'To put men in a bottle': Eroticism, Kinship, Female Power and Transactional Sex in Maputo, Mozambique

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    Abstract

    This article explores the role of eroticism, kinship and gender in transactional sexual relationships between young women called curtidoras and older white men in Maputo. I draw on postcolonial feminism to argue that curtidoras’ erotic powers are a central part of sexual-economic exchanges with men and that senior female kin are deeply involved in processes of seduction and extraction of money. Relationships between curtidoras, female kin and male partners are conceptualized as “gendered triads of reciprocity" in order to unsettle Western stereotypes of female victims and patriarchal structures in Africa. Transactional sex often makes the partners mutually dependent and emotionally vulnerable and although moralities of exchange collide, young women tend to redistribute accumulated money from men among female seniors and kin.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAmerican Ethnologist
    Volume40
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)102-117
    ISSN0094-0496
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Keywords

    • eroticism
    • transactional sex
    • gender
    • kinship
    • postcolonial feminism
    • Africa
    • Mozambique

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