A longstanding debate within feminism has been whether sex work is empowering or ultimately disempowering for those who engage in it. This essay seeks to contextualize discourses about seduction, prostitution, and sexual tourism as they relate to Brazil and to make a preliminary assessment as to the ways in which the act of seduction might be empowering for Brazil’s sex workers. Based on ethnographic research and borrowing from literary theory, tourism theory, and interdisciplinary theories of power and agency, I argue that seduction has the potential to be empowering for Brazilian prostitutes who can capitalize on the racial and ethnic stereotypes of Brazilian women. Nevertheless, I maintain that although seduction may be empowering for those who utilize it, it cannot hope to be emancipatory for womankind. I also make a secondary argument that this debate can be interpreted as a conceptual dichotomy of prostitutes as seductresses and prostitutes as fatally seduced.
"Seduction as Power? Searching for Empowerment and Emancipation in Sex Work,"
Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's & Gender Studies: Vol. 20:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cortland.edu/wagadu/vol20/iss1/3