Selling the selling of sex: Secret Diary of a Call Girl on screen

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8 Citations (Scopus)


In previous work I have investigated the stories about commercial sex1 which emerge in fact-based programming on British television. In both celebratory “docuporn” (Boyle 2008) and documentaries which take an apparently more critical stance (Boyle forthcoming), I have argued that the emphasis on the women who sell sex—within a scheduling context which is, itself, increasingly sexualised—encourages an individualised and supply-led understanding of commercial sex whilst delivering (soft)pornographic pleasures to the male spectator. Studying a specific group of programmes in this way allows me to unravel the generic qualities of mainstream narratives of commercial sex without becoming caught up in retelling women’s stories or judging their authenticity. The relentless scrutiny of women’s choices, agency, and authenticity has, unfortunately, plagued much recent feminist debate on commercial sex, and these concerns have echoed with some writing within feminist media studies focused on (fictive) female heroines (Boyle 2005). In both contexts, men have escaped scrutiny and women have once more become the problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2010


  • prostitution
  • commercial sex
  • television drama
  • sex work


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