Feeds

Academics challenge moral consensus on sex and the net

Censorship does more harm than good

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The entire debate was a trap, since as soon as someone declares an image erotic, it is then analysed in that context, as opposed to being viewed for whatever it is. In fact, Lumby suggested, it is arguable that analysing images by imposing an adult viewpoint on childhood activity is itself abusive.

Like Buckingham, Lumby felt that it was necessary to look at the political motives and context of the current panics. Buckingham suggested a concern with female working class sexuality, which was viewed as dangerous and in need of control. Absent from most debate was any view of boys or their sexuality, other than as a threat.

Lumby went further, expressing her utter surprise that some of the main proponents in this arena claimed the title of feminist, since in practice the whole debate was about policing how femininity should be performed. Moral critiques of imagery are highly normative – and therefore not in the interests of most women

Finally, Clarissa Smith, programme leader of the MA media and cultural studies at the University of Sunderland, took issue with terms such as "pornification" and "pornographication" which, like sexualisation, are rarely defined, but assumed to be universally understood.

She, too, argued that a major issue was the way in which childhood activity was being viewed through the looking glass of adult eroticism. "Showing your bum" is not a sexual activity for most eight-year-olds and should not be treated as such. "Sexting" is nothing new, but merely a modern manifestation of habits as old as dating and courtship.

That was not to ignore the real danger of what happens when an image taken from one context (childhood play) becomes taken up in another (adult sexual interest).

Overall concerns were expressed that in "saving us" from the internet, real harm was being done to adults and children. A moralising attitude makes it very dangerous for young people to discuss sexuality on the net – and certainly to discuss sexual issues with older people - closing off an important channel for exploration and seeking knowledge to teenagers. Other individuals involved in what may be seen as more "transgressive" sexualities such as BDSM or sex work also found it difficult to discuss issues pertaining to health and safety openly on the net.

Despite this, the conference was clear that it would be wrong to dismiss all concern as mere moral panic. But equally it is clear that there is a visceral element to this debate that does no service to anyone.

Onscenity was created as a response to public concerns about a range of issues including the new accessibility of pornography, the mainstreaming and normalization of sexually explicit representation, the commercialization of sex, the role of the internet in circulating 'extreme' images, and the use of communication technologies, often by young people, for sexual purposes. It is supported by leading academics in the field and will draw together scholars from Europe, the US, Hong Kong and Australia at a series of workshops, seminars and symposiums. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?