Porn Studies journal publishes its first issue

The academic journal has been criticised by anti-porn campaigners

It’s one of the most controversial cultural conversations in today’s society, with campaigners on both sides of the fence vehemently arguing their stance.

And on Friday, a new journal launched itself into the centre of the debate about pornography, with the release of its debut issue.

Porn Studies, published by Routledge, is a quarterly academic journal described as "the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic".

First announced in Summer 2013, the journal has attracted widespread media attention during a digitalised age of online porn, sexting and scantily clad women littered across public spaces.

In the introduction to the first issue, its editors-in-chief - Feona Attwood, a professor of cultural studies at Middlesex University, and Clarissa Smith, a reader in sexual cultures at the University of Sunderland - write: “Recent years have seen a resurgence of public discussions (and scares) about a series of pornography-related topics, perhaps most notably the expansions of pornography across the internet, its putative links to rape and sexual violence, and erotic life-styling or the oft-cited “sexualisation of culture.”

They write that the journal is a “scholarly” response to these discussions and a “labour of love”.

Papers published in the inaugural issue include "Deep tags: toward a quantitative analysis of online pornography", "Internationalizing porn studies" and "Porn and sex education, porn as sex education".

But the journal has been criticised for normalising and glamorising porn culture.

Gail Dines, an anti-pornography activist and professor of sociology and Women's Studies at Wheelock College, Boston, told The Observer in June that while it was vital that pornography was studied and research published, she had grave concerns about the editorial direction of the journal.

"These editors come from a pro-porn background where they deny the tons and tons of research that has been done into the negative effects of porn," she said.

"They are akin to climate-change deniers. They're taking a bit of junk science and leaping to all sorts of unfounded conclusions."

Earlier this month, Ms Dines co-hosted the Stop Porn Culture conference in London, which focused on how porn culture shapes people’s ideas about sexuality, relationships, masculinity, femininity and intimacy. 

Writing for The Independent, Ms Dines said that today’s online pornography sexualises the degradation of women’s bodies and leads to desensitisation.

“Gone are the days of women posing seductively as they coyly smile into the camera. Instead, we enter a world of sexual cruelty and abuse where anything that can be done to a woman to debase and dehumanise her, is sexualised and eroticised,” she wrote.

Facts and figure about online pornography vary widely, with some estimates saying that more than a third of the internet is made up of pornographic material. Last year, The Huffington Post reported that porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

But not everyone shares Ms Dine’s views. Also in attendance at this month’s Stop Porn Culture conference was a group of pro-porn campaigners, including the ex-porn star and pro-sex feminist campaigner Renee Richards.

Under the banner of the Sex and Censorship organisation, the group staged a protest called Don’t Censor Me!

Writing for The Independent, the organisation’s founder, Jerry Barnett, said that the protest was intended to “defend sexual freedom in Britain against a new wave of morality campaigners”.

“The speakers were unanimous: the lives of women who sell sex will not be improved by censoring pornography,” he wrote.

For the editors of Porn Studies, it is this very divide in opinion which has prompted their publication of the journal, which they hope can become “a space in which debate and argument can flourish without rehearsing the same old arguments of the porn debates”.

The journal is freely available online for a limited period, meaning that anyone can read all of the papers included in the inaugural issue.

And so the conversation rumbles on.

Read more: Stop Porn Culture
Let those involved in porn speak for themselves
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Business Analyst

£250 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst, Bristol, Banking, Business Obje...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape