Putting Hypersexuality to Work: Black Women and Illicit Eroticism in Pornography

Event Details

November 18, 2013
4:00 pm-6:00 pm

Campus Center

Room: 803

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

Black women’s representations and experiences as sex workers in the pornography industry are shaped by a racialized and gendered sexual commerce where stereotypes, structural inequalities, and social biases are the norm. Black women are devalued as hyperaccessible and superdisposable in an industry that simultaneously invests in and ghettoizes fantasies about black sexuality. In light of feminist arguments against the victimization of women by pornography, Miller-Young contends that black sex workers, while facing multiple axes of discrimination and harm, also employ hypersexuality and deviance to achieve self-care and self-authorship. In the context of hegemonic capitalism that exploits all labor and social relations in society, black women’s illicit erotic labor represents one strategy for survival. In choosing pornographic sex work as a path to mobility and erotic autonomy, this presentation explores the increasing significance of the sexual economy as a site of work, identity formation, and political expression for women of color in the 21st century.