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‘Erotic capital’ and the power of desirability: Why ‘honey money’ is a bad collective strategy for remedying gender inequality

‘Erotic capital’ and the power of desirability: Why ‘honey money’ is a bad collective strategy... In this article I conduct a close reading of Catherine Hakim’s theory concerning the relationship of sexual desirability to power and gender inequality. I suggest that Hakim’s thesis requires renewed attention not only because of the international reach of her work, but because it reflects a general cultural sentiment concerning women’s sexuality and power. I argue that her primary concept—erotic capital—is overstretched, internally inconsistent, and asociological, glossing over the structures of race, class and age that mediate women’s access to the resource. Moreover, I show the two ways that Hakim might remedy her theory, but conclude that both are indefensible. In turn, the policy implications Hakim derives from her theory of erotic capital, along with the more general cultural notion that equates sexual desirability with power, are put in high relief. I conclude by noting the existence of a productive stream of sociological theory—the sexual fields framework (Green, 2008)—that develops a concept of erotic/sexual capital which predates Hakim’s work and offers a more sociologically grounded analysis of power and desirability. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society SAGE

‘Erotic capital’ and the power of desirability: Why ‘honey money’ is a bad collective strategy for remedying gender inequality

Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society , Volume 16 (1-2): 22 – Jan 1, 2013

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References (68)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2012 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav
ISSN
1363-4607
eISSN
1461-7382
DOI
10.1177/1363460712471109
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this article I conduct a close reading of Catherine Hakim’s theory concerning the relationship of sexual desirability to power and gender inequality. I suggest that Hakim’s thesis requires renewed attention not only because of the international reach of her work, but because it reflects a general cultural sentiment concerning women’s sexuality and power. I argue that her primary concept—erotic capital—is overstretched, internally inconsistent, and asociological, glossing over the structures of race, class and age that mediate women’s access to the resource. Moreover, I show the two ways that Hakim might remedy her theory, but conclude that both are indefensible. In turn, the policy implications Hakim derives from her theory of erotic capital, along with the more general cultural notion that equates sexual desirability with power, are put in high relief. I conclude by noting the existence of a productive stream of sociological theory—the sexual fields framework (Green, 2008)—that develops a concept of erotic/sexual capital which predates Hakim’s work and offers a more sociologically grounded analysis of power and desirability.

Journal

Sexualities: Studies in Culture and SocietySAGE

Published: Jan 1, 2013

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