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A fair trade?: Staging female sex tourism in 'Sugar Mummies' and 'Trade'

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2008
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Journal number2
Volume18
Number of pages13
Pages180-192
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article offers an examination of the subject of female sex tourism on the British stage, as dramatised in two recent sex-tourism plays: Trade (2004-05) by new black British dramatist debbie tucker green and Sugar Mummies (2006) by Asian British playwright Tanika Gupta. tucker green's Trade and Gupta's Sugar Mummies each take a Caribbean setting to look at the recent wave of female sex tourism. Both plays examine the ways in which women who come from different class backgrounds, ethnicities, and age groups, but all of whom are economically privileged relative to the countries in which they holiday, play out that privilege in the sex trade with young black boys. Two feminist concerns are core to a discussion of these plays: firstly, consideration of the ways in which sex tourism points back to some unresolved, highly contentious issues for Western feminism concerning women's sexual pleasure, and, secondly, how the international mobility of the female sex tourist necessarily situates any such re-consideration of sexual pleasure within a transnational framework, which in turn has important implications for (re)-thinking liberal white Western feminism in immediate and future contexts. In brief, the article argues that taken together, these two plays interrogate female sex tourism as a 'fair trade'; invite a feminist reconsideration of the feminine and women's sexual pleasure, at the same time as they signal the need for a feminism to be at work nationally and internationally.