Policy, politics and porn

Clarissa Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

As the UK moves towards the implementation of age verification standards to limit access to pornographic websites, and MPs1 push for further and more expansive regulation, it might be useful to reflect on the kinds of arguments and research currently having greatest purchase in policy arenas. This is not necessarily to critique those arguments in detail, there isn’t space here to do that, but to draw attention to the fact that in the two decades that Sexualities has been publishing fascinating research, seemingly very little of that has translated into policy-directed activities. Despite the proliferation of researches which have emphasized the ways sexual representations and entertainments might challenge puritanical constructions of appropriate sexuality, the public narratives of pornography and other forms of mediated/monetized sex remain simplistically tied to notions of harm (particularly intensely regressive notions of harm) and effects. Policy research remains narrowly focused on presenting evidence that confirms the need for legislation and increasingly, and quite worryingly, some avowedly feminist academics, advocates and policy makers appear ever more wedded to the idea of turning to law as the main means of addressing sexual inequalities through curtailing access to images.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1359
Number of pages9
JournalSexualities
Volume21
Issue number8
Early online date4 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

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