“This is what is sold to tourists by tourism companies — a kind of return to a colonial past, where white women are served, serviced, and pampered by black minions,” said Nottinghan University’s Davidson.
And where black men are accessories for consumption, kind of like the beaded African necklaces the women take back home.
At one club, a group of about 25 dancing men — most of them Joseph look-alikes — edge closer and closer to a crowd of more than a dozen white women, all in their autumn years.
“It’s not love, obviously. I didn’t come here looking for a husband,” Bethan said over a pounding beat from the speakers.
“It’s a social arrangement. I buy him a nice shirt and we go out for dinner. For as long as he stays with me he doesn’t pay for anything, and I get what I want — a good time. How is that different from a man buying a young girl dinner?”
I’m not going to even touch that first paragraph, I just wanted to point it out and ask: Did he really say what I think he said?
As for the rest of it, does anyone really doubt that it’s an exploitative relationship when an older man in a position of extreme social power, by virtue of his wealth and his race, purchases sexual favors from a young girl who is relatively powerless? I certainly can’t fault the young women and men who accept the offers of food, money and a good time in exchange for sex; I’m certain that there are a number of them who make that choice consensually and uncoercedly.* But this just seems a little too much like a white person’s exotic jungle fantasy for me to shrug it off as acceptable, just so long as everyone consents.
When men pay women for sex, it violates our notions of female sexual propriety and a whole lot of people fly off the handle — not at the men, of course, because they’re men and they’re expected to want sex all the time, but at the wicked, tempting whores who enable and encourage them. When women pay for sex, it’s cute — even when they’re buying it in a context fraught with imbalanced power dynamics and an ugly racist history (not to mention an ugly racist present). It’s cute partly because it’s apparently only “old” women who pay for sex, and they’re paying dark-skinned men from far-away lands; in other words, it’s not particularly threatening to the dominant power structures.
People are not souvenir beads; they are not exotic pets to experiment with on vacation. I’m not against sex work, and I’m not suggesting that the men discussed in this article have no agency. But I am suggesting that it’s impossible to divorce this scenario from a history of racism, colonialism, and the use of black bodies for the pleasure and service of white people.
And then there’s this context:
These same beaches have long been notorious for attracting another type of sex tourists — those who abuse children.
As many as 15,000 girls in four coastal districts — about a third of all 12-18 year-olds girls there — are involved in casual sex for cash, a joint study by Kenya’s government and U.N. children’s charity UNICEF reported late last year.
Up to 3,000 more girls and boys are in full-time sex work, it said, some paid for the “most horrific and abnormal acts”.
Thanks to MissSarajevo for the link.
*I don’t think that’s a word, but I think it should be, so I’m using it.