Judith Butler has not only changed tourism, but she has changed the World. Like many influential thinkers, it is difficult to trace her ideas, but I believe she has influenced the books that follow. Gender Trouble, published in 1990 was the foundation for Queer theory, and brought about the performative turn in feminist theory – this is not to say that all feminists agree on this. For Judith (and many who agree with her), there is no essence of gender, which instead is constituted over time through performance. The introduction of Sexualities, spaces and leisure studies, edited by Jayne Caudwell and Kath Browne in 2012 helped to translate some of the Queer concepts for an interdisciplinary audience. The edited book included analyses of performativity and the subversive potential of (homo)sexuality within the context of tourism.
Even though sex tourism has been a dominant and distinct theme within research on gender in/and tourism, most scholars have analysed men as sex tourists . Susan Frohlick’s text Sexuality, Women, and Tourism: Cross-Border Desires through Contemporary Travel built on a small but growing body of research in 2013, which shifted attention to women sex tourists. One of the first monographs to challenge stereotypes of sex tourists, sexuality, and gender binaries in tourism this book should be celebrated. As with the previous two posts, this post will highlight a more recent book that has contributed significantly to tourism. Erin Sanders-McDonagh’s 2017 book, Women and Sex Tourism Landscapes is particularly important as it uniquely focuses on how women tourists consume erotic spectacles aimed at a male heterosexual audience. The analysis depicts women tourists as agentive and problematises traditional conceptualisations of heteroerotic spaces and their consumption. In contrast to much academic writing, and like many other ethnographic and reflexive pieces, the book is interesting and accessible.