Conference Announcement: Pornography and Pop Culture: Reframing Theory, Re-thinking Activism

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Wheelock College in Boston announces a conference on “Pornography and Pop Culture: Reframing Theory, Re-thinking Activism,” to be held at Wheelock March 23-25, 2007.

The so-called “porn wars” that were fought over the feminist critique of contemporary mass-marketed pornography derailed important academic and activist work. It is time to move on by reframing our thinking on pornography, especially in light of the important changes that have occurred in both technology and pop culture over the past two decades. In the world of the internet, cell phone porn, Howard Stern and “Girls Gone Wild,” the central insights of the critical feminist perspective are more important than ever. What was once called soft-core pornography has become the norm in mainstream pop culture, while hard-core porn has become increasingly accepted and increasingly misogynistic. What do such economic and cultural shifts mean for feminist theory and activism, and how can we rebuild a vibrant feminist movement that addresses the harms of misogynist images that help define our culture, our visual landscape and our sexuality?

These issues will be addressed at a national conference on March 23-25, 2007, at Wheelock College in Boston. Titled “Pornography and Pop Culture: Reframing Theory, Rethinking Activism,” this conference will (1) feature recent feminist theory and research on pornography, prostitution and pop culture, and (2) provide space for collaborative discussion on how we can prepare the ground for building a broad-based, energized and vibrant feminist movement that can address the harms of pornographic images in the context of a more general political and cultural crisis.

The full conference schedule and registration details are here.

– Posted by Bridget Crawford

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0 Responses to Conference Announcement: Pornography and Pop Culture: Reframing Theory, Re-thinking Activism

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    Letter to the Editor Regarding Feminist Anti-Porn Conference

    We read the agenda and overview for the “Pornography and Pop Culture: Reframing Theory, Re-Thinking Activism” Conference, which is scheduled from March 23-25, 2007 at Wheelock College in Boston. We are deeply concerned by the rigid ways in which the complex issues of feminism and pornography are portrayed. In the broader society as well as within academic and feminist frameworks, there is a lot of disagreement about the extent to which pornography reflects and promotes sexism and violence.
    Though this conference is about pornography, none of the presenters on the agenda are performers in the pornography industry. Various important voices are excluded from the list of presenters, such as sex workers, feminists and scholars with opposing views about pornography, and advocates for the legitimization of consensual sex work.
    Furthermore, the genre called “feminist pornography” is not included on the agenda. This genre of pornography is inspired by feminist principles, such as gender equality, bodily freedom, and mutual sexual pleasure. Women play a major role in producing this genre of pornography, so this genre is not produced just by men for a predominately male target audience.
    We realize that various types of activism occurs on college campuses and encourage this, but there is a difference between a group using a college simply as a venue for activism and a college actually presenting a conference on a controversial issue, such as pornography, in a very biased manner. Because the website to this feminist anti-pornography conference has a Wheelock College domain name ( and no organization(s) is listed as the official presenter(s) of the conference, it seems like the College is presenting this conference rather than only serving as a venue for the conference. Since Wheelock College is a College rather than an anti-sex work organization, we contend that conferences such as this one must be more balanced in the name of academic integrity.
    Though the organizers and presenters of this conference have the right to their perceptions, it is important to understand that their attitudes toward pornography do not reflect the views of all sex workers, feminists, and scholars.

    In Solidarity,

    Jill Brenneman, Sex Workers Outreach Project-East, Coordinator

    Danielle L. Brodnick, M.A. Gender and Cultural Studies

    Aster of San Francisco

    Gennifer Hirano, Sex Workers Outreach Project-Los Angeles

    Stacey Swimme, Desiree Alliance, Sex Workers Outreach Project-Arizona

    Susan Lopez, MSC, Assistant Director-Desiree Alliance; Founder-Sin City Alternative Professionals Association

    Kitten Infinite, Sex Workers Outreach Project-Chicago

    Averen Ipsen, Ph.D., Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies, UC-Berkeley

    Melissa Gira, St. James Infirmary

    Holly Pottle, M.A. Sociology

    Jessica Land, Sex Workers Outreach Project-East

    Ricci J. Levy, Executive Director, The Woodhull Freedom Foundation

    Priscilla Alexander, Director of Research and Evaluation-Frost’D

    Beatriz Mercado, Clinical Pharmacist-Chile, South America, SWOP East Latin American Advisor

    Katherine DePasquale, SWOP East Board of Directors

    Carol Queen, Ph.D., Staff Sexologist-Good Vibrations

    Aimee M. Patton, B.A. Sociology, SFSU

    Carol Leigh, BAYSWAN/COYOTE

    Vanessa A. Forro, LSW, Cleveland, Ohio

    Serena Toxicat

    Crystal Jackson, Graduate Student-Sociology and Women’s Studies, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Desiree Alliance

    Caitlin Ryerson, Pro Se Lawyer

  2. Pingback: Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » “Letter to the Editor” re: Upcoming Pornography Conference