December 7, 2012, by Amber Martin
A day in the life of a geographer…Amber Martin
This week I’ve been working on an empirical chapter of my thesis all about the tensions between public and private space in sex shops and erotic boutiques. I’m looking at things such as how shops are legally required to have blanked out windows (see pic!) and also how the internal geographies of shops alters according to how ‘hardcore’ products are – with lingerie usually being located at the fronts of stores giving way to sex toys and pornography that is kept at the back. I’m also looking at the tensions of physical and virtual space in sex product consumption and arguing that despite the massive rise of online sex toy retailers and online pornography, the spaces of these shops are still highly relevant as consumers want a sensory shopping experience where they can look at, feel, touch and listen to products and also ask advice from staff. This is actually the basis of an abstract I’ve just submitted to the ‘SensingChange’ conference that is to be held at Nottingham in March so fingers crossed it gets accepted! I’ve also just submitted a first draft of a paper I’m writing on Fifty Shades of Grey and how it has been used by sex shops and erotic boutiques to brand BDSM products. Did you know there is even an official Fifty Shades of Grey sex toy collection? As if I had to ask.
For me this week has also been all about demonstrating! So far this week I’ve been doing demonstrating on the first year Geography statistics module and also the master’s level research methods module. I really like these modules as I get to sit down with the students and directly chat to them about their queries and questions (which in statistics there are usually lots!). This afternoon I was also lucky enough to help out in the third year Geography module ‘Fashion and Food’ with Louise Crewe and Carol Morris. I’d been preparing for the class this week by getting up to speed with the readings that had been assigned. The interactive class involved splitting the class into groups and assigning them a question about the relationship of ‘the body’ to Geography the how the body can be considered as a geographical space. Each group then did a short presentation on their question and it was really interesting to hear all their different responses.