoretical task, Miriam argues, is for radical feminist theory to 'theorize freedom in terms of women’s collective political agency (power to): this task requires an understanding that freedom is not negotiating within a situation taken as inevitable, but rather, a capacity to radically transform and/or determine the situation itself'.” 2 likes
“There should be no necessary contradiction between recognizing the harms women suffer from male dominance as well as their courage and resourcefulness in dealing with them. Otherwise feminist critique might have to be abandoned altogether on the grounds that it is insulting to women.” 2 likes
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