Most people don’t know what any sex-industry venue looks like apart from the street or someone’s bedroom viewed through a web camera. But even people who do know how some places look – where they themselves work, or where they themselves are customers – have little idea of what other sorts of places look like. Since I am a proponent of the cultural study of commercial sex, I like to disseminate things that show lesser-known kinds of people and places, so here are some clips from a new film directed by Michael Glawogger called Whores’ Glory (which I have not seen). The venues shown – in Mexico, Bangladesh and Thailand – are neither the most horrible nor the most comfortable. Try not to fall into generalising from these to whole countries or cultures, they are just random venues chosen for whatever reasons by the director.
We men are a commodity here – we supply the money, says one client here in Thailand. Observe how both sets of people are objectified in this venue.
They pay me and I enjoy it – A Mexican woman describes why she likes working.
Love requires money– A madam explains her career in a crowded Bangladeshi venue.
I wish we could hear more background sound and I wish we could smell the air, but I am glad at least that we can see and hear something of these places. And I don’t intend to launch into any reductionist ‘analysis’ of what are just small captured moments about whose origin we know nothing: how the director found these places, what he told participants, whether he compensated them in any way. And so on.
Oh, and the photo at the beginning is meant to depict a sex club located near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn – possibly now closed.
–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist