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Biography & Abstract
Louise Lecomte

Louise is a PhD candidate at Paris Dauphine-PSL University, France. Her work focuses on feminism and the commons and she is particularly interested in entrepreneurship in stigmatized industries and places of taboo.

Being an entrepreneur in a taboo industry: a double jeopardy for women and queer people?

Entrepreneurship is far from being equally accessible to all. Entrepreneurship by women and queer people in especially stigmatized (Ahl & Marlow, 2012; Ferretti & Souza, 2022; Mirchandani, 1999; Rumens & Ozturk, 2019). This type of entrepreneurship faces a lack of legitimacy (Chasserio et al., 2017) and a constant comparison to the hetero male norm (Rumens & Ozturk, 2019). It can lead to projects dedicated to help others with the examples of the ‘radicals’ (Bruni et al., 2004) or the sacrificial entrepreneurship (Chin, 2021). Is stigmatized entrepreneurship even more difficult in a tabooed industry such as sex tech? What about when it focuses on women and queer pleasure? Taboo is culturally dependent, despite the exception of incest, cannibalism and murder (Freud, 1912). It refers to the untalkable. A tabooed industry might go along with efforts and strategies of normalization (Werner et al., 2023), but stigmatized industries such as the sex industry offers some entrepreneurial opportunities (Ruebottom & Toubiana, 2021). We explore, based on interviews, the experience of women and queer entrepreneurs in the sex tech industry. We met nine women entrepreneurs, eight of them working on a heterosexual sech tech, one queer dedicated to lesbian sexuality. We identify that the taboo can be both a driving force and an impediment, as gender can be a brake, a commitment force, and even a credibility lever. We wish to enrich our data collection with more queer experiences in the future.

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