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Title: What does pornography mean to women?.
Author: Ciclitira, Karen Elizabeth.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3551 5491
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 1998
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In this research I employ a feminist and qualitative approach, challenging the predominant psychological discourse of pornography. I discuss the ways law, history and economics influence how women relate to pornography. A range of theoretical approaches, including psychoanalysis, film theory and cultural studies, are used to explore pornographic texts and women's accounts of their engagement with pornography. Drawing on these different disciplinary frameworks I argue that the meanings of `pornography' are changing and elusive: its insusceptibility to easy definition is a theme of this research, which takes into consideration diverse media, including erotic fiction and women's magazines. Feminist theory and discourse analysis informs the analysis of 34 interview transcripts, and leads to reflection on research-related problems such as questions of ethics, researching the `other', and tensions between feminisms and psychology. Women negotiate the heterosexist and masculine discourse of pornography in unexpected ways, and anti-porn feminism is shown to have shaped participants' views and impacted on their identities. The ways in which individual psychic histories and sociocultural constructions such as `race', `class', and sexual orientation enter into women's viewing of porn are explored. Psychoanalytic and gaze theories are drawn upon to offer insight into the different psychic mechanisms and positions involved in viewing and reading pornography. Pornography is a factor in the social construction of sexuality, but women's accounts (unlike much of the theory) show how their views, experiences and feelings about pornography are variegated, individual and complex. I argue for a Foucauldian perspective on the question of sexual repression and the effect-'of categorisations (such as `paedophile' and `sadomasochist'). The effects of new media and technologies are wide ranging, and include increasing opportunities for sex without physical contact, access to sex educational material, and the creation of multiple meanings of pornography for women. This thesis concludes by su gesting that the proliferation of new sexual discourses, including gay, lesbian and bisexual pornographies, has transgressive, contradictory and complex implications for women's sexualities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Feminism; Sexuality; Media