Ambiguous Paradise ? the filmic representation of female sex tourism and the limits of a globalization-critical perspective
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
10th European Feminist Research Conference
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In recent years, the figure of the female sex tourist has gained increased attention and visibility in cultural texts. Movies like Paradise:Love and Heading South can be seen as paradigmatic in this context. In this paper we examine these films (with a particular focus on Ulrich Seidl?s Paradise:Love) and discuss how the female sex tourist is, on the one hand, used to complicate global power dynamics and, on the other hand, shown as a woman in despair.
In contrast to her male counterpart who would be overdetermined as a (post)colonial exploiter, the figure of the female sex tourist leaves room for ambiguity. Because financial transactions between female sex tourists and their ?lovers? are more subtle than in male sex tourism, the movies exhibit the ?nature? of these relations by emphasizing differences between the sexual partners with regard to markers such as race, class, age and fatness ? thus indicating that these relations clearly lie outside the ?charmed circle? of sex. However, while global power hierarchies are indicated through exhibiting the financial advantage of the female sex tourist, the films use the figure of the female sex tourist to complicate global power dynamics. Despite the economically privileged position, the female sex tourist is shown as constantly failing and in despair. Thereby the films forgo the gender subversive potential inherent in the figure, possibly to illustrate that in contemporary social and economic structures everybody is (equally?) vulnerable.