‘Porn Studies’ sheds light on taboo subject

'Porn Studies' sheds light on taboo subject

Prikhnenko

by Kelly Gardner

In March, the British publishing house Taylor & Francis announced the release of a new scholarly reviewed journal titled, “Porn Studies.” Yeah, you heard me–Porn Studies. It’s the first international peer-reviewed journal to tackle the topic of pornography and all that relates to it.

I have to admit when I first imagined a peer-reviewed journal about porn, all that came to mind was a bunch of so-called scientists sitting around watching erotic tapes in white coats. However, the journal insists that’s not the case, and apparentlythe real purpose of the journal is to address misconceptions regarding the porn industry.

“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 ‘sexualization’ of culture,” according to the first issue of the journal.

[quote]The journal expresses these fields have been linked to public scrutiny and debate in addition to becoming of increased interest to scholars. [/quote]

That being said, the journal’s selection of content ranges from “the ‘problem’ of sexual fantasies,” to “Authenticity and its Role within Feminist Pornography” and even “Hard to swallow: hard-core pornography on screen.”While some of these titles may not sound very serious or scientific, some bring up extremely valid topics.

For years, feminists have argued among themselves about the role of porn. To some, it’s oppressive to women and supports the violence portrayed in a majority of pornographic films. On the other hand, supporters argue women are liberated because it’s their choice and they are making decisions about their own body. Debate issues such as this are arguably of value to society and of interest to scientists.

There is also value in research behind the psychology of porn and why it has grown to consume our entire society. Pornography has long been associated with sexual violence and obscenity toward women, with common occurrences of rape and women in submissive roles. Yet, it’s extremely popular in the majority of American homes, and not just with men.

“Porn Studies” is the first peer-reviewed journal dedicated solely to the subject of pornography, but it’s certainly not the first time articles about sex and obscure content have been published. There are scholarly articles covering sex work in urban areas, the growing trend of ‘hooking up,’ sexual psychopaths and how effective sex is in advertisements–and that’s only the beginning.

In hindsight, a pornographic journal really shouldn’t surprise or frighten us. As “Porn Studies” is a scientific journal, it’s aimed at researchers and scholars and not generally intended for the public. But, a more in-depth understanding of pornography and the industry surrounding it can’t harm society in any way. If anything, it’s furthering our understanding of human behavior and propelling society’s openness about sexuality.

[quote]This new breed of scientific journal is undoubtedly interesting, but it’s certainly nothing to get worked up about. [/quote]The journal seeks to discuss relevant and meaningful topics, as well as include thoughtful research for the purpose of bettering our knowledge of pornographic culture and its effects on society. Although the journal consists mainly of ‘pro-porn’ authors, there is validity behind the content. The journal also stands to act as a platform for discussions from both sides of the debate.

The journal is to be published four times a year, and for those of you who are curious about the content, it’s currently available for free. For a limited time, the public will be granted full access at no cost to give everyone an idea to what the journal will consist of. For scientific purposes, go ahead and take a peek at what it has to offer.

 

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock. 

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