Displaying Your Best Assets: The Presentation of (Sexual) Self in Male Sex Work

Leigh Fine, Ohio State University
Brian Soller, Ohio State University

In this paper we combine performative, relational, field, exchange and intersectional theories in a unified framework to analyze the physical presentation that sex workers present to potential clients. We analyze the presentations of male sex workers, allowing us to make novel contributions to empirical analysis of gender, masculinity, and sexuality. Drawing on a number of theoretical approaches we explore the degree to which dominant social narratives related to masculinity, gay male sexuality, and race affect the presentation of self of male sex workers’ online advertisements. Using a novel data source that compiles content analyses with detailed measures of the pictures that accompany their advertisements, we find that escorts actively cultivate a presentation of self that closely adheres to racial and gender stereotypes. Our findings illustrate social forces impact the crafting of the presentation of self and how the body becomes the personification of social stereotypes of race and sexuality.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 9