Info on asian prostitution
December 9, 2008 6:23 PM   Subscribe

Help me find scholarship on Asian Massage Parlors

I'm looking for information on Asian-style prostitution (Massage Parlors and apartment-brothels) in the U.S.

There's a great deal written on other forms of sex work, and a lot on human trafficking (OMG! Sex Slavery!OMG!) But very little on the day-to-day business.

I'm lookng for information on how the business works, who owns and runs the businesses , first person accounts of women who have worked in them, the social organization of the business, the people who become mamasans...this sort of thing.

Books, webpages, journal articles, first person experiences would all be welcome.
posted by TigerCrane to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly I don't really think you're going to be able to find this kind of information on the web. And I seriously doubt that visiting a massage parlor, which even in the United States has women who speak very little English, is going to get you far if you don't speak the language of the workers.
posted by aloneinvietnam at 6:48 PM on December 9, 2008

You might want to get in touch with the woman who runs happyendingz. She works in a massage parlor, & generally has a lot to say about the full service Asian massage parlors. She can probably answer your questions.
posted by lilac girl at 7:46 PM on December 9, 2008

Best answer: Do you have access to a library that subscribes to online databases such as WorldCat and JSTOR? I searched quickly on those two and found some possibly relevant stuff, including:

  • An autobiographical account called "In the Massage Parlor" by Judy Edelstein, in the collection Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry (1987). A reference I found to it elsewhere makes it sound pretty interesting:
    Describing her discomfort with having been sexually aroused by one of her customers, Edelstein ["a Jewish, lesbian feminist"] remembers thinking: "I can't believe that I just had an orgasm with that jerk. I try to forget him, to think about making love with Laura, the woman I'm with right now. But all I can see is the customer's all-American face."
  • "Massage Parlors and 'Hand Whores': Some Sociological Observations" by Clifton D. Bryant and C. Eddie Palmer, in The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Aug., 1975), pp. 227-241.
  • Professionalizing touch: gender, sexuality, the law and massage work by Marnie Dobson (2005 UC Irvine Ph.D. thesis).
  • The politics of massage parlor prostitution: the international traffic in women for prostitution into New York City, 1970-present by Patricia Klausner (1987 U of Delaware Ph.D. thesis).

    I've had success in the past e-mailing the author of a graduate thesis I wanted to read and asking for a PDF copy; you could try that for the Dobson. Hopefully it'll have a lot of references for you to follow up on. Good luck finding stuff!

  • posted by x_X at 9:20 PM on December 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

    You might find something if you do a search of dissertations, especially sociology-related fields. When I did a presentation on the occupational safety and prostitution, I found some interesting stuff on non-streetwalking sorts of situations (bars, massage places). My searches were focused on the johns, which was difficult to find much info on, but I'd imagine you'd find more where the focus is on those working.

    I took a class Dobson co-taught and from how she described her work, I thought it was about actual massage therapists (ie licensed, trained) so I'm not sure how helpful that would be.
    posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:13 AM on December 10, 2008

    « Older Please help my overactive startle reflex   |   How can I turn my money into money? Newer »
    This thread is closed to new comments.