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As Normal as PossibleNegotiating Sexuality and Gender in Mainland China and Hong Kong$
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Ching Yau

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099876

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099876.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Outcast Bodies: Money, Sex and Desire of Money Boys in Mainland China1

Outcast Bodies: Money, Sex and Desire of Money Boys in Mainland China1

(p.17) 1 Outcast Bodies: Money, Sex and Desire of Money Boys in Mainland China1
As Normal as Possible

Travis S.K. Kong

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter concentrates on the male sex workers in Beijing and Shanghai. There are forty-five in-depth interviews of money boys mainly coming from rural or semi-rural areas to big cities in China. Contrary to the overtly one-sided and dominant representation of male sex workers as depressed, depraved, dissolute and violent sociopaths in popular Chinese culture and media representations, it is found that the option of sex work has offered new possibilities for survival, livelihood, and self-development for young migrants in a class-stratified society confronted with massive tensions between rural and urban developments. In the discussion of male prostitution, one view is that it is a survival strategy enforced by poverty, homelessness, and powerlessness — a form of slavery arising from economic, social, and cultural deprivation. The other view is that prostitution is a “rational” choice for men who are constrained by their marginalized positions in a highly class-stratified social structure. Male prostitution is a contested but negotiated arena of power, and the identity of the male sex worker involves a strategic self that constantly negotiates risks and dangers, excitements and gains, in the process of sexual transaction.

Keywords:   male sex workers, money boys, Beijing, Shanghai, sex work, male prostitution, sexual transaction

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