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Description - Producing the Acceptable Sex Worker: An Analysis of Media Representations by Gwyn Easterbrook-Smith

Producing the Acceptable Sex Worker considers how sex work is produced in news media narratives, a site where much of the general public draw their understanding of the industry in the absence of lived interaction with it. Taking New Zealand as a case study, the book considers an emerging discourse of acceptability for some sex workers, primarily those who do low-volume indoor work. Their acceptability is established in comparison with other kinds of sex workers, resulting in a redistribution but not a reduction of stigma. The conditions attached to acceptability reflect persistent anxieties about prostitution: workers who are acceptable must give the impression that the sexual labour of the job is enjoyable and virtually indistinguishable from their personal life, eliding the work involved. Unacceptable workers have existing marginalisations magnified by their association with the industry, with migrant sex workers produced as devious or exploited, and transgender women's involvement with the industry used to deny them the right to public space. The conditions attached to acceptability reveal how neoliberal postfeminist discourses of choice, desire, authenticity, and personal responsibility inform the formation of sex work in the public eye.

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