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Grupo de Trabalho 5 Gender, Race and Sex: Exoticism in the Caribbean. Such investigations suggest that there is no straightforward correlation between economic conditions and prostitution, or patriarchy and prostitution - that, quite simply, not all poor women are likely to end up in the sex trade.
Rather, it is argued, entrance into prostitution or other forms of sex work, and the conditions in which this work takes place, vary according to local, regional, and international relations of power along gendered, economic, national, and ethnic divides. However, unlike the older patterns where the sexuality of mixed race women was of primary importance, I show here that at the dawn of the twenty-first century the Caribbean is witnessing an exoticism that hinges upon complex arrangements of domination and exploitation of a variety of female as well as male racialized sexualities.
Eighteenth and nineteenth century exoticism has been defined as an approach to the non-western world and is associated with the legitimation for European conquest, control and domination, as well as for escapist fantasies and vicarious enjoyment of sex and violence by European literary intellectuals and artists. In a contemporary reflection on this particular period in Europe, Rousseau and Porter write: Other cultures, other creeds, were not merely different, not even merely lower, but positively - even objectively - strange.
It was not merely the remoteness of geographical distance in a world where miles counted for much, but the ineluctable sense that all their mental processes and logical deductions were equally as alien. Exoticism valorized peoples and cultures that were different and remote concomitantly imposing a status of inferiority upon them. The eroticization of women of these different cultures was a integral part of this movement, whereby their sexuality was defined as highly attractive and fascinating, yet related to the natural primitiveness and lower order of the other cultural group.
Womanhood among the colonized thus represented uninhibited, unbridled sensuality and sexual pleasure for the colonizer. Oriental female sexuality represented temptation, eroticism, pleasure and danger: Exoticism in its various expressions brought legitimacy to western rule and is distinguished from other racisms in that it fostered the illusion of admiration for, and attraction to, the Other while enacting murder, rape, violence and enslavement.