I recently spoke to the ladies at Slutty Girl Problems – a twitter handle turned cultural phenomenon. You can check out the entire SFW interview on their site here, or you can read a snip below – enjoy!
We are all guilty of people watching, but what is like to do it as a career? Rather than doing it for pure entertainment, Sociology is the study of development, structure and functioning of human society—or in Chauntelle Tibbals’ case, the adult industry. Chauntelle bares all to SGP about her journey, views and projects as a sociologist.
1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I’m a sociologist, which means I look for patterns occurring in social behavior and public life. Then, I try to figure out the hows and whys behind those patterns. I generally look at phenomena related to gender, sexualitites, human interactions in workplaces, and media. As luck would have it, all the things I find interesting (in conjunction with a couple other factors) led me to looking specifically at adult entertainment – the hows and whys of porn production as a workplace; legal issues related to media representations, free speech, and workers’ rights; and how erotica operates as a cultural artifact in the wider social world. I’ve been doing this for over ten years now.
2. What inspired you to start working in your field, and what has the journey been like?
Honestly, I’ve been a bit of a rabble-rouser, advocate, and ally since I was a kid. If I saw something that seemed unfair or marginalizing, or was just plain old jerk behavior, I was always getting in the mix. Couple that with growing up in the LA area, starting my graduate school pursuits in the San Fernando Valley (which is part of the LA city sprawl and the porn industry’s hub historically), and digging my way through the lack of representation and/or the litany of misrepresentations we seem hell bent on repeating over and over again, and this field was almost inevitable.
The journey has been an uphill battle to say the least, but it’s also been very rewarding. I talk a lot about the entire process in my [newly released] book, Exposure. I share a lot of my biography in the book, which is kinda unusual in the world of academia and knowledge production. You see, I’m not a scholar that feels my work can be disconnected from myself. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I feel that a person’s biography is inextricably linked to their worldview. As such, the research you do and the conclusions you attempt to draw in any field are shaped by an inherent subjectivity, from chemistry to sociology to journalism. If an idea comes from a person, it comes with a standpoint…
Read the full interview here.
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Got a sociology question? Need some social justice informed life advice? Contact Dr. Chauntelle right here.