Tova Rozengarten is a PhD candidate at Flinders University in the School of Social & Policy Studies. Her research examines representations of gendered disabilities in cinema.
Heather Brook is a senior lecturer in the School of Social & Policy Studies at Flinders University, where she teaches and researches women's studies. She is the author of many articles, including "Zombie Law" (Feminist Legal Studies) and "Dark Tourism" (Law/Text/Culture). Her most recent book, Conjugality, (Palgrave Macmillan) explores the meaning of marriage and marriage-like relationships.
Volume 34, May 2016
This article presents a critical commentary on the documentary Scarlet Road (2011). Scarlet Road promotes the value of sex work as a special service for disabled people (primarily men), and in the process addresses the stigma and marginalisation faced by both disabled people and sex workers. We argue that through its reiteration of discursive stereotypes of gender, sexuality, and disability, Scarlet Road unwittingly represents disabled people as undesirable and abject. While we oppose neither the legalisation of sex work nor the provision of access to sex services for disabled people, our position is that this does not provide an adequate solution to the exclusion of people with disabilities from sexual life. Thus, while campaigns to promote the value of sex work on the basis of its importance for the sexual rights of people with disabilities functions as a useful way to improve the image of sex workers, they simultaneously reflect and produce harmful stereotypes about disability.