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Monday, April 9, 2007

Reading Outline 4/9/07: Boyle, Karen. "The Pornography Debates: Beyond Cause and Effect."

Boyle, Karen. "The Pornography Debates: Beyond Cause and Effect." Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean Humez. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks:
Sage Publications, 2003. 406-16.

Description: Boyle describes the inherent problems with the traditional media effects research that focuses on pornography. These problems include the limited populations used during studies, measuring a subjects level of arousal as opposed to their reaction to that arousal, and focusing on whether pornography causes violence against women rather than asking why violence is committed against women in pornography in the first place.

Analysis: In order to describe the relationship between pornography and violence as causal you need to take a “scientific” approach, but this approach also obscures women’s stories of violence during the production of pornography and denies the “abusers’ agency and accountability.”

Vision: Boyle describes the goal of pornographic research and analysis to be a return to a focus on production practices, representational strategies, and consumption patterns. Another goal is a clearer definition of the word pornography, which denies the experiences of individual women by lumping Playboy and tapings of rape camps into the same category.

Strategy: We must stop worrying about whether pornography causes violence against women because many forms of pornography require the taping of violent acts perpetrated against women. Trying to blame violence on pornography does not address the bigger issue of the individual accountability of those involved with the production and consumption of the pornography.