open booktony_benn_signing.jpg

Coming up




Catherine Hakim

 Catherine Hakim

Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital
7 September 2011, 19.30-20.30 (PAST EVENT)
Watershed, Bristol (see map)


Why do some people seem to lead charmed lives? They are attractive, but also lively, friendly and charismatic. People want to be around them. Doors open for them. According to Catherine Hakim, the answer is in the power of erotic capital – the overlooked human asset that is at the heart of how we work, interact, make money, succeed and conduct our relationships. Hakim’s groundbreaking book, Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, reveals how this potent force develops from an early age, with attractive children assumed to be intelligent, competent and good. She examines how women and men learn to exploit it throughout their lives, how it differs across cultures and how it affects all spheres of activity, from dating and mating to politics, business, film, music, the arts and sport. She also explores why erotic capital is growing in importance in today’s highly sexualised culture and yet, ironically, as a ‘feminine’ virtue, remains sidelined. By recognising the economic and social value of erotic capital, the role of women in society will not only be changed, Hakim claims, getting them a better deal in both public and private life, but could also revolutionise power structures, big business, the sex industry, government, marriage, education and almost everything we do.


Catherine Hakim is a Senior Research Fellow of Sociology at the LSE. She is an expert on the sociology of the labour market, changing social attitudes, women’s employment and theories of women’s position in society. She has published numerous academic works and papers. Her theory of erotic capital, now provided in detail in Honey Money, was first advanced in a paper for Oxford University’s European Social Research journal. It has received much media and academic interest from around the world.



  1. Mona Zughbi says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 8:50 pm


    My name is Mona Zughbi and I’m a Producer with RT-TV. We are an international news broadcast that can be viewed in over 100 countries.

    We’d like to invite Catherine Hakim on our show for an interview via Skype.
    We want to discuss her book Honey Money..

    Ideally, this would be nest week at 4P or 5P Eastern Time.

    I look forward to hearin back from you.



    Mona Zughbi

  2. Festival of Ideas: Catherine Hakim talks on “Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital” at Watershed, Bristol – 7.30pm, Wednesday 7th September 2011 : What's Hot in Bristol says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    [...] [...]

  3. Barry Ramshaw says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    In her account of a somewhat tense interview with Catherine Hakim (Guardian Weekend, 20/8/11), Zoe Williams reported that after their meeting Hakim rang William’s editor to ask if she was in the middle of a marital breakdown.
    I cannot vouch personally for the accuracy of this claim. However, speaking purely theoretically, I could not help wondering why an interviewee would do this. Perhaps it could be done out of sisterly concern and in the hope of being able to recommend a good counsellor. There could, of course, be other motivations for such a course of action.
    The thought of such a thing happening is very dispiriting – but, I’m afraid, such a feeling is in keeping with the deep depresion that I felt leaving this event.
    Hakim began by explaining that the media has misrepresented her – sex appeal was only one of a number of criteria that make up her concept of erotic capital, and that it applies to men as well as women. However, both sex and the female sex seemed to dominate much of the evening.
    For example, Hakim informed us that women should exploit the “sex deficit”. As I understand it, this means women taking advantage of what seemed to be described as men’s mindless, endless and stereotypical capacity for sex to achieve power for themselves.
    Hakim stressed that the skills she was advocating would be particularly relevant for the increasingly large numbers of young women leaving school without qualifications. This is surely a pivotal point. Because if I understand Hakim’s later comments correctly, she concedes that there are a minority of women who wish to pursue intellectual careers. A careful line needs to be drawn between this privileged elite and the masses. For it would be awful if the lucky few could not achieve, say, academic success without being accused of resorting to erotic capital or – heaven forbid – exploiting the “sex deficit”.
    The media came in for further criticism over their negative reporting on prostitution. Their focus on “victims” and endless carping on about abuse, violence, drug addiction and human trafficking is, we were told, unrepresentative. Most hookers are apparently happy and laughing all the way to the bank. No doubt right now there is a powerless sex worker suffering at the hands of a punter who is consoling herself with the knowledge that Hakim’s statistics say that she is unrepresentative.
    When an audience member pointed out that Elizabeth Day, in her Observer review of Honey Money (28/8/11), had quoted Hakim as writing “Becoming an “idle” full-time housewife is a modern utopian dream for most women”, Hakim explained that it had been meant as a joke! How we laughed! Actually, now I come to think of it, we didn’t laugh at all.
    Naturally resistance to Hakim’s “common sense” truths has come from – among many others – those awful, puritan feminists. Clearly they have got it all wrong. There can be no reason to question why society continues to be structured in such a lop-sided women unfriendly way – let alone to try and fight it and create a better world. And forget about all the years we have battled societal inertia and our own conditioning to build relationships based on mutual respect.
    No, what we urgently need is a heightened focus on body image, knowing where the fish knife goes and an appetite for transactional sex. Hakim could well be revered by coming generations as the woman who put the suck into success.
    Brisk, confident and brushing aside all dissent, Hakin clearly felt that by bombarding us with statistics her mechanical, soulless nostrums would be made palatable. I lost count of the number of times the old phrase “The price of everything and the value of nothing” went through my head.
    If social policy is ever devised by a computer programmed by a robot in the economics department of a neoliberal thinktank, it will probably look quite like this. Brave New World indeed.


If you would like to subscribe to our RSS Comments feed, please click on the orange XML logo below (click here to read more about our RSS feeds).

Click to view our Comments feed... Comments

* Required

** Should you wish to retract a comment, or if you experience technical difficulties, please email us at: We reserve the right to delete posts containing offensive language or content.