Reluctant Bedfellows: Feminism, Activism and Prostitution in the Philippines

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Kumarian Press, 2009 - Political Science - 229 pages
This book outlines key facets of the authors’ five year development project on sex tourism and prostitution in the Philippines, and is a powerful reflection on the raging debates taking place among feminists about the Third World. Ralston and Keeble follow the history of prostitution in former military outpost Angeles City, the women and foreign men who live by the trade and the varied organizations attempting to deal with prostitution. Making a strong call for action, the authors encounter resistance and anger from Western feminists who claim any action by Westerners in developing countries is necessarily neo-colonial and ethnocentric.

Academic feminist theorizing and identity politics, the two argue, has reached the level of analysis paralysis where women and women’s groups do not act for fear of being pejoratively labeled. This has many negative consequences for rights-seeking groups, as Ralston and Keeble experience firsthand in working to bring Angeles City and Canadian women’s organizations together. Both an eye-opening picture of the workings of a community seeped in sex tourism and a sharp review of current feminist theorizing, Reluctant Bedfellows offers much-needed perspective on ways to bring disputing parties together and actually promote change.

To see the companion DVD, Hope in Heaven, click here.

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About the author (2009)

Meredith Ralston is Professor in the Departments of Womenrsquo;s Studies and Political Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has been in the areas of women and politics, and homeless women and prostitution in Canada. She is the author of Nobody Wants to Hear our Truth: Homeless Women and Theories of the New Right. She is also an award-winning filmmaker, and her latest film, Hope in Heaven (about sex tourism in the Philippines) is narrated by Kiefer Sutherland and has just been broadcast to great acclaim on CBC in Canada. She also wrote and directed two documentaries with the National Film Board of Canada on women in politics.

Edna Keeble is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Saint Maryrsquo;s University, in Halifax. Her work has centered on issues of security, particular from a feminist perspective, and through the years she has sat on national boards advising the Canadian government on foreign policy, national security and Canada-US border matters. She has won three significant teaching awards and has been selected as the University's 2008-09 Teaching Scholar.

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