Erotic capital is power possessed by an individual as a result of their sexual attractiveness to others. It is one among other species of capital, including social capital, symbolic capital, and cultural capital.
The concept has been systematically developed by sociologist Dr. Adam Isaiah Green (University of Toronto), who builds on Pierre Bourdieu's (1980) concept of capital. Green defines erotic capital as the quality and quantity of attributes that an individual possesses which elicit an erotic response in another. Some of these attributes may be classified as natural, immutable attributes (e.g., height, skin shade), while others can be acquired (e.g., body sculpting through breast augmentation surgery and liposuction, enhanced musculature through bodybuilding, or a makeover of wardrobe and hair style). Erotic capital is interconvertible with other forms of capital, as when actors parlay erotic capital into financial capital or social capital.
There is no single hegemonic form of erotic capital. On the contrary, currencies of erotic capital are quite variable, acquiring a hegemonic status in relation to the erotic preferences of highly specialized audiences that distinguish one sexual field from another (see Green 2005, 2008; Martin and George 2006).
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