by Neil Jackson, University of Lincoln, UK. Has anybody seen a good ‘sex work’ recently? At best, it is a question that is likely to cause mildly embarrassed befuddlement in the casual film enthusiast. At worst, anybody even mildly attuned to sociolinguistic nuances may infer suggestion of voyeuristic interest in the workaday toils of prostitution. Either way, ‘sex work’ is a generic term that has been deployed by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to distinguish the titillating, affective charge of wanton hardcore pornography. It is a phrase that has become the board’s common descriptor for hardcore films with an R18 classification (the ‘R’ being an abbreviation of ‘restricted’). This limits sale or projection to premises specially licensed to handle such material, and separates it from non-pornographic, dramatic or documentary feature film formats that present sexually explicit themes and images for an adult audience at the 18 certificate level. Essentially, if the BBFC determines that a film is pornographic in nature and intent (that is, designed primarily to sexually arouse the spectator), it is dealt with as a ‘sex work’.
by Carol Siegel, Washington State University Vancouver, US. If one is a feminist, or even sympathetic to the idea that women aren't inferior to men, there is a lot to be outraged by in the Fifty Shades franchise. But I write this negative response to Fifty Shades Darker (James Foley 2017) neither in anger nor sadness, but in disappointment because the film was so boring.
by Ruth Beresford, University of Sheffield, UK. Pornography is something that we all need to talk about. Whether you like it or not, whether you use it or not, pornography has significant social, political and legal implications for us all. New technologies and the internet are constantly changing the pornographic landscape, making the sexually explicit more accessible, available and presented as more diverse than ever before. My own research concerns women’s lived experiences of pornography. It investigates the ways in which women experience, perceive and feel about pornography. I have recently launched the Living With Porn(ography) Project in order to develop an understanding of the ways in which one can experience pornography. Together with a group of women, the project is designed to examine what it means for our lives whether as a user, performer or someone just navigating it within society.