Why Internet Porn Matters

Why Internet Porn Matters

Why Internet Porn Matters

Why Internet Porn Matters

Synopsis

Now that pornography is on the Internet, its political and social functions have changed. So contends Margret Grebowicz in this imperative philosophical analysis of Internet porn. The production and consumption of Internet porn, in her account, are a symptom of the obsession with self-exposure in today's social networking media, which is, in turn, a symptom of the modern democratic construction of the governable subject as both transparent and communicative. In this first feminist critique to privilege the effects of pornography's Internet distribution rather than what it depicts, Grebowicz examines porn-sharing communities (such as the bestiality niche market) and the politics of putting women's sexual pleasure on display (the "squirting" market) as part of the larger democratic project. Arguing against this project, she shows that sexual pleasure is not a human right. Unlikely convergences between thinkers like Catherine MacKinnon, Jean Baudrillard, Judith Butler, and Jean-François Lyotard allow her to formulate a theory of the relationships between sex, speech, and power that stands as an alternative to such cyber-libertarian mottos as "freedom of speech" and "sexual freedom."

Excerpt

WHY INTERNET PORN
SHOULD MATTER TO PHILOSOPHERS

Given the number of different discourses and methodologies with which it is possible to define, examine, and evaluate pornography today, there is surprisingly little philosophical theorizing about it. There is certainly no shortage of feminist legal and sociological literature about the effects of pornography on women’s lives and psyches and on the production of gender. The spectrum of positions extends from the most “anti-,” through arguments that the industry is work like any other work, into arguments that pornography functions as a political speech and thus is not like any other work but a site of resistance, even a creative avenue for reclaiming the body and rescripting sexual practices. Recently, the emerging field of porn theory has successfully motivated the study of pornography as a form of culture. However, even as topics like sexual difference, objectification, and spectacle take on a life beyond feminist theory, and subjects like technology, capitalism, and the democratization of information do so beyond critical theory, philosophers have been slow to turn their attention to pornography, the largest and fastest growing commodity on the “information superhighway.”

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