Panel Discussion - Porn Down Under: The Politics of Consumption, Pleasure and Regulation

30 October 2019
Simmonds Lecture Theatre, General Purpose Building 3, Myers Street, UWA
General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni

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Image of Prof Alan Mckee 

Porn Down Under: The Politics of Consumption, Pleasure and Regulation

Join us for this special panel discussion that will consider the role of pornography in contemporary Australia.

“Gagging for It”: Geographies of ‘Straight’ and ‘Queer’ Online Porn Consumption in Australia
Associate Professor Paul J. Maginn, Urban/Regional Planning, The University of Western Australia

Australia ranks amongst the ‘top 10’ consumers of online pornography according to Pornhub, one of the world’s leading providers of online pornography. Notably, however, relatively little is known about the temporal and spatial trends in online porn consumption at finer spatial scales. This introductory presentation will provide an overview of the (i) temporal and (ii) spatial aspects of online porn consumption within Australia. Drawing on two custom datasets the ‘pornocratic condition’ within Australia will be explored by highlighting the volume of traffic, type of device used, category of porn viewed, adult performer preferences, average duration of time viewing heterosexual and queer porn at the national, state and city/town level.

Paul Maginn is an urban planner/geographer with research interests in the following areas: (i) strategic metropolitan planning and planning reform; (ii) qualitative methods in urban/housing policy; (iii) urban politics and local government; (iv) social and cultural aspects of suburbia; (v) geographies and regulation of the sex industry; and (vi) online porn consumption.

We Went Looking for Pleasure but we Found Satisfaction
Professor Alan McKee, Associate Dean (Research and Development), University of Technology Sydney.

Anti-pornography groups are increasingly seeking to have pornography declared as a public health crisis, in order to open up new avenues for censorship. But there remains uncertainty about the effects of pornography on audiences; in particular, different disciplines have reached very different points of consensus about the forms and uses of pornography. As one part of a multidisciplinary review of academic writing about pornography we searched for research about the relationship between consuming pornography and having a pleasurable sex life. The results of this project suggest that academic writing about pornography fails to embrace the importance of pleasure and keep sliding back into a heteronormative framework for thinking about sex.

Alan McKee is an expert on entertainment and healthy sexual development. He is co-author of Pornography: structures agency and performance (Polity, 2015) and co-author of The Porn Report (2008), the first major ARC-funded project to examine pornography use and attitudes in Australia. Professor McKee is a 2019 UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.

Alternative Pornographies, Regulatory Fantasies and Resistance Politics
Dr Zahra Stardust, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales

Alternative pornographies position themselves as contributing to a revolutionary and democratising social and political movement, with the capacity to change our relationships to sex via interventions in the representational and production practices of porn. Meanwhile, current trends in regulation focus upon preventing minors’ ‘exposure’ to pornography, prohibiting ‘extreme pornography’, and compulsory condom use. Australia has a world-renowned queer and feminist porn movement, but onerous criminal, classification and customs legislation restrict its production, screening and sale. This presentation, based on Dr Stardust’s PhD research, will consider the aspirations and limitations of alternative pornographies in the current regulatory framework and will explore whether they could inform a better approach. Dr Stardust’s research is based on a mixed methods approach that includes in-depth interview, auto-ethnographic research (performing in and producing pornography); a critical review of legislation and case law; and, archival research. In short, she argues, alternative pornographies practice a prefigurative politics, pioneering ethical processes that emphasise performer-centred care, informed consent, collaborative decision-making, transparency, accountability, and joint ownership.

Zahra Stardust is a socio-legal researcher whose work is concerned with intersections between criminal law, sexuality, labour and justice. Zahra has fifteen years’ experience working on social justice and human rights issues with community organisations, NGOs andUN bodies.
Dr Stardust is a 2019 UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.