Sexual Politics from Barnard to Las Vegas

Document Type



The Barnard Conference was as much about the struggle to create a feminist identity as it was about scholarly inquiry. As such, the conflicts that emerged became at once very personal and very political. Living in Las

Vegas and doing research on its sex industry over the past twenty years has brought these political struggles home to me in some very personal ways. In this essay I argue that the us vs. them divide that has opened especially around sexual commerce was then and is now tangled in and fueled by political battles far removed from feminism. While not being naïve about how hard this is, we have to start disentangling political battles from scholarship. Those of us interested in good research from both sides must start talking to each other.


Dialogue; Feminism; Feminists; Feminist theory; Learning and scholarship; Prostitution; Research; Sex-oriented businesses; Women's studies


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Politics and Social Change | Sociology | Women's Studies


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