This blog is a research aid associated with my curatorial practice MA.

Whores and ‘Other’ Women

“I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” Mary Shelley

I am interested in the representation of women and sexuality in the arts and specifically in representations of women perceived by a wider society as immoral or taboo. This may include prostitutes or ‘sex-workers’, courtesans, erotic dancers, gold-diggers or even simply sexually active and independent women. I am interested in the wide-ranging experiences and ideologies that form this concept.

More specifically in terms of my current research project, I will be looking at approaches to and issues to be considered when curating representations of prostitutes or women involved in forms of erotic labour.

Key areas for study are:

  • Historical representations of taboo women in the arts
  • Theological and mythological narratives of the Feminine
  • Feminist theories on prostitution
  • Prostitution, sexuality and obscenity laws and the decriminalization debate
  • Examining empirical research studies into prostitution
  • Psychological and psychoanalytical understanding of female sexuality and prostitution.
  • Sociological perspectives on sex work.
  • Examples of exhibitions where female sexuality, prostitution, sex work and other forms of erotic labour are represented.
  • Ethnographical qualitative research into the lived experience of prostitution from the perspective of the female sex worker.

All the ideas and sentiments expressed are part of my own work in progress and I am open to comment and criticism. It is quite possible I may change my mind about something. As Foucault remarked:

“When people say, ‘Well, you thought this a few years ago and now you say something else,’ my answer is… [laughs] ‘Well, do you think I have worked hard all those years to say the same thing and not to be changed?’


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