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Degradation or Empowerment? Challenging Stereotypes About Women in Porn (Women in Porn)
Date du début: 1 sept. 2013, Date de fin: 28 févr. 2015 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

This project aims to analyse the relation between women and (audio-visual) pornography. Since its emergence into the public sphere as a “legitimate” (i.e. not illegal) cultural form during the 1970s, pornography has alternatively been regarded as demeaning and harmful or, on the contrary, as empowering and liberating for women – at a symbolic as well as material level. On one hand, feminist anti-porn campaigns – such as those led by C. MacKinnon and A. Dworkin during the 1980s – stated the existence of a destructive illocutory power of porn representations on women’s life; on the other, feminist pro-porn theorists, as well as porn performers and directors have hailed the appearance of pornography within more public space as a means to the accomplishment of women’s sexual consciousness and freedom. These two positions share an essentialist approach to pornography, which is often considered as devoid of generic/stylistic specificities or historical/geographical developments, as well as a similar attitude towards the audience, whose capability to engage in “active reading” practices is nearly underestimated. My research project intends to test the taken-for-granted concepts of degradation and empowerment and their place in discussions of women in contemporary pornography. First of all, I will investigate the discursive strategies through which pornographic texts are organized and attempt to produce meaning, in order to better define women’s representational status within pornography. Then, I will focus on audiences, trying to understand how different types of spectators engage with and reprocess diverse pornographic materials. Lastly, I will analyse the ways in which women have made their work careers within commercial pornography. From this research work, I expect to be able to provide an exhaustive analysis of the status of women within contemporary (audio-visual) pornography, trying to go past stereotypical assumptions, whether negative or positive.