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Monday 15- Tuesday 16 June, Weetwood Hall Leeds
conference programme and book of abstracts
Monday 15 June
Registration and Coffee 9- 9.30 am
Presentation of the Porn Cultures and Policy Network and aims of the conference Porn Cultures and Policy Network convenors Katharine Sarikakis Director Centre for International Communications Research (Leeds) Liza Tsaliki (University of Athens) Conference Co-organiser Dave Hesmondhalgh, Director Media Industries Research Centre 9.30-10.30 BRAMLEY ROOM Sessions A and B 10.30- 12.00 Session A Bramley Room Session B Linden Room
The Political Economy of the Pornography Industry Chair: Dave Hesmondhalgh
Pornography in the Global Sex Industry Sheila Jeffreys University of Melbourne Australia The ‘Real’ Dominatrix: Myths, Mothers and Mobile Phone Numbers Jenny Barrett Edge Hill University UK Mikhail Bakhtin’s “fanciful anatomy:” Internet pornography and the politics of pleasure within a theory of proletarianization. Marcus Breen Northeastern University Boston USA Ksusha’s Story: Film screening
Children and Pornography Chair: Liza Tsaliki
The Death of “Child Erotica” Mary G. Leary Catholic University of America USA Consuming Innocence: Pornography and the Sexualisation of Children Debate Catharine Lumby University of New South Wales Australia Child pornography on the internet and policy questions. The Greek case Panayiota Tsatsou Swansea University UK Young People and Pornography: An Insight from
and discussion Sue Sudbury Bournemouth University UK
North-East England Aylssa Cowell Streetwise Young Peoples Project
Monday 15 June Continued
Lunch 12.15-1.30 Woodland Suite
Sessions A and B 1.45 -3.15 Bramley Room Linden Room
Activism, Art and Politics Chair: Rebecca Sullivan
The Rhetoric of Porn in Feminist and Postfeminist Art: From Critique to Complicity Sarah Smith The Glasgow School of Art UK Voices of resistance: the reemergence of feminist antiporn activism Julia Long London South Bank University UK Defining feminist pornography as an extension of the Third Wave Rachel Liberman University Of Colorado at Boulder USA The pornification of popular culture in Australia and the movement against it Melinda Tankard Reist Women’s Forum Australia Coffee Break 3.00 – 3.15
Socialisation of the Sexually Explicit Imagery Chair: Marcus Breen
Does pornography damage young people? Alan McKee Queensland University of Technology Australia Sexually Explicit Material and Adolescent Sexual Health – A cause for concern? Clare Bale UK Deconstructing Sexuality: Pornography and Docility Janelle McLeod University of Manitoba Canada Beyond the raincoats: The porn consumer in mainstream media Karen Boyle University of Glasgow UK
Monday 15 June continued
PLENARY 3.15- 4.45 Bramley Room Revisiting Porn Cultures and Policy
Chair: Katharine Sarikakis
Mapping Pornography: Constructing and Deconstructing the Text Prof Gail Dines, Wheelock College Boston USA Regulating Pornography in the Age of the Internet Prof Julian Petley, Brunel University UK Regulating Extreme Pornography in the UK: the turn to law Prof Clare McGlynn, Durham University, UK
4.45-5.30 Discussion and expression of interest for network research
5.30 Wine Reception 7.30pm Conference Dinner Thai Edge Restaurant (New Portland Street, 7 Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 3DY)
Tuesday 16 June
Registration and Coffee 8.30 -9 Sessions A and B 9-10.30 Bramley Room Linden Room
Reflections on Regulation Chair: Katharine Sarikakis
What’s so wrong with morality? The regulation of ‘extreme pornography’ in the UK Paul Johnson University of Surrey UK Where the Web meets regulation: the case of Karen Fletcher Beth Concepcion University of South Carolina USA Not A Love Story: Framing the Canadian Sex Crisis Rebecca Sullivan University of Calgary Canada An analysis of Brazilian regulation on pornographic advertising Cristiano Aguiar Lopes Office of Legislative Counsel and Policy Guidance Brazilian Parliament Brazil
Complicating the debates about the ‘pornification’ or ‘sexualisation’ of culture
Convenor: Rosalind Gill
Beyond the ‘sexualisation of culture’ thesis: an intersectional analysis, Rosalind Gill Open University UK altpornification: porn cultures and new online sex media, Feona Attwood, Sheffield Hallam
The Sex Inspectors’: Porn culture and sexual failure, Laura Harvey, Open University UK Too young to understand”? Children and ‘sexualised’ media Sara Bragg, Open University Putting pornification and the sexual commodification of girls on the UK educational policy ‘Gender Agenda’ Jessica Ringrose, Institute of Education, University of London UK
Coffee Break 10. 30- 10.45
Tuesday 16 June continued
Sessions A and B 10.45- 12.15 Bramley Room Linden Room
Technologising Production and Consumption Chair: Liza Tsaliki
A paradox of power: The male pornography consumer Jennifer A. Johnson Virginia Commonwealth University USA Virtually Commercial Sex, Sarah Neely University of Stirling UK ‘The Escort Experience’ Discourses of Commercial Sex Evangelos Liotzis University of Athens Greece Sites of intersectionality: Cyberporn and body geographies Pedro Pinto University of Minho Portugal
The Porn Paradigm Chair: Gail Dines
The Medical Authority of Pornography Meagan Tyler University of Melbourne Australia Public Sex, public choice and public policy: sexist advertising under scrutiny Lauren Rosewarne University of Melbourne Australia Sexually explicit imagery in the Romanian media Valentina Marinescu University of Bucharest Romania From Jekyll to Hyde: How the Porn Industry Grooms Male Consumers Rebecca Whisnant University of Dayton USA
Lunch 12.30- 2.00 Woodland Suite
Tuesday 16 June continued
PLENARY 2.00- 3.30 Bramley Room Reflecting on Action Chair: Clare McGlynn The Personal and the Universal Spectrum - the experience of the European Women’s lobby and trafficking Elizabeth Law UK Board Member, European Women’s Lobby Controlling Access to Indecent Images: Mediated Internet Communications Prof Ian Walden Vice- Chair of Internet Watch Foundation, Queen Mary, University of London Depraving and Corrupting - Sex Works and Obscenity in the UK Murray Perkins Senior Examiner (18 and R18 Categories) British Board of Film Classification
3.45-5.30 Bramley Room Open assembly: common ground for research agendas and intervention
PORN CULTURES: REGULATION, POLITICAL ECONOMY, TECHNOLOGY
The Porn Cultures and Policy Network is convened by Katharine Sarikakis (University of Leeds) and Liza Tsaliki (University of Athens). PCPN consists of a founding team: Salam Al-Mahadin (Jordan) Despina Chronaki (Athens), Gail Dines (Wheelock College), Mary Griffiths (Adelaide), Valentina Marinescu (Bucharest), Steven McDermott (Leeds), Kiran Prasad (Oman), Rebecca Sullivan (Calgary Canada); and has been enriched by the energy and commitment of later members Alison Beale (Simon Fraser Canada), Karen Boyle (Glasgow), Marcus Breen (Northwestern), Jennifer Johnson (Virginia Commonwealth), Steven Maddison (UEL). The network is considered as a collaborative and open working group which aims to bring together individuals and organisations with an interest in the development of global trends in the production and consumption of the sexually explicit imagery and in the development of regulatory responses. PCPN is designing research and policy agendas through establishing common ground in terms of methodology, research questions and standards or comparison. The Porn Cultures: Regulation, Political Economy and Technology conference is the follow-up meeting of scholars, policymakers and activists interested in the dynamics and politics of the global pornography industry. The first meeting took place in Athens in September 2008 under the auspices of the Globalization, Media and Adult/Sexual Content: Challenges to Regulation and Research conference, sponsored by the Hellenic Audiovisual Institute. The network and its activities are supported by the British Academy under the project: Socialisation of the Global Sexually Explicit Imagery: Challenges to regulation and Research. PCPN’s website is http://sgsei.wordpress.com/ for information on previous activities and how to get involved. PCPN is interested in working with colleagues and those involved in the shaping of the regulation of the industry and calls for the expression of
interest. We hope that this conference will help participants and interested parties identify common ground with each other in identifying a research and policy intervention agenda. We thank all participants, our keynote speakers and all those who supported our work and wish you a constructive, thought provoking and inspiring conference.
Gail Dines Mapping Pornography: Constructing and Deconstructing the Text Much of the academic work on pornography, was conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, before the internet became a “domesticated” technology. In the last ten years or so, the profits of the pornography industry has reached such a staggering level, that even the pornographers express shock when interviewed. This increased level of production and profit has had a dramatic effect on the industry in terms of both organization and products produced. Much discussion of pornography proceeds without reference to the actual content of the genre, which dramatically limits the value of debates. Although pornography is a wide-ranging genre, the market is well-developed, yet, it is possible to identify the most popular varieties and track trends in content. Based on recent qualitative studies of the content of mass-marketed video/DVD heterosexual pornography over the past decade, I will identify basic themes and describe recent trends in the industry, with special attention to the way in which the films construct race and gender identity. Bio Dr. Gail Dines is Professor of Sociology and Chair of American Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a nationally known researcher, an award-winning speaker and a prolific writer. She is a long-time feminist activist and is co-founder of the recently formed group, Stop Porn Culture. Gail Dines is co-editor of the best-selling textbook Gender, Race and Class in Media and co-author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality. She has written numerous articles on pornography, media images of women and representations of race in pop culture. Dr Dines is a regular guest on national television and radio shows, including CNN, Entertainment Tonight, MSNBC and National Public Radio. She is co-producer, together with Dr. Rebecca Whisnant and Dr. Robert Jensen, of the feminist anti-pornography slide show, Who Wants to be a Porn Star? She is currently writing a book about the ways that porn has infiltrated our lives, our relationships and our culture.
The personal and the universal spectrum - the experience of the European Women’s lobby and trafficking Elizabeth Law European Women’s Lobby, UK Board Member Consider the impact of pornography. If we see matters we would wish to change, at any level, in any way, we should not underestimate the task facing us. Tthere is a spectrum of violence against women and of its impact; all aspects of life must recognise – education, health, media. It is imperative that we not only understand and stand against violence against women but also that we work to end the causes of violence against women – including how we portray women. This requires careful work in a world where VAW remains the acceptable dinner table joke and people find it easy to charge others with political correctness: Personal – we each are personally diminished by pornography and our collective / individual response. The work to change images of women is an enormous challenge but we must begin it with ourselves to ensure it is built on integrity. Universal – the example of the European Women’s Lobby Nordic Baltic Project: international; inter agency; multi faceted (care) – legislation, services. EWL has, through its European Policy Action Centre on VAW and its Nordic Baltic Project, developed a model for combating VAW which works in a world with diminishing borders and internet communication. Bio Elizabeth Law is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Women’s Lobby, the European Commission’s expert NGO on women. She is the UK Board member for the Lobby and, as treasurer, serves on the Board of the EWL’s European policy Action Centre on Violence Against Women. With a long connection in a voluntary capacity with Women’s Aid, Elizabeth’s current paid work is as a policy worker with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
Clare McGlynn, Durham University Regulating Extreme Pornography in the UK: the turn to law Just when the number of obscenity prosecutions was falling to an all-time low, and the written word was thought immune from challenge, the UK is witnessing a ‘turn to law’. In an apparent attempt to deal with demand, to challenge the unassailable nature of internet regulation and to establish ethical guidelines, England & Wales has adopted new measures criminalising the possession (not just production and distribution) of ‘extreme’
pornography. Scotland is debating similar legislation, though promising to ‘go further’. This presentation critiques the new measures, arguing that they represent an unsatisfactory compromise between the demands of moral-conservatives and fundamentalist liberals. The polarisation of debate between these two broad constituencies largely obscured feminist arguments (from all perspectives). In doing so, a positive opportunity to rethink the regulation of pornography was lost. Further, the concentration on ‘extreme’ pornography, and excessive focus on debating possible ‘causal’ links, eclipsed the need for a more nuanced approach to both the harms of pornography and potential justifications for legal action. Finally, considering issues of efficacy and strategy, this ‘turn to law’ is questioned. Bio Clare McGlynn is a Professor of Law at Durham University, UK. Her research on extreme pornography has been published in the Criminal Law Review (with Rackley) and the Journal of Law and Society (with Ward), as well as being widely discussed in policy debates. She is currently co-editing (with Munro) Rethinking Rape Law: international and comparative perspectives (Routledge-Cavendish) and is the author of Families and the European Union: law, politics and pluralism (CUP) and The Woman Lawyer: making the difference (Butterworths).
Murray Perkins British Board of Film Classification DEPRAVING AND CORRUPTING SEX WORKS AND OBSCENITY IN THE UK After formal appeals by UK distributors and a Judicial Review, in July 2000 the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) produced new Guidelines which allowed explicit representations of real sex between consenting adults at the R18 category (restricting the legal sale of such works to licensed sex shops). In 2001 the BBFC required that cuts be made to 7% of R18 sex works submitted for classification before they could be legally sold in the UK. By 2007 the number of sex works which were cut before being issued with an R18 certificate had grown to 27%. In 2008, this statistic was repeated. A substantial proportion of cuts required to R18 sex works are made in accordance with the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959. In all such cases the material which is removed is judged to have a tendency to ‘deprave and corrupt’ a significant proportion of those who would be likely to view it.In the classification of sex works the BBFC does not make a moral judgement on whether something is likely to ‘deprave and corrupt’. This is an interpretation which belongs in the hands of a jury. But the BBFC is obliged not to pass any material which it believes to be in breach of the criminal law. Whether the significant increase in required cuts is indicative of
more conservative interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959, reflecting changes in juries attitudes, or to changes to the nature of pornography can be addressed by looking at the material itself. In the latest legislation relating to pornography in the UK, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 can into force this year. Under this law it is an offence to possess of an extreme pornographic image. What constitutes an extreme pornographic image includes a subset of the material which would fall foul of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 if published or distributed. Material classified under the Video Recordings Act 1984 is excluded from prosecution. It is the aim of this presentation to consider the impact of harm concerns, both moral and physical; how obscenity legislation affects the classification of sex works in the UK; and the impact of the latest developments. Bio Murray Perkins joined the British Board of Film Classification as a Film and Video Examiner in May 2000. In 2005 he became the Senior Examiner responsible for the 18 and R18 categories, which has involved consulting with the Obscene Publications Unit of the Metropolitan Police and consulting on new legislation on extreme pornography. Prior to coming to the UK, Murray worked for the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification.
Professor Julian Petley Brunel University Regulating Pornography in the Age of the Internet Given both the global nature of the Internet and the fact that different countries have very different standards of acceptability when it comes to sexual imagery, democratic governments which wish to restrict the availability of online pornography, have found this an extremely difficult task. They have instead persuaded Internet Service Providers or bodies such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to act as self-regulators, thus causing them to be seen by some as self-censors, and/or made it illegal simply to possess certain kinds of pornographic material (the 'extreme pornography clauses of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2009 furnishing a particularly clear example of the latter course of action). Both strategies raise important questions. In particular, what sort of authority and legitimacy do bodies such as ISPs and the IWF possess in this field, to what extent are they accountable both to Internet users and to the wider polity, and to what extent is surveillance of Internet users compatible with democratic values? Bio
JP is Professor of Screen Media and Journalism in the School of Arts at Brunel University. His most recent books are Censoring the Word, Censoring the Moving Image (with Philip French), and his next book, Censorship: a Beginner’s Guide will be published by Oneworld this summer. He is Chair of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and a regular contributor to the Index on Censorship.
Professor Ian Walden Queen Mary University of London Controlling Access Communications to Indecent Images: Mediated Internet
The clamour for greater controls over Internet content, including pornography, continue unabated, most recently from the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee, in a report published at the end of July 2008 (HC 353-I). This paper will examine the experience of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an oft-quoted model for controlling illegal content in the UK, specifically child sexual abuse images. The IWF provides an important case study, in terms of the methodologies being deployed to control illegal content, as well as the regulatory structures through which such controls are implemented. The paper will particularly focus on the operation of the noticeand-take-down regime for domestically hosted content; the deployment of a database for filtering users’ egress traffic accessing foreign content; issues of international co-operation and the ‘public function’ of self-regulation. The experience of the IWF has implications for all areas of content control in a converging media environment. Bio Dr Ian Walden is Professor of Information and Communications Law and head of the Institute of Computer and Communications Law in the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary, University of London. His publications include EDI and the Law (1989), Information Technology and the Law (1990), EDI Audit and Control (1993), Cross-border Electronic Banking (1995, 2000), Telecommunications Law Handbook (1997), E-Commerce Law and Practice in Europe (2001), Telecommunications Law and Regulation (2001, 2005, 2009), Computer Crimes and Digital Investigations (2007) and Media Law and Practice (forthcoming 2009). Ian has been involved in law reform projects for the World Bank, the European Commission, UNCTAD, UNECE and the EBRD, as well as for a number of individual states. In 1995-96, Ian was seconded to the European Commission, as a national expert in electronic commerce law. Ian has held visiting positions at the Universities of Texas and Melbourne. Ian is a solicitor; Of Counsel to the global law firm Baker & McKenzie (www.bakernet.com); a Trustee and Vice-Chair of the Internet Watch Foundation (www.iwf.org.uk).
PCPN Convenors Katharine Sarikakis is Senior Lecturer in Communications Policy and Director of the Centre for International Communications Research at the University of Leeds. Her work is informed by political philosophy and focuses on the political processes and political economic dimensions of media and communications policies, nationally and globally. She is interested in the ways in which empowerment and disempowerment of citizens become inherent elements in public policy addressing communication (either as technology or process) and expression (whether political, cultural or other). In her work, institutions are central spaces for the construction of ideas, legitimacy and exercise of control. Katharine’s publications include Media Policy and Globalization (2006 co-authored), Feminist Interventions in International Communication (2008 coedited) and is coedits (with N Blain) the International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics. She is an honorary Research Fellow at Hainan University and the inaugural Anders Foundation Professor in Global Media Studies at the University of Karlstad in 2009. Liza Tsaliki, Liza Tsaliki, University Lecturer at the Faculty of Communications and Mass Media, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, was awarded her Ph.D. on the role of Greek television on the construction of national identity from the University of Sussex. She taught at the University of Sunderland from 1996 till 2000. Between 2000-2002, she was a Marie Curie Post Doctoral Fellow at the Radboud University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, researching the digital civil society across the European Union. From 2002 to 2006 she was working as the Director of International Relations at the Hellenic Culture Organization (www.cultural-olympiad.gr). She resumed her academic duties, as a lecturer, at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in March 2006. Her current interests involve ICTs and democratic participation; online activism; gender and new technologies; the public sphere; cultural policy-making; internet safety. Since 2006, she is a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics (media@LSE), on the EU-funded project ʽEU Kids Onlineʼ (www.eukidsonline.net). She is also the commentaries editor for the International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics (MCP)
Sexually Explicit Material and Adolescent Sexual Health – A cause for concern? Clare Bale Increase in exposure to sexually explicit material is cited as a significant factor influencing adolescent sexuality and health. Concern about the negative impact of this material is increasingly prominent within policy, professional groups, and the media - however little research has been conducted within this area. My research aims to explore young people’s perspectives of sexuality, sexual identity and health within the context of sexualised culture and health, and examine how and where young people discuss/consider these issues, providing an authentic account of young people’s engagement with, and experiences of, sexualised culture as ‘agents’ in their own right. These findings will be set against the development of sexual health policy in the UK. This interactive paper will present an overview of the literature, providing rationale and context for my research. It will present preliminary findings from my interaction with young people and also highlight/discuss my experiences and challenges associated with conducting research with young people in the ‘sensitive’ area of sex and sexuality across the disciplines of medicine, health, media and cultural studies. Bio Clare Bale is a Registered General Nurse, with over 7 years experience as a Senior Manager in the NHS, most recently as Public Health Principal for sexual health in Nottinghamshire, serving a population of over 750,000. She was secretary to the European Honours Society of Nursing and Midwifery 20022003, and is a member of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV. Clare has worked in both the public and private sector and is trained as a Master Facilitator.
The ‘Real’ Dominatrix: Myths, Mothers and Mobile Phone Numbers Jenny Barrett Edge Hill University British pornography producers DOM Promotions, particularly the prolific work from J.D. Storm, currently dominate the home market on dominatrix pornography with a selection of titles starring working dominatrices. From these videos, can be gleaned a certain celebration of the mythology of the indomitable, invulnerable dominant woman, conforming to a range of
expectations of the dangerous, kinky female. The producers of the films go to great lengths to assure the viewer that these women are the ‘real deal,’ that the videos are recorded in ‘real dungeons’ and that appropriate safety precautions were taken. Thus, with this stamp of authenticity, the ‘real’ dominatrix is constructed on screen as separate from the pornographic dominatrix of less specialised pornography. This paper observes these women at work, involved in a range of performances that allude to the punishing mother. It considers the implications of unplanned events occurring on screen, causing a fissure in the performance and thus a failure of the woman as dominatrix. Finally, it contemplates the consequences of the real dominatrix presenting herself on screen as available to the viewer, even to the extent of making her mobile phone number accessible in the box of the DVD. Bio Jenny Barrett is Programme Leader in Film Studies at Edge Hill University. She is currently researching representations of the dominatrix in the media, with a chapter forthcoming in Peep Shows: Essays in Cult Visual Erotica (Wallflower, 2009), entitled “‘Let’s Do Something You Won’t Enjoy’: Dominatrix Porn, Performance and Subjectivity”.
Beyond the raincoats: The porn consumer in mainstream media Karen Boyle University of Glasgow In their recent The Porn Report, McKee, Albury and Lumby present their analysis of porn consumption in a chapter entitled Dirty? Old? Men? The work of this chapter is to counter “mainstream” depictions of the porn consumer: “everybody who reads newspapers”, they write, “knows that the people who use pornography are sad, dirty, old men.” These kind of hyperbolic claims about popular culture’s representation of pornography – and those who consume it - are by no means unique to The Porn Report. However, there is little careful analysis of specific representations of porn consumers in popular culture though this is surely an important context in which to understand how the possibilities for porn consumption are presented to current and future users. This paper will take on this challenge through an analysis of a range of media texts aimed at young men, including docu-porn series, best-selling weekly and monthly magazines and drama/ comedy series. Bio Dr Karen Boyle is Senior Lecturer in Film & Television Studies (University of Glasgow) and author of Media & Violence: Gendering the Debates (Sage, 2005). She is currently editing Everyday Pornography (Routledge, 2010) and
has a range of articles about porn’s representation in academic and popular discourse, most recently in Feminist Media Studies (2008) and Reading Pornography on Screen (edit Kerr & Hines).
Mikhail Bakhtin’s “fanciful anatomy:” Internet pornography and the politics of pleasure within a theory of proletarianization. Marcus Breen Northeastern University Boston Bakhtin’s discussion of the human body within the carnival suggests a liberatory scenario when it is applied to Internet pornography. This paper appropriates Bakhtin’s concept of the body as “grotesque” to ask a series of questions about the politics of pleasure that operate within proletarianization. Taking proletarianization as the culture of the underclass, this paper will look at an alternative reading of Internet pornography, as an expression of previously regulated culture. Is it possible that utopian readings of grotesque performatory acts of the body that Bakhtin theorized in his study of Rabelais can be “materially” realized through Internet pornography? If so, how can we imagine pornography in its newly circulating intensity through the Internet? Is it possible to see unregulated pornography as a radical expression of unregulated behavior and as such the realization of a type of truth? If so, how does Internet pornography help theorize proletarianization within a democratic view of what Terry Eagleton referred to as ‘the politics of pleasure.” Does politics itself need to be rethought with the emergence of Internet pornography? Bio Marcus Breen was born and educated in Australia. After a short career as a print journalist covering the popular music and film industries he moved into the research community where he worked as director of the cultural industries research program at the Centre for International Research on Communication and Information Technologies in Melbourne. After specializing in multimedia consulting he moved to an academic position in the US and continued consulting with governmetns in North America, Mexico, the Caribbean and with global technology firms. He is currently Associate Professor in hte Department of Communication Studies at Northeastern university, Boston. His last book was Rock Dogs: Politicis and the Australian Music Industry. He is currently working on Uprising: The Internet's Unintended Consequences.
Where the Web meets regulation: the case of Karen Fletcher Beth Concepcion University of South Carolina
On August 31, 2005, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized computer equipment from the Donora, Pa., home of Karen Fletcher — a writer and webmaster for www.Red-Rose-Stories.com. Fletcher was arrested and accused of distributing obscene material in violation of United States law, as her website featured stories that featured the kidnapping, torture, sexual molestation, and murder of children aged nine and under. Though the stories certainly were disturbing and easily considered distasteful, they were not necessarily illegal in terms of their availability on the Internet, especially as the stories were fictional, text-only, and only accessible through a paidmembership portal. The Fletcher case is an interesting one because it combines incendiary topics such as freedom of speech, obscenity charges, child pornography/rape/torture, Internet regulation, and commercial versus noncommercial speech. It is important to consider each of these issues in turn within the context of the case, and the larger context of United States Supreme Court rulings. The Fletcher case not only is historic, but a taste of what is to come in the United States court system. Bio Beth Concepcion is a third-year doctoral student at the University of South Carolina. She decided to pursue her Ph.D. in mass communication and journalism after spending more than 20 years as a broadcast and print journalist. Concepcion also is a professional writing professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design and is a part-time meteorologist at WJCL/WTGS in Savannah, Ga. She earned a B.A. in English from Oglethorpe University, a B.S. in geosciences from Mississippi State University, and an M.A. and M.F.A. in performing arts from SCAD.
Young People and Pornography: An Insight from North-East England
Aylssa Cowell Streetwise Young People’s Project
Concerns have been raised over the past couple of months regarding young people and pornography. These concerns often focus on the effect of pornography on young peoples sexual expectations and behaviour, however there is growing concern over the phenomenon of 'sexting', that is the sending of sexually explicit photographs and videos via mobile phones and webcams. Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 a young person aged under 18 cannot be filmed or photographed in a sexually explicit way. My presentation will concentrate on research undertaken by practitioners in Newcastle upon Tyne which highlights the extent to 'sexting' and the impact that pornography is having on young people’s lives. Bio
Aylssa Cowell is the Youth Work Service Manager at Streetwise Young Peoples Project in Newcastle. She has worked in the sexual health field for 7 years and as part of her role trains professionals in working with young people around the issue of pornography. She completed her BA in Community and Youth Work at Durham University in 2003 and is currently studying towards her Masters in International Politics at Newcastle University. She is also an editor of Youth & Policy, a journal published quarterly by the National Youth Agency.
Pornography in the Global Sex Industry Sheila Jeffreys University of Melbourne Academic research on the ways in which different aspects of the sex industry are connected, and form part of an industrialised and globalised market sector, is only just beginning. Pornography is now being examined by researchers as one aspect of this industry, and one with a global reach. This represents significant progress in changing the academic discussion of pornography from one that focuses on ‘representation’, to one that considers the economic and political implications of the industry. In this paper I will suggest that consideration of pornography as a global industry needs to go further and focus on the way that it is integrated with other aspects of the sex industry. The connections between pornography and stripping are particularly strong with pornography companies; for instance, operating strip club chains internationally, and women working in both areas of the industry. Pornography creates male buyers for strip clubs and prostitution. This paper will argue that an understanding of the interconnectedness of pornography with other areas of the sex industry is an important part of the feminist critique of this harmful practice. Bio Sheila Jeffreys is a Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne in Australia, where she teaches sexual politics and international feminist politics. She is the author of 7 books on the history and politics of sexuality including The Industrial Vagina: the political economy of the global sex trade, Routledge, 2009.
To catch a curious clicker: A network analysis of the online pornography industry Jennifer A. Johnson, PhD Virginia Commonwealth University
Extending Hartman’s theory on the sexual division of labor to pornography, this research examines the political economy of the online pornography industry in order to map how the industry milled $2.6 billion dollars in 2006 predominately out of the pockets of men. The male consumer operates at the nexus of a symbiotic relationship between capitalism and patriarchy where his consumption practices reflect the way in which patriarchy defines male/female sexuality in such a way that it is amenable to capitalist exploitation. A social network analysis of reported business connections established in 2007 reveals a spider-like network that casts wide blooms of ‘gonzo’ porn to attract curious clickers and ensnare them in a web of interrelated affiliate member sites in order to ‘convert’ them into member clickers. These ‘gonzo’ porn sites attract men by playing on hegemonic masculine needs and fears and entangle them in a series of click maneuvers designed to prevent ‘leavers’ or those clickers who stop short of becoming member clickers. The pivotal point in conversion process is the affiliate website. This analysis illustrates how the online pornography industry functions at the political economic intersection of patriarchy and capitalism whereby the sexual exploitation of women is used to facilitate the economic exploitation of men. Bio Jennifer A. Johnson, PhD is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University located in Richmond, Virginia. Her current academic research focuses on using social network analysis to map the political economy of the online pornography industry in an effort to explore the intersection of patriarchy and capitalism in a postmodern society. She has done work for the U.S. department of defense conducting research on adversarial networks and currently consults for local police departments in the application of social network analysis to investigative analysis processes. Other areas of academic work include non-profit organizational networks, criminal networks and social stratification. She has published in the areas of masculinity, gender theory, social and cultural capital and the domestic division of labor.
What’s so wrong with pornography’ in the UK
Paul Johnson University of Surrey The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 introduced the new offence of ‘Possession of extreme pornographic images’ (section 63) into English law. One aspect of the framework that section 63 uses to determine which images will fall within its orbit is explicitly concerned with questions of morality: images must be deemed ‘grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character’. This paper will examine some of the justifications for, objections to, and implications of the inclusion of the moral component of section 63 and situate these arguments within long-standing debates about
the relationship between law, pornography and morality. Returning to the influential but much critiqued work of Patrick Devlin, I will argue that the framework that section 63 offers for the moral evaluation of extreme images is an imperfect but appropriate method for determining the level of social toleration for the private possession of violent pornographic imagery. In considering some of the arguments made against the moral framework, and in favour of a pure harm-based approach, I will argue that the morality component offers both a practical way of evaluating images in relation to contemporary standards of obscenity and provides a protective mechanism for limiting the scope of the law’s application. Bio Paul Johnson is Lecturer in Sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey. His research interests focus on the interrelationship between identity and social control which he has explored through a number of substantive areas, including: policing, identification and crime control; technology and surveillance; securitization and biometrics; gender and sexuality; and social class. He is the author of Love, Heterosexuality and Society (Routledge, 2005) and Genetic Policing: The Use of DNA in criminal investigations (Willan, 2008). He is currently working on socio-legal issues around morality, law and sexuality as well as undertaking research on the relationship between culture and mourning.
The Death of “Child Erotica” Mary G. Leary Catholic University of America “Child erotica”: It is a term overflowing with symbolism and potential interpretation. It is also a term utilized and mis-utilized in legal opinions and media reports with increased frequency. Notwithstanding this use, the term is highly problematic and must be revisited. The negative aspects of the term are present in a number of forms. First, the word ‘choice’ itself communicates a troubling meaning. The term “erotica” is historically a legitimate art and literature term. By linking together the words “child” and “erotica”, we create a phrase which validates the referenced material. The use of an art and literature term to refer to material which should be condemned as blatant sexual objectification, even if not legally obscene, elevates the material to an undeserving and legitimizing level. Language matters; and we should not legitimize the concept of sexually objectifying children, by utilizing such a label. Secondly, the term is far too general. While it suggests a limited reference to artistic or literary material, courts and the media have morphed the term to reference any material involving children which is considered sexual but does not meet the definition of “child pornography.” Consequently, its use merges together a vast array of images such as blatantly nude and sexual (although not legally obscene) pictures, alleged “child modeling” images, and materials with legitimate
social utility in other contexts such as educational materials and novels. This inaccurate label then diminishes the negative reality of the more severe materials. This mislabeling by courts is manifest in, and could affect the rulings of, motions to exclude evidence, sentencing hearings, and motions regarding other activity of defendants. It is also felt in society as a whole when the media puts forth a phrase suggesting there are limited times in which adults can acceptably sexually objectify and commoditize children. This paper proposes to review the history of the terms “erotica” and “child erotica.” It will then examine the use and misuse of “child erotica” in the courts and media. The paper then proposes an elimination of the use of the term “child erotica” and a replacement with more precise and distinct labels for more narrow and different types of material. Because the material at issue is legal in some nations and not in others, the paper will examine repercussions of this action on freedom of expression concerns in both such arenas. Bio Mary Graw Leary is an Associate Professor of Law at the Catholic University of America. Professor Leary has written and presented in the areas of child abuse, focusing on child sexual exploitation and family violence, in numerous outlets. Prior to teaching, Professor Leary worked directly with victims as a prosecutor on both the state and federal level. She is also the former Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse at the American Prosecutors Research Institute. She recently acted as the Head of the Delegation for the Holy See at the Third World Congress Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents. Her University biography is located at http://law.cua.edu/Fac_Staff/LearyM//index.cfm.
Defining feminist pornography as an extension of the Third Wave Rachael Liberman University of Colorado at Boulder The rise in female participation within the pornography industry has resulted in the supposed entrance of female sexual interests. While past studies have concluded that female directors depict women in a problematic fashion, attention has not been directed toward a new genre, feminist pornography. This current study analyzes the work of three self-proclaimed feminist pornography directors: Candida Royalle, Tristan Taormino, and Joanna Angel against the backdrop of feminist history. Three films from each director were viewed as part of a textual analysis that focused on depictions of pleasure, violence, and oppression. Unfortunately, these feminist pornographers failed to depict women as more empowered than generic female pornographers. This conclusion, coupled with the literature used to review the three waves of feminism, supports the claim that feminist pornography emerged as a result of the deconstructed climate of Third Wave feminism. The personalized
adoption of feminism that these female directors employ has a direct relationship with the philosophy of Third Wave feminists. Bio Rachael Liberman is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has participated in pornography studies at New York University and provided research assistance for Dr. Chyng Sun's documentary ‘The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality, and Relationships’. Her research interests include mediated constructions of sexuality, the media's role in the perpetuation of female competition, and the limits of identity construction in late capitalism.
‘The Escort Experience’: Discourses of Commercial Sex
Evangelos Liotzis University of Athens
This paper will examine how individual internet users, who actively participate in e-moves aiming at exchanging information and opinions on the sex market in general, talk about and assess their experience of having sex with particular escorts. These reviews/evaluations - posted on the biggest Greek porn portal, bourdela.tv (i.e. brothels.tv) - are indicative of the way in which concepts such as sexualization, pornographication commodification and objectification relate to the notion of sexual democratization and the vision of ‘liberated’ sex in interactive porn networks. Evidence from this discourse analysis suggests that beside and beyond the formulated ‘ideal mode of we-ness’ based on the particularistic value of a shared sex taste and aesthetic, there is a tendency to objectify and depersonalize women overall in regard of sex workers’ “sincerity of intentions” (i.e. quite the opposite of what happens for the most part with women in everyday life), which is highly appreciated by the commentators/reviewers. Bio Evangelos Liotzis is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Athens (dissertation title: “Individualization and pornography on the internet: a discourse analysis”) and holds a scholarship from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation. He received his B.A. in Political Science and his M.A. in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Athens. His current research interests focus on porn studies, contemporary theorizing and sociology of the internet.
Voices of resistance: the re-emergence of feminist anti-porn activism Julia Long London South Bank University It is recognised both within academic feminism and the popular media that whilst anti-pornography activism was a key element of radical feminist
movements of the 1970s and 1980s, this declined in the 1990s with the ascendancy of a more individualistic, liberal feminist discourse of 'empowerment' and 'choice' regarding women's participation in pornography and the sex industry. This paper examines what appears to be the reemergence of a feminist anti-pornography agenda in the context of the cultural mainstreaming of pornography. It investigates what motivates feminists involved in anti-pornography actions, the understandings and analyses of pornography that inform their campaigns, how groups organise themselves, the nature of anti-porn campaigns and activities, and what the significance of this activism might be in terms of contemporary feminism. In particular, the paper focuses on issues of motivation and the impact of participation in activism on personal biography, in order to problematise common assumptions about the relationship of young women to feminism and to illuminate the complexities of how activists develop and maintain a feminist consciousness in relation to a 'pornified' society. The paper draws on my doctoral research, in which I use qualitative methods to investigate the presence and impact of feminist anti-pornography activism in the 21st century. The research involved two ethnographic studies and twenty-three semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted amongst activists across the UK. The paper utilises social movement literature and radical feminist theory in order to develop an argument as to the meanings and significance of current feminist anti-porn activism. Bio Julia Long is a final year doctoral student at London South Bank University, and a feminist activist involved with Anti-Porn London, Object and the London Feminist Network. Prior to returning to full-time academic study, she worked in gender equality policy in the state sector, managed an HIV support organisation and taught for several years in a sixth form college. Her academic background is in English Literature and Women's Studies.
“Consuming Innocence: Children Debate”
Catharine Lumby University of New South Wales This paper will examine public concerns that children are being sexualised for the adult gaze through the lens of Australian debates. In particular, it will outline a 2008 controversy surrounding photographs of naked children taken by artist Bill Henson and explore popular and official discourses triggered by it. In broader terms, the paper will ask what is at stake in claims that sexualised images of children are proliferating and put these concerns into a culturally historical context. The paper will also examine the role of digital and online media in generating debates about children and sexualization. Bio
Professor Catharine Lumby is the Director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. She is the author and co-author of six books, including The Porn Report (Melbourne University Press, 2008) which was based on a comprehensive study of the consumption and production of pornography in Australia. Her recent research has focused on youth media consumption and debates around regulation, education and media literacy in a digital and online era.
An analysis of Brazilian regulation on pornographic advertising Cristiano Aguiar Lopes Office of Legislative Counsel and Policy Guidance in the Brazilian Parliament In contrast with the globalism and modernity of Brazilian advertising industry, its regulation is extremely weak. Since 1978, advertising in the country is mainly regulated by a self-regulation code that has been written by advertises only. As a result, Brazilian ads are believed to be more daring and harmful to children than in most other countries - sometimes, they are so daring that could be considered pornographic in many parts of the world. Besides that, more and more children are being exposed in Brazil to unregulated online advertising, including those produced by the sex industry. This paper provides an analysis of our current regulatory reality on pornographic advertising, with a special focus on the tools designed to protect special and vulnerable groups from harmful content. It also assesses the most prominent Bills regarding pornographic content that are currently under analysis in the Brazilian Federal Legislative Power. It concludes that benchmarking with international trends in pornographic content regulation is a milestone towards producing effective regulation for children Bio Senior Specialist in Communication, S&T and Informatics at the Office of Legislative Counsel and Policy Guidance in the Brazilian Parliament (since January 2005). Masters Degree in Communication by the University of Brasilia, Brazil. Professor of Media and Politics and Media Regulation (since March 2005).
A case study of the sexually explicit imagery in Romanian media Valentina Marinescu University of Bucharest The presentation try to continue the research project made on Romanian explicit imagery in media. This time we tried to provide an answer at the general research question: What are the main empirical evidences of the Romanian media patterns for sexually explicit imagery. We took as the starting point on of the conclusions at which we arrived in analyzing the general image of Romanian sexually explicit imagery in media: That of the
audience of such contents. The influence of the pornographic content on young people and children’s behaviors is at stake. Thus, according to a survey conducted in September 2007 on a sample made up of adults (parents) and children (survey conducted by Metro Media Transilvania, 2007) 13% of the children aged between 6 and 15 years old admitted to have seen a porn movie.In our opinion, it was obvious that here it remained a vast array to study and to assess in relation to sexually explicit content in the Romanian media. In order to approach this subject, we analyzed the following topics: 1. A brief introduction about Romanian opinions and attitudes towards this type of media content. The secondary analysis was made on the data resulted from the Cultural Consumption Barometer in 2008 about the consumption of sexually explicit imageries in Romania ; 2. The presentation of the empirical results of a research project made in February – May 2009 on the issue of sexually explicit imagery in Romania media. The project used the triangulation of data and methods. As the main methods of analysis we used: a. The quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the articles with sexually explicit content published in three national newspapers (”Libertatea”, “Click” and “Can-Can”) during March-April 2009. b. The survey made about the meanings of different sexually explicit images among the Romanian public. The sample has a size of 400 cases students from various Bucharest Universities and the survey was made in March-April 2009. Both statistical and discursive methods were used in analyzing the data. 3. Some considerations about the relations between the peculiarities of Romanian public consumption behaviors and media sexually explicit content. Bio Valentina Marinescu, Ph. D, Reader at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work – Bucharest University (Bucharest, Romania). She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in media and society, and methods of researching mass communication. Her interests lie in media and communication studies in Eastern Europe, particularly in Romania, and gender studies.
Does pornography damage young people? Alan McKee Queensland University of Technology In recent debates about the regulation of technologies that deliver pornographic content, the greatest concerns have been about the increasing ease with which young people can access such material.Because of the ethical difficulties in researching this topic, little data has been available on the potential harms done to young people by exposure to pornography. This paper gathers a number of sources of data that address this issue indirectly – including the results of our own survey of over 1000 consumers of pornography – to explore this issue. By comparing ages of first accessing
pornography with attitudes towards women; examining adult consumers’ recollections of first exposure; and looking at projects which have discussed non-explicit representations of sexuality with young people, we are able to address the issues of destroying innocence (it appears that innocence is a quality not possessed by children, but created and projected onto them by adults); creating negative attitudes towards women (this is not the case); and whether exposure to sexually explicit images cause sexual or relationship difficulties later in life (initial responses suggest this is not the case, but another survey is currently being run to address these issues in more detail). Bio Alan McKee was a Chief Investigator on the “Understanding Pornography in Australia” research projected funded by the Australian Research Council; and is one of the authors of The Porn Report: who makes it, who buys it, and why (Melbourne University Press, 2008). He teaches at Queensland University of Technology.
Deconstructing Sexuality: Pornography and Docility Janelle McLeod University of Manitoba Human sexuality is a product of sociocultural and historical constructs. In modern, contemporary society, pornography has emerged as the dominant form of sexual discourse, transforming the human body as an object to be manipulated, shaped, and trained. In this paper, I will argue that pornography is the vehicle for disciplinary practices that transforms human bodies into sexual bodies that are mere representations of itself. As Michel Foucault describes it in Discipline and Punish (1977), discourse does not function all by itself to produce effects of power, but rather the efficacy of discourse is tied to the systematic and calculated use of force by definite agents on definite human bodies. Modern pornographic sexual discourse is only part of a power-knowledge formation that includes subtle and often direct coercion over the body. Men acting as sexual partners extract from pornography a ‘knowledge’ of sexuality that they use to organize their personal domination over women, in order to turn women into docile bodies that learn to adopt various positions or gestures. Even though, if discipline is successful, coercion is minimized, economized, to generate the maximum effect of control through the minimum expenditure of force, a force that never disappears completely. When society is saturated with pornographic representations as a normative standard, which in turn operates as an ideal to which people ‘voluntarily’ aspire, it is only because of the operation of this efficient economy of force, which goes mostly unnoticed. Perceived as a natural, innate human characteristic, sexuality is instead a social construct where all of the body’s movement, gestures, and attitudes are manipulated, and thus obedient to a pornographic ideal of sexual experience.
Virtually Commercial Sex, Sarah Neely Sarah Neely University of Stirling This paper considers how pornography and other forms of commercial sex function within the 3D virtual world of Second Life. Set against an historical account of the porn industry in relation to technological change, I aim to distinguish the virtual world from other forms of online porn. I will focus in particular, on the way in which boundaries of production andconsumption in Second Life are blurred, thinking through modes ofparticipation and identity. As sexuality per se becomes wholly commodified (players can "purchase" designer genitalia and sex positions or acts) whatis the function of recognisably commercial "professional" sex (prostitution,pornography, stripping)? In conclusion, this paper will consider how ananalysis of the possibilities for "amateur" participation in commercial sexraises broader implications for the regulation of virtual worlds. Bio Dr Sarah Neely is a member of the Stirling Media Research Institute and a Lecturer in the department of Film, Media & Journalism at the University of Stirling. She has written on a number of areas of film adaptation including the heritage genre, adaptations of Shakespeare, and the use of classic literature in the ‘chickflick’. Her current research on commercial sex in virtual worlds will be published in Karen Boyle’s collection, Everyday Pornographies (Routledge, forthcoming).
Sites of intersectionality: Cyberporn and body geographies Pedro Pinto University of Minho The democratization of Internet resources has pushed the porn lexicons and imageries to the center of the mainstream western culture. The proliferation of new domestic technologies reinvented the apparatus of bodies’ sexualization, thus facilitating the expression of non-normative sexualities and alternative politics of desire. However, regardless of the innovative and subversive potential of cybernetics, a significant segment of cyberporn industry continues to convey a monolithic regime of representation where “sex”, “gender” and “race” play a major role. The range of recurrent “sexual” categories offered by most of the Internet porn sites suggests a biopolitical map of interdependent dominant discourses on bodily aesthetics and performativities: 18th century’s biomedical invention of sexualities (e.g. ‘anal’, ‘oral’), John Money’s gender reassignment theory of the 1950’ (e.g. ‘big dick’, ‘big tits’), and the colonialist construction of a hyper-sexuality of the “other”
(e.g. ‘Asian’, ‘interracial’). Drawing on a poststructuralist queer perspective, we aim to reflect on how mainstream porn Web pages tend to operate as sites of heteronormative and racial power intersections. In particular, by deconstructing the semiotic arrangement of three top-rated porn sites with the use foucaultian discourse analysis, we will discuss how they simultaneously function as biotechnologies of gender and of “othering”. Bio Pedro Pinto was born in Lisbon, where and he has first graduated in Anthropology. Nowadays, he is working at University of Minho, currently dedicated to his PhD project on the emergence of new sex markets in Portugal and their politics of bodies’ representation. Pedro is an anti-anti porn feminist.
Public Sex, public choice and public policy: sexist advertising under scrutiny Lauren Rosewarne University of Melbourne In this paper I will examine two media products – outdoor advertising and late-night television advertisements – examining the highly sexualised content of each and highlighting the discrepancies that exist in public policy as related to each product. Outdoor advertising is a medium where, despite the often highly sexualised content, images are displayed to an indiscriminate audience who cannot avoid their exposure. A double-standard exists with outdoor advertising where the kind of images that would be inappropriate inside workplaces (due to sexual harassment legislation) are freely displayed in public space. This paper will undertake a comparison between the images displayed in outdoor advertising and those contained in late-night television advertising where a similar sexualisation of women occurs. Television is a medium that is comparatively more highly regulated than outdoor advertising but unlike outdoor advertising is often exonerated for sexist content because of the choice that exists for audiences to “turn off”. While those offended can turn off, the burden of having to do this because of content concerns can prove socially exclusionary for a women, in a manner very similar to the social exclusion witnessed in public spaces saturated by highly sexualised outdoor advertisements. Bio Dr Lauren Rosewarne is a Lecturer in Public Policy and the Associate Director of the Centre for Public Policy at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Lauren’s first book, Sex in Public: Women, Outdoor Advertising and Public Policy was published in 2007 and her second book, Cheating on the Sisterhood: Infidelity and Feminism will be published in 2009.
The Rhetoric of Porn in Feminist and Postfeminist Art: From Critique to Complicity Sarah Smith The Glasgow School of Art Thanks to the illuminating writing of scholars such as Diane Negra and Angela McRobbie, we are beginning to understand the prevalence of postfeminist address in the media, part of which is a mainstreaming of pornography. Although we might suppose that contemporary art provides a complementary site of critique that challenges popular representations of women, in fact postfeminist expressions have acquired a rather celebrated and ‘glamorous’ position within recent art practice and a substantial body of this work involves various appropriations of pornographic images in art by women. This paper focuses on the prominence of porn imagery in art practice by women since the 1990s, proposing that despite its close resemblance, such work represents a broad spectrum of positions that range from the critical (feminist) to the complicit (postfeminist). From Ghada Amer’s highly mediated canvases that use stitching to produce overlaid drawings of typical porn poses, to Natacha Merritt’s ‘adult-oriented’ online digital photographs of herself and others, distinguished women artists are directly enlisting the rhetoric of porn, yet there is a disquieting reluctance on the part of art criticism to problematise this work. Drawing on the theses of Negra and McRobbie and feminist writings on parody (Rubin Suleiman, 1990; Hutcheon, 2002), this paper investigates the criticality of these artworks in order to elucidate pervasive postfeminist articulations in contemporary art. Bio Dr Sarah Smith is a Lecturer in the Department of Historical and Critical Studies at The Glasgow School of Art. Her research interests are in experimental cinema, and feminist art and she is currently working on a number of separate projects, which include visual representations of contemporary Irishness and the role of pornographic imagery in contemporary art by women.
Ksusha’s Story Sue Sudbury Bournemouth University This presentation will include a screening of Ksusha’s Story, a 15 minute film which gives a unique insight into the workings of the global pornography complex. Born in Russia in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down, Ksusha’s life has been shaped by the ensuing globalisation of work and, in
particular, ‘sex work’. She entered prostitution at the age of 17 to help fund her studies and was then trafficked. Ksusha describes the inhumane conditions she and the other girls were kept in and talks of how she was rescued. She was then asked by the police to become an undercover spy and by secretly filming on her mobile phone, managed to expose an internet porn site. The site, based in St Petersburg, was accessed mainly by men in Britain, America and Australia and used babies and young girls. Sue will talk about how this film came to be made and her work with the International Organisation for Migration in Moscow. They have set up the first ever Safe House for the rehabilitation of victims of sex trafficking and after two research trips to Russia, Sue made this film, Ksusha’s Story. Bio Sue Sudbury is a documentary filmmaker and Senior Lecturer in the Media School at Bournemouth University. Before becoming an academic, she worked for many years as a documentary director in British television. She has recently registered for a practice-based PhD and is interested in collaborative research projects on womens’ issues and participatory cinema.
Not A Love Story: Framing the Canadian Sex Crisis Rebecca Sullivan University of Calgary In 1981, a documentary from NFB’s feminist Studio D portrayed the silencing effects of violent pornography on women. The film followed a stripper, Linda Lee Tracey (aka “Fonda Peters”) on a road of self-discovery, strategically managed by director Bonnie Sherr Klein, that ultimately results in her shame at participating in the sex trade. The film was widely criticized for a seemingly condescending and controlling attitude toward its main protagonist, as well as a heavy-handed approach to the issue of pornography while maintaining a narrow focus on representational issues, and ignoring political economic concerns. This documentary offers a key moment in what has been termed the “sex crisis” debate which pitted “anti-porn” and “anticensorship” feminists against each other. It culminated in 1992 with the Supreme Court decision R. v. Butler, which found that violent pornography constituted harm toward women in Canadian society. What happened next was unexpected and deeply troubling: the new law was used to target predominantly gay and lesbian communities, most notably Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto and Little Sisters Bookstore in Vancouver. The purpose of this paper is to offer some archival and historical response to the roots of Canadian legislation on obscenity in cultural materials and their framing within the cultural sector more generally. It sets out to critique a framework of the porn debate that focused largely on questions of consumption and representation, rather than political economic concerns of industry, labour, and regulation.
Bio Rebecca Sullivan is an Associate Professor specializing in feminist media studies at the University of Calgary. Her work focuses on the intersections between sexuality, spirituality and science. She is the author of Visual Habits: Nuns, Feminism and American Postwar Popular Culture, and the Co-author of Canadian Television Today (with Bart Beaty) and Making Biocitizens (with Neil Gerlach, Sheryl Hamilton and Priscilla Walton).
The pornification of popular culture in Australia and the movement against it Melinda Tankard Reist Women’s Forum Australia Young women today are living in a dangerous, sexually brutalised environment. The media and popular culture are saturated with sexual messaging. Girls are legitimised as sexual beings at younger ages, pressured to conform to a ‘thin, hot, sexy’ norm. Clothing, music, magazines and even the toys marketed to them, tell girls they are merely the sum of their sexual parts. The effects of prematurely sexualising girls are borne out in their bodies and minds, with a rise in self-destructive behaviours, self-harm, excessive dieting, eating disorders, binge drinking, anxiety and depression. The symbols, icons and imagery of pornography have become embedded and mainstreamed into the culture, with growing numbers of boys taking their cues for behaviour with girls from pornographic representations of sexuality. In this presentation, I will take conference participants on a visual cultural tour of the images bombarding young people on a daily basis. I will discuss some small victories in Australia and support a new united strategy for women and girl advocacy which brings corporations, popular culture and the sex industry to account for creating this toxic environment. Bio Melinda Tankard Reist is an Australian author, advocate and commentator on issues affecting women. A founding director of Women’s Forum Australia, an independent women’s think tank, she is editor of WFA’s magazine-style research paper ‘Faking it: The image of women in young women’s magazines’ and is working on a new book about girls and popular culture to be published by Spinifex Press.
Child pornography on the internet and policy questions. The Greek case. Panayiota Tsatsou Swansee University
An increasingly frequent discussion is taking place these days about the risks and opportunities for children who use online and networked technologies. One of the risks that have acquired a particular importance on the public agenda is that concerning the existence of online child pornographic content. This paper examines the risk of child pornography on the internet and looks at questions and challenges arising for policy-makers in Greece. Greece arguably belongs to the ‘semi-periphery’ paradigm, where late-late industrialisation and early parliamentarism have emerged, leading to inconsistent functioning of politics and civil society, as well as to an extremely slow development of technologies in the country. Although Greece is a long-standing EU member state with one of the highest national development rates across the EU today, it has one of the lowest penetration rates of internet and new technologies, in the general population as well as among minors (children and teenagers). Also, in Greece there is lack of national data on children’s use of the internet, and a divergence from other EU member states with regard to parents’ assessment of online risks for children and to the relevant rules set within the household. These particularities, as well as the fact that online child pornography makes headlines in the Greek media and propagates a rhetoric of moral panic, pose serious challenges for the ways in which policy and regulation in the field respond. This paper assesses critically the policy and regulatory frameworks in Greece, pointing in particular to the reactive character of the former and the suppressive character of the latter. It also provides a preliminary series of recommendations with regard to the gaps in public awareness and literacy which Greek policy and regulation in the field need to address more efficiently. The paper provides an analytical overview of policy questions arising in Greece with regard to child pornography online, while more indepth and empirically rich research continues to be needed. Bio Panayiota Tsatsou is a Lecturer in Media and Communications at Swansea University. She is involved in the COST Action 298, participating in research on broadband society and human actors as e-users. She has conducted research on EU regulation and policy for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) as part of the EU FP6 project DBE. Also, she has been involved in the OPAALS, a multi-disciplinary network of research excellence, where she has examined Community Currencies in Digital Ecosystems. She has been a member of the thematic network, EU Kids Online, for the EC’s Safe Internet Plus programme. Previously she was a Tutorial Fellow at the LSE and she contributed to teaching media and communications at the undergraduate and postgraduate level of study in Greece and in the UK respectively.
The Medical Authority of Pornography Meagan Tyler University of Melbourne
The increasing influence of pornography in popular culture, often termed ‘pornification’, is now becoming recognised in a variety of academic literature. Despite this growing attention, there is very little understanding of how medicine, and in particular the sub-branches of sexology and sex therapy, are becoming ‘pornified’. This paper aims to address the gap by exploring the use of pornography in contemporary sex therapy and sex advice literature. The recommendation to watch pornography frequently appears in sexological works which would typically be considered legitimate and even medically authoritative and a number of respected experts now encourage couples to directly mimic pornography in their own sex lives. Suggestions include the adoption of bondage and sadomasochist practices and heightening sexual arousal through verbal abuse. An examination of this sex advice literature shows that women are often expected to sacrifice their emotional and physical comfort to sexually satisfy men, yet it is this model which is being promoted by therapists as ideal. It is contended that the promotion of pornography through sexology and sex therapy is affording the pornography industry an increasing legitimacy which has contributed to pornography becoming seen as a cultural authority on issues of sexuality. Bio Meagan Tyler recently completed her PhD in the School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Melbourne, Australia. Her thesis was titled ‘Active Service: The pornographic and sexological construction of women’s sexuality in the West.’ She has published work in Women’s Studies International Forum and Women & Therapy.
From Jekyll to Hyde: How the Porn Industry Grooms Male Consumers Rebecca Whisnant University of Dayton Recent research has documented the prevalence of violence, humiliation and aggression against women in contemporary mainstream pornography aimed at heterosexual men and boys. Since most men and boys are not sociopaths, it seems likely that some male consumers experience ethical qualms upon encountering such material. Such qualms could lead consumers to reject either the particular material in question or pornography as a whole. Thus, in order to keep profiting from the male consumer, the industry must find ways to quash whatever ethical concerns they may have: the consumer must be efficiently and effectively groomed to accept sexual dominance and sadism against women. Some such grooming techniques have long been the focus of feminist analysis: for instance, gradual desensitization and portraying the women in pornography as craving pain and humiliation. After reviewing these more familiar points, this presentation will focus primarily not on how pornography encourages male consumers to see women, but on how it encourages them to see themselves. Prominent techniques for breaking down and overriding
consumers’ ethical boundaries include male-bonding appeals, humor and joking, catering to anxious masculinity, and encouraging self-fragmentation. As a result of such efforts on the part of pornography producers and distributors, the male porn user becomes both abuser and abused, both consumer and consumed. Bio Rebecca Whisnant is associate professor of philosophy and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Dayton. She is co-editor (with Christine Stark) of Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography and (with Peggy DesAutels) of Global Feminist Ethics.
Special panel: Complicating the debates about the ‘pornification’ or ‘sexualisation’ of culture Convenor Rosalind Gill This symposium brings together papers that seek to pause and reflect – in different ways – on the assumption that we are seeing a ‘pornification’ or ‘sexualisation’ of culture, and what the implications of any shifts might be. 1.Putting pornification and the sexual commodification of girls on the UK educational policy ‘Gender Agenda’ Jessica Ringrose, Institute of Education, University of London This paper focuses on unpacking the contradictions between the fantastical UK educational policy figure of the high achieving ‘successful girl’ (Ringrose, 2007) who is positioned as a de-sexualized, rational, ideal learner (Youdell, 2006), and the commercial, ‘post-feminist’ regime of ‘hyper-sexualized’ (Gill, 2007, 2008) and ‘pornified’ (Levy, 2005) visual, popular culture, which has intensified the sexual commodification, objectification and regulation of girls bodies. To illustrate the normative and dominant ‘pornified’ visual contexts teens must navigate on a daily basis, I draw on data from a qualitative study in two schools exploring teens’ (aged 14-16) negotiations of social networking sites (SNSs), which are increasingly mandatory affective spaces of peer relationships and intimacy (boyd, 2008). I explore how girls perform and negotiate gendered/sexualized identities on the SNS Bebo, and how they discuss their SNSs in interview narratives. My findings suggest that a contemporary postfeminist, hypersexualized media culture (Gill, 2007, 2008) is dominant in the visual culture of Bebo, and I argue SNSs create new spaces for (hetero)sexism, objectification and a masculinized gaze. Theoretically I will argue girls are ‘interpellated’ and 'subjectified’ (Butler, 1993) via ‘porno-chic’ discourses (McRobbie, 2004) on SNSs. But I also explore how girls’ appropriate, rework and “resignify” (Hey,
2006) processes of (hetero)hypersexualization, pornification and masculinized gaze in complex ways through several case study examples.
I conclude by arguing that issues of increasing pornification and intensified sexual commodification of girls’ bodies need to be reconstituted as important gender equity issues by teachers, parents and the wider community. The ‘Gender Equality Duty’, is one policy mandate through which issues of pornification and ‘cultural harm’ (McGlynn and Rackley, 2009) at work and school, could be brought forward as a crucial issue for public debate. These issues need to also be fore-grounded in the DCSF educational policy ‘Gender Agenda.’ By bringing feminist analyses of power and sexuality back into the educational policy ‘Gender Agenda’, it may be possible to find new spaces in school curriculum to broaden the limited scope of sexual, relationship, ‘bullying’, and media literacy in schools today. 2.“Too young to understand”? Children and ‘sexualised’ media Sara Bragg, Open University This paper will look at the responses of younger children to ‘sexualised’ media material. Drawing on empirical research with young people, it will explore how children speak back to the public debates that position them as the victims of ‘inappropriate’ media images, constructing themselves instead as competent, self-aware media consumers. The paper will discuss some of the complexities and contradictions thereby engendered, for young people themselves, for media literacy and for regulation. 3. altpornification: porn cultures and new online sex media Feona Attwood, Sheffield Hallam University The terms ‘pornographication’ or ‘pornification’ have been used to describe the proliferation of pornographic iconography, style and aesthetics in mainstream culture (McNair, 1996; Paasonen et al, 2007), part of a widespread contemporary fascination with sex and the sexually explicit. Some popular writings have seen this process as a form of cultural standardization in which sexual imitation and performance come to stand in for desire and pleasure (Levy, 2006), crowding out more positive forms of sexual expression and promoting ‘shame, humiliation, solitude, coldness, and degradation’ (Paul, 2005: 275). This paper examines some of the new sexually explicit representations that have emerged online, for example in altporn, subcultural and countercultural erotica, and contemporary pinup sites. It asks to what extent these can be seen as forms of pornified mainstream culture, and to what extent they represent new forms of pornography. How can we understand them in relation of the traditional divisions between restricted and mainstream forms of cultural production? How do they complicate our understanding of ‘porn cultures’ and the processes of cultural sexualization? 4. The Sex Inspectors’: Porn culture and sexual failure
Laura Harvey, Open University Debates about the sexualisation of culture have picked apart the complex processes involved in the increasing visibility and ‘mainstreaming’ of pornography in the popular media (McNair, 1996; Attwood, 2006). Part of this apparent ‘democratisation’ (McNair, 1996) of sexually explicit culture is the wider availability and consumption of materials and information about sex. Sex ‘self help’ is a fast growing industry, in which the ‘science’ of sex (Tyler, 2008) is disseminated to individuals in order to help them construct the ‘best’ sexual selves within a neoliberal discourse of ‘self-improvement and entrepreneurialism’ (Tyler, 2004). The Sex Inspectors, which aired three series in the UK on Channel 4, combined the language of the sex self help genre with the makeover genre to produce episodes in which the sexual behaviour of a new couple each week would be observed on camera, echoing the growth of ‘home made’ pornography on multimedia sites such as YouTube. This paper will examine the role of the expert in normalising discourses of ‘great sex’. Who is entitled to have ‘great sex’? How do power dynamics of class, ethnicity, disability, gender role, age and sexuality play out in the ‘soft porn’ of The Sex Inspectors? What does it mean for a sexual subject if they fail to achieve the perfect, pornified (Levy, 2005) performance for the allseeing, all-knowing sexperts? 5. Beyond the ‘sexualisation of culture’ thesis: an intersectional analysis Rosalind Gill, Open University This paper argues that the notion of the 'sexualization of culture' is too general to be a useful conceptual tool. The article has two main objectives. First, it seeks to interrogate the notion of 'sexualization' as a way of understanding the proliferation of sexually explicit imagery within contemporary advertising. Rather than taking up a position 'for' or 'against' 'sexualization' (in the familiar way), it seeks to open up the notion in order to explore the diverse practices which are commonly grouped together under this heading. Using advertising as an example, it argues that 'sexualization' is far from being a singular or homogenous process, that different people are 'sexualized' in different ways and with different meanings -- and indeed that many remain excluded from what has been called the 'democratization of desire' operating in visual culture. Secondly, the paper develops a feminist intersectional analysis to critically read some of the different ways in which advertising might be said to be sexualised. It looks at three different and contrasting, but easily recognizable 'figures' within contemporary advertising: the good-looking male 'sixpack', the sexually agentic heterosexual 'midriff' and the 'hot lesbian', usually intertwined with her beautiful double or Other. The aim is to highlight the point that sexualization does not operate outside of processes of gendering, racialisation and classing, and works within a visual economy that remains profoundly ageist and heteronormative. The
paper argues that an attention to differences is crucial to understanding the phenomena, practices and scopic regimes that are often lumped together under the heading 'sexualisation of culture'. Bios Feona Attwood teaches Media and Communication Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Her current work focuses on controversial images and online sexualities. She is the editor of Mainstreaming Sex: The Sexualization of Western Culture (2009) and is currently completing a book about online pornographies. Sara Bragg is Research Fellow in Child and Youth Studies, at the Open University, and co-author with David Buckingham of ‘Young People Sex and the Media: the facts of life?’ (2004). Rosalind Gill is Professor of Subjectivity and Cultural Analysis at The Open University. She previously worked for 10 years at the LSE’s Gender Institute. She is author of Gender and the Media (Polity, 2007), co-editor with Roisin Ryan Flood of Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections (Routledge, 2009) and is currently writing a book about mediated intimacy. Laura Harvey is a doctoral student at the Open University. Her work examines the relationship between sexual behaviours, attitudes and media representations. Jessica Ringrose is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Education and has written extensively about girls, young people, and sexualised culture.