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Lecture 2

HIST 3010 Lecture 2: Notes 04.11.17

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HIST 3010

WEEK 13 THE EXPLOITATION PROBLEM TUES 4/11 HAUSBECK AND BRENTS, “INSIDE NEVADA’S BROTHEL INDUSTRY,” IN SEX FOR SALE SEX WORK: WRITING BY WOMEN IN THE SEX INDUSTRY HAUSBECK AND BRENTS, “INSIDE NEVADA’S BROTHEL INDUSTRY,” IN SEX FOR SALE • West now has bifuricated sensibility of historical legacy of libertarian ideals, frontier individualism, mining, agriculture, and ranching which coexist with cosmopolitan New West • Questions: why does legal brothel prostitution persist in Nevada and how long will it continue to exist with the changes from Old West to New West? • Examine: o The contemporary structure of Nevada brothel industry o The relationship between brothels and government o Brothel owners’ relations to one another o The relation of brothel industry to larger postindustrial service economy in Nevada • THE OLD WEST, THE NEW WEST, AND THE BROTHEL INDUSTRY o Three dimensions that explain existence of brothels: ▪ Migrant economy ▪ Particular set of sexual values and politics ▪ “cowboy” libertarian, antiurban, antifederal culture o Economics of gold and silver mining made it unstable to have a family and prostitution thrived o Patriarchal gender roles reflected and reinforced idea that man of the Old West had biological needs that needed to be frequently tended to o Sexual culture: ▪ Sale of sex is one of world’s oldest trades ▪ Government-regulated prostitution allows regulation and limitations on what is sold ▪ Prostitution generates revenue ▪ Legal prostitution provides services to men that cannot be easily fulfilled otherwise ▪ Limiting such activities to licensed brothels curtail criminal activity o Seen that women are sexual objects, and some will depart from norm to “whore” and that there are always men who will buy sex o Soon brothel districts were developed to keep brothels away from homes and families o Government interference closed brothels down and started making prostitution illegal in some areas o Soon brothels remained in rural areas but depended on tourism and gaming industry • STRUCTURE OF THE BROTHEL INDUSTRY o There are only 35 licensed brothels in Nevada left...they bring in $40 million a year o The county is the licensing and regulating body o Economies are far more dependent than urban areas on mining’s boom and bust to support migrant economy o Brothels made to look like Old West to please tourists and men who pass by o Most labor for brothels come from women outside of town and outside of Nevada o The Nevada Brothel Association sees availability of work as strippers and escorts in Reno and Las Vegas as greatest challenge to finding and retaining brothel prostitutes o Migrant economy and isolation of small-town brothels means that they are, in many ways, part of the Old West, but changing metropolitan sensibilities are transforming the business and customers as well as availability of prostitutes • BROTHELS AND THE STATE o Local governments have quite a good amount of independence in regulating brothels o Stringent health testing on working women that requires them to have a health card to work o Condom-use mandated by the state o Legal brothels pay various taxes and fees o Some places allow existing brothels to be legal but won’t allow any new ones o Some places prohibit male owners because they could be getting free sex or would be pimping o Informal rules in brothels reproduce heterosexual norms o Women wouldn’t purchase sex since they can get it free in any bar o Many owners felt that local government would not tolerate sale of homosexual services o Laws used to be imposed on working women ▪ They could go to the movies but not a bar, and not with a male escort ▪ Sex worker’s car must be registered with police ▪ Her family cannot live in the community o Restricted mobility of working women, even on their weeks off to keep them isolated and away from rest of community • THE NEVADA BROTHEL ASSOCIATION o Nevada Brothel Association (NBA) formed in 1984 and lobbies for owners’ collective interests and to educate policy makers o The brothel owners who are members of the NBA often don’t meet because they are geographically isolated o Statements of Flint makes it seem more unified than it is o Mostly works to maintain brothels’ legal status and prevent their demise o Reluctance to fight for more favorable legislation because they can already profit so much with the restrictions they have now and don’t want to lose it all to a controversy if they fight for rights o “traditionalist” are old-timers that see brothels as continuing unique business enterprise a
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