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Pornographic Permutations

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The article provides a response to comments from Lisa Henderson directed to myself, in relation to my short opening paper delivered at the International Communications Association Conference in 2007. Henderson queried an over-hasty condemnation on my own part of the hypersexualisation of contemporary young women's commercial culture and the mainstreaming of pornography as sex entertainment. Henderson encouraged me to revise the paper, and here I argue that current pornographic permutations, within a liberalising discourse which celebrates the newfound freedom of young women to participate, there are nevertheless new modalities of exclusion and a seeming shoring up of the heterosexual matrix. At the same time within this more relaxed matrix of heterosexuality there are generation-based tensions and evasions and undesignated same-sex desires which refuse the labels of gay, queer or lesbian, as political, or as belonging to previous generations. This whole terrain requires that feminists return to the anti-censorship and pro-sex writing from the 1980s and 1990s, with a view to update and re-conceptualisation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Goldsmiths College, London, UK

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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