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Archive for the ‘Pornography & sex shops’ Category

staystrongNikki Godden, Newcastle Law School

(Image from Stop Revenge Porn Scotland Campaign)

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, has announced that the Government is ‘very open to having a serious discussion’ about the problem of revenge porn, in response to the call from Maria Miller, former Culture Secretary, for a change in the law to address the ‘appalling’ practice ( Justice Questions, House of Commons, 1 July 2014 : Column 745). This ‘appalling’ practice, whereby men (most commonly) distribute intimate and sexual images or videos of women (usually partners or ex-partners) on the internet without consent, is becoming more prevalent in the UK. And the effects of revenge porn upon its victims can be significant. Media reports highlight that victims have experienced personal and professional degradation and humiliation which have, in some cases, led to suicide.

The gender dimensions to revenge porn cannot be ignored. First, revenge porn is typically not an isolated abusive incident in a relationship but rather is one – albeit relatively new – method of control and violation in a wider context of domestic violence (see Scottish Women’s Aid’s Briefing Stop Revenge Porn on this point). Secondly, the fact that it is by far more common for men to distribute images/videos of women and girls contributes to and entrenches the sexual objectification of women, the sexualisation of young people, and gender inequality more generally. As such, it is important that the Government address this growing problem. It seems that the way it will do so is to consider creating a new criminal offence, or amending existing sexual offences to capture all instances where pornography is distributed without the subject’s consent. However, while further criminalisation may be helpful, the focus should be on preventing revenge porn by better regulating internet behaviour, which is a dimension of resolving this developing problem that has typically been absent from public discussions and proposed responses. (more…)

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IB imageVolume 21 of Inherently Brief is brought to you by the School of Law, University of Manchester, England, UK.

‘You can’t be pro-choice only when you like the choice’

Hannah Farrington, University of Manchester

British Pregnancy Advisory Service chief executive Ann Furedi has recently spoken out against criticisms levelled at the Crown Prosecution Service after they refused to prosecute doctors who appeared to agree to sex-selective abortions when approached by undercover journalists from the Daily Telegraph. High profile politicians including Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, have expressed their disapproval of the CPS decision, but Furedi is adamant that there is no need for a change in the law.

In her article for libertarian online magazine Spiked, Furedi writes that sex-selective abortions are in fact legal in certain circumstances. Under the Abortion Act 1967 a doctor is permitted to decide whether or not to proceed with an abortion based on how continuing with a pregnancy will affect the health (including mental health) of the pregnant woman, regardless of any specific reasons she may have. As such, Furedi points out, where such an impact on health is found, abortion on the grounds of the sex of the foetus is no more illegal than abortion on the grounds of rape, or that the pregnant woman is thirteen years old. (more…)

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judeJude Roberts has recently completed a PhD at the University of Nottingham on the Culture novels of Iain M Banks. Jude teaches at Birkbeck College and tweets at @tangendentalism.

Jude recently appeared on Newsnight as part of a panel discussing pornography. A full clip of the show is featured at the end of this post. She writes here on pornography, sex and being labelled Jude Roberts – porn user.

 

I’m happy to be labelled a ‘porn user’. I am a user of porn. Although the connotations of the word ‘user’ are somewhat unnecessary. I use porn in the same way I use other forms of culture – for stimulation and entertainment. These, after all, are what culture is for. And make no mistake, porn is a form of culture, just like any other. Just like TV, films, books, computer games, theatre and the visual arts, porn reflects and reflects on the ideas, concerns and attitudes of the culture in which it’s produced.

So why do we treat it so differently? Porn is held to a far higher standard in its representation of women in particular than any other form of cultural expression. Much of the representation of women in porn is incredibly poor, misogynist and cliché and in no way whatsoever do I defend it from those who say that that is unacceptable and must change. Similarly, much mainstream porn is utterly, unbearably racist and this too is intolerable and must change. But these criticisms, so often directed at porn, could so easily be directed at other forms of culture too. The representation of women in so-called ‘torture porn’ films like Hostel and Saw involves precisely the same objectification of the suffering female body and rather than ending with the objectifying ‘money shot’ end with women’s bodies literally cut up into pieces.

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ComputerHolly Dustin is Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition and Fiona Elvines is the Operations Coordinator of Rape Crisis South London.

The following slides were presented by Holly and Fiona at the ‘Criminalising Extreme Pornography: Five Years On‘ seminar in Durham University on the 8th May 2013. For further information about the End Violence Against Women Coalition’s campaign to prevent violence against women and girls, read their report ‘Deeds or Words?’ released yesterday, and their letter to the Prime Minister urging him to take action.

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ComputerHildur Fjóla Antonsdóttir is a human rights and gender expert at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research, University of Iceland.

Iceland has recently proposed changing its laws on pornography. The Committee on Criminal Legislation at the Ministry of the Interior in Iceland is preparing a Bill with the aim of narrowing the legal definition of pornography; and an additional committee is charged with exploring how the law can be implemented, especially in relation to on-line material.

Before the 90s, pornography in Iceland had been in the form of a few imported magazines, like Hustler and Playboy, as well as behind-the-counter videotapes in specific video rental stores. Although prostitution existed, there has never been a tradition of street-prostitution in Iceland or specific neighbourhoods where prostitution was available. In addition, strip-clubs did not exist in Iceland prior to the mid-90s. Pornography was, and is, illegal – Act 210 in the Penal Code stipulates that it is illegal to publish, import, sell, hand out, or distribute pornographic material, or to hold a public lecture or play which is similarly “immoral”. Prostitution, as a main occupation, was illegal according to the Penal Code, and it was illegal to make money off prostitution as a third party (pimping). There was, however, no specific legislation addressing the running of strip-clubs.

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Computer

Alex Dymock is a PhD candidate at the University of Reading. Her thesis is entitled: ‘Abject Intimacies: Disgust, Sexuality and UK Law’. Alex tweets at @lexingtondymock

Five years since the extreme pornography provisions were passed as law, Durham Law School invited me to give a position paper on the provisions, assessing their effectiveness and suggesting ways in which I would like to see the law reformed.  The following weekend, the new CPS guidelines on the application of the law – formerly taken down in the aftermath of Simon Walsh’s acquittal – were released, which give the appearance of attempting to take a number of concerns about its previous interpretation into account.  While these new guidelines do seem to tighten up definitions of ‘likelihood of risk of harm’, so as to exclude depictions of consensual sadomasochism as far as possible, my own position on the current law is that it should be entirely abolished.  I defended this position on two grounds.

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ComputerErika Rackley and Clare McGlynn (Durham University) have written widely on extreme pornography. You can read more about their research here and here.

In May 2008, following a 3 year period of extensive consultation and against a backdrop of significant and predominantly critical public debate, a new offence criminalising the possession of extreme pornography received its Royal Assent. The Government’s purpose in introducing the new law was to address an ‘increasing public concern’ about the availability of extreme pornography particularly that produced outside the UK and distributed via the internet which lay beyond the reach of the Obscene Publications Act 1959. It did so by shifting the focus from the producers to consumers – targeting the users of pornographic material by enabling prosecutions to be brought, for the first time, against anyone downloading, and therefore generating the demand for, such material.

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ComputerWelcome to Inherently Human’s Blog Carnival, ‘Criminalising Extreme Pornography: Five Years On’.

This Blog Carnival follows from the ‘Criminalising Extreme Pornography: Five Years On’ seminar which took place on 8th May 2013 at Durham University, marking five years since the passage of legislation criminalising the possession of extreme pornography. The seminar brought together academics, activists, policy-makers and other regulatory authorities to evaluate the success or failure of the legislation and to ask what, if any, reforms are necessary to secure progress toward this objective. Delegates were encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #EP5 (more…)

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Bodies of Law / Law and the Body

An interdisciplinary conference for postgraduate and early-career academics in the area of law, gender and sexuality

Friday 30 March 2012

School of Law, University of Westminster, London, UK

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Law mediates various power structures and is interwoven with numerous other knowledges that participate in the construction, normalization and regulation of bodies, such as medicine, social media, religion and the nation-state. Numerous feminist legal scholars have commented on law’s intimate relationship to, for example, medical discourses, arguing that the shape of legal power has changed to more regulatory and disciplinary forms. Inevitably law’s relationship to bodies/states of embodiment alters as it takes on these increasingly pervasive roles. One might conclude that the notion of a space where the law will not intervene is a liberal fantasy, out of step with the reality of law’s operations. How, then, should law be evaluated and/or harnessed?

Our interdisciplinary one-day workshop aims to cover these and other issues pertaining to law and the body.

Venue – Room CLG.09, New Cavendish Site, 115 New Cavendish St, University of Westminster http://www.westminster.ac.uk/about-us/visit-us/directions/cavendish

Conference fees – £15; includes lunch and refreshments

Registration– registration closes 20/03/12.  Places are limited. Please click link and follow on screen payment instructions https://epayments.westminster.ac.uk/webpublicecs/newpay.asp

Further information – please see our website at http://clgs-pecans.org.uk/ or contact Nikki Godden at n.m.godden@durham.ac.uk

Download the programme here: PECANS 2012 Provisional programme

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Amber Martin

(School of Geography, University of Nottingham)

Sex shops in the UK have traditionally been viewed as masculinised consumption spaces, visited in the margins of both the city and the clock (in decaying urban zones, hidden from view and visited under the cover of darkness). But in recent years, more and more new sex shops are appearing on our high streets – such as Ann Summers and Coco de Mer – which are constructed as ‘feminised sexual consumption spaces’. Rather than being seen as seedy spaces in dangerous back streets, they are presented as light, fun, acceptable and safe, and above all spaces for females to explore their sexualities. (more…)

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