Posts Tagged ‘legal regulation of pornography’

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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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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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


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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