This book outlines key facets of the authors' five year development project on sex tourism and prostitution in the Philippines, and is a powerful reflection on the raging debates taking place among feminists about the Third World. Ralston and Keeble follow the history of prostitution in former military outpost Angeles City, the women and foreign men who live by the trade and the varied organizations attempting to deal with prostitution. Making a strong call for action, the authors encounter resistance and anger from Western feminists who claim any action by Westerners in developing countries is necessarily neo-colonial and ethcentric.Academic feminist theorizing and identity politics, the two argue, has reached the level of 'analysis paralysis' where women and women's groups do t act for fear of being pejoratively labeled. This has many negative consequences for rights-seeking groups, as Ralston and Keeble experience firsthand in working to bring Angeles City and Canadian women's organizations together. Both an eye-opening picture of the workings of a community seeped in sex tourism and a sharp review of current feminist theorizing, Reluctant Bedfellows offers much-needed perspective on ways to bring disputing parties together and actually promote change.
Meredith Ralston teaches in the Departments of Women's Studies and Political Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has been in the areas of women and politics, and homeless women and prostitution in Canada. She is the author of Nobody Wants to Hear our Truth: Homeless Women and Theories of the New Right. She is also an award-winning filmmaker, and her latest film, Hope in Heaven (about sex tourism in the Philippines) is narrated by Kiefer Sutherland and has just been broadcast to great acclaim on CBC in Canada. She also wrote and directed two documentaries with the National Film Board of Canada on women in politics. Edna Keeble is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Saint Mary's University, in Halifax. Edna's work has centered on issues of security, particularly from a feminist perspective. She is the coauthor of (Re)defining Traditions: Gender and Canadian Foreign Policy, and has maintained her commitment to policy-relevant research. She currently sits on the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, a 15-member national body that advises the Ministers of Justice and Public Safety in Canada. She also served on the Minister's Advisory Board for former Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy for four years.