The Industrial Vagina

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade
The Industrial Vagina.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Sheila Jeffreys
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Prostitution
Publisher Routledge
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback and paperback)
Pages 244
ISBN 978-0-415-41232-2 (hardback)
978-0-415-41233-9 (paperback)
978-0-203-69830-3 (ebook)

The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade is a 2008 book about prostitution and the sex industry by lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys. It received positive reviews, praising Jeffreys for covering many different aspects of the sex industry.


Jeffreys discusses prostitution and the sex industry. She argues that women involved in prostitution rarely profit from it, despite a popular view to the contrary. She describes marriage as a kind of prostitution.[1]

Regarding the legal status of prostitution, Jeffreys examines many countries' legalization of the sex trade, and argues that this legitimization means states are acting as pimps.[citation needed]


The Industrial Vagina received positive reviews from the feminist Julie Bindel in The Guardian,[1] Sarah Nelson in Women's Studies,[2] A. K. in The Contemporary Review,[3] and Mindy A. Menn in the Journal of Sex Research.[4] The book was also reviewed by Natalie Purcell in Feminism & Psychology,[5] Vidyamali Samarasinghe in Gender & Society,[6] and Nicola J. Smith in the Review of International Political Economy,[7] and discussed by Kate Holden in Meanjin.[8]

Bindel wrote that, "The strength of Jeffreys' new work lies in just how many aspects of the sex industry she covers, and her understanding of their intersections".[1] Nelson credited Jeffreys with demonstrating "the ways in which governments eager for revenue have decriminalized the sex trade" and concluded that her "provocative book ... should be devoured by any with an interest in gender, feminism, globalization, economy, sociology, cultural studies, and history."[2] A. K. called the book "timely, shocking, and, sadly, necessary".[3] Menn credited Jeffreys with discussing "the intricately intertwined facets of the global sex industry" more broadly than any other author, with "focusing on a broad spectrum of issues and incorporating empirical data from around the globe on each aspect of the industry", and with meticulously documenting the subject. She also praised Jeffreys's "unapologetic, radical feminist writing style".[4]



  1. ^ a b c Bindel 2008.
  2. ^ a b Nelson 2009, p. 498.
  3. ^ a b K. 2009, p. 403.
  4. ^ a b Menn 2010, pp. 401–403.
  5. ^ Purcell 2010, pp. 558–562.
  6. ^ Samarasinghe 2011, pp. 671–674.
  7. ^ Smith 2011, pp. 530–549.
  8. ^ Holden 2011, pp. 46–54.


  • Holden, Kate (2011). "Sex work and feminism". Meanjin. 70 (2).  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  • K., A. (2011). "The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade". The Contemporary Review. 291 (1694).  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  • Menn, Mindy (2010). "One Man's Pleasure is Another Woman's Abuse: Analyzing the Global Sex Industry from a Feminist Perspective". Journal of Sex Research. 47 (4). doi:10.1080/00224490903200114.  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  • Nelson, Sarah (2011). "In Brief". Women's Studies. 38 (4).  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  • Purcell, Natalie (2010). "ISBN". Feminism & Psychology. 20 (4). templatestyles stripmarker in |title= at position 148 (help)  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  • Samarasinghe, Vidyamali (2011). "Book Review: Economies of Desire: Sex and Tourism in Cuba and the Dominican Republic and The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade". Gender & Society. 25 (5).  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  • Smith, Nicola J. (2011). "The international political economy of commercial sex". Review of International Political Economy. 18 (4).  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
Online articles