Porn journal prompts hundreds to sign petition

Hundreds of people have signed a petition protesting about new quarterly journal Porn Studies that is due to launch in spring next year.

 

A statement accompanying the petition raises concerns about the Routledge journal’s “intention and focus and about its editorial board, which is uniformly pro-porn”.

“Framing the editorial ‘experts’ on porn as pro-porn under the auspices of neutrality (which is what the journal title does),” the statement goes on, “further fosters the normalization of porn and misrepresents the academic, political and ideological debates about the issue”.

If the journal failed to provide “a heterogeneous interrogation of the issues embedded in porn and porn culture”, they called upon the publishers to rename it Pro-Porn Studies or to launch another journal under a title such as Critical Porn Studies.

This alternative journal could then“represent the position of anti-porn scholars and activists and the voices of mental health professionals, porn industry survivors and feminist scholars whose analyses examine the replication and reification of misogyny, child abuse and sexual exploitation in mainstream pornography”, the statement says.

One signatory wrote that she “will not support a press that gets involved with the torture and hatred of women - which is what porn is”, while another commented that “anyone short of brain dead can see the damage that pornography does. Publish the truth and allow our generation to be the last to live in a pornographic culture.”

In a recent article for website The Conversation, the editors of the journal - Feona Attwood, professor in cultural studies, communication and media at Middlesex University, and Clarissa Smith, reader in sexual cultures at the University of Sunderland – noted that pornography studies “involves more than simply looking at a lot of pornography”.

“Like all good researchers, scholars in porn studies don’t start with a single question, they don’t get stuck at the level of arguing about whether porn is a good or a bad thing, and they don’t start out already knowing all the answers,” they wrote.

“They don’t assume that we already know what the porn industry looks like, what porn means, or what impact it has on people’s lives.”

Asked to respond to the criticisms raised in the petition, the editors told Times Higher Education that they had been “especially pleased to have so many messages from academics welcoming the journal” and “delighted that we have been able to include the foremost scholars in this area on our board, and we are continuing to invite others so that we have a really good spread of academics across disciplines”.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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