Poster Content (first draft, incomplete)

I spent most of this afternoon compiling content for the poster. You’d think, given how much time has gone into this project, that putting a few small boxes of text and some citations together would be easy. But, no. This is about six hours of work (with 20 second breaks to look away from the monitor and blink with intention, every 20 minutes – self-care, yo!). It’s nowhere near usable yet, but I’ll be doing this again tomorrow, putting it into the actual poster Tuesday, and submitting it to my supervisor Wednesday morning (or, hopefully, Tuesday evening). Then final polishing on Wednesday and send it to the printer. Eep!

What you’ll see below the cut is each section of the poster, with approximate word counts (which do not match what I’ve written yet). Before I’m done I will hopefully have added more citations, more data from unSEXpected, and content for my four content-boxes. I also need to work on the titles for some of my text boxes. For example, the box currently labeled “Anti-Porn Feminism” doesn’t actually work with that title anymore, since I pulled a lot of that info up into the abstract and the intro. Also, my citations are all wonky – I’m using numbers because it keeps my word count down, but until I get the content pretty solid, the numbers are all out of order. I’ll fix it as one of my final revisions.

The goal of the breakdown I’m providing here, and this approach to the design of the poster, is to provide multiple points of access into the poster. The first is the title, table and pictures – they are the least demanding, most visual points of access (the table obviously needs work and will have to be pared down – I suspect my bullet points will be taken out and some of my categories collapsed together). Then the abtract, which is supposed to (but does not yet, I don’t think) give an overview of the entire project – this is the second-level point of access. Less visual, more academic, but not very demanding in terms of reader attention or time, or depth of information. Then the other text boxes, which are the most demanding and should be the most information-dense, I think. I haven’t written those yet, my brain turned to mush. Ha!

Since the goal of this blog is to make visible the messy and circular (write, rewrite, rewrite, write, rewrite, rewrite) nature of my academic process/progress, I’ll also post the draft I come up with tomorrow, and the final draft on Tuesday. And I left in my (CITE!) directives to myself, since that’s a big part of my writing process. 

SU Undergraduate Research Symposium Poster Content (first draft).

Poster title:

Turning Up the Heat: A Comparison of Feminist and Mainstream Pornography

Abstract: (200 words)

If “pornography is the theory” (3), what practices are expected as a result of the consent, intimacy, diversity and autonomy performed in the feminist production Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous? How does this theory and its subsequent practice differ from the theory and practice of mainstream production unSEXpected? This research proposes that feminist pornography is demonstrably different than mainstream pornography in the ‘theory’ that it puts forth to the viewer, and that the subsequent practice is also different. This research does not, however, attempt to articulate a single, universal theory of feminist pornography. While queer feminism, trans feminism and third wave feminism have all influenced some contemporary feminist pornographers, they are not the same and do not delegitimize each other in their differences. Alison Butler notes “women produce feminist work in a wide variety of forms and styles” (7), and this applies to feminist pornography as much as it does to feminist film. While recognizing that there is no single coherent definition of feminism, and therefore no single coherent definition of feminist pornography, it is still important to me, as an intersectional feminist researcher, that the feminism in the films I focus on is inclusive of a variety of sexual orientations (including heterosexual) and gender performances (including cisgender).

Intro: (175 words)

Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous won the 2012 Feminist Porn Award for “Most Deliciously Diverse Cast” (4). The production provides an example of feminist porn that is inclusive of a wide, though not exhaustive, variety of possible identities. UnSEXpected is a mainstream porn production that has not won any awards. I compared the two, looking particularly at issues of consent, intimacy, diversity and autonomy because Stoya, the star of unSEXpected, wrote about negotiation on set, excitement about the sex, and consent to all acts filmed (6). This behind-the-scenes account put the films on somewhat equal footing in terms of ethical production. The comparison between the visible products (rather than the work of the productions) highlights and puts into context the performance of feminism in Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous and it’s invisibility in unSEXpected. Pornography can both normalize a variety of sexual behaviours and empower viewers by giving them, as Weinberg et al. note “both the interest in, and the confidence to experiement with, sexual behaviours s/he had previously never tried” (1). Therefore the performance of feminism in pornography has the potential to bring feminism into the lives of viewers.

Anti-Porn Feminism: (175 words)

Though empirical data supporting either the positive or negative effects of pornography use is scarce (1), there is some evidence that pornography can, and does, normalize sexual behaviour (1). Anti-porn feminists have argued that pornography normalizes behaviour that is misogynist and violent, reinforcing gendered power structures and casting women as passive and submissive, while men are cast as aggressive and active (2). If it is true that the damage caused by porn is caused by these portrayals of coercion, patriarchy, heteronormativity and female passivity, then the absence or subversion of these tropes can be a possible litmus test for the effectiveness of the performance of feminism in feminist pornography. This research does not address the labour or production practices of either film, and focuses only on the visible product; the performance, rather than the production.


Feminist Pornography:Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous Mainstream Pornography:unSEXpected
Verbal consent evident at least twice per scene. Ned and Maggie Mayhem are outliers with ~20 instances of verbal consent and negotiation in their scene Coercion evident in two scenes and directed at three characters (“pussy” used twice as an insult directed at a man to instigate sex, “are you afraid?” directed at a woman to instigate stripping)
Diversity: Gender & Sex Representation
Wide range from butch (4) to femme (6) to androgynous (5), not tied to biological sex. Visibly trans* (3). Femme cisgender women (3) and butch cisgender men (2).
Diversity: Body Type and Ethnicity
2 black performers, wide range of body diversity (slim to fat), range of pubic and body hair styles for male, female and trans* performers All appear Caucasian, all slim and athletic, all shaved
Diversity: Sex Acts
–       Strap-on penetration: male (1), female (1) and trans* (3) recipient-       Fellatio performed on strap-on or dildo (6)

–       Dildo penetration (3)

–       Fellatio performed on bio-penis (2)

–       Cunnilingus (7)

–       Penis-in-vagina penetration (2)

–       Anal penetration; male (1), female (1) and trans* (1) recipient

–       Manual penetration (8)

–       Masturbation (7)

–       Mutual masturbation (2)

–       Penis-in-vagina penetration-       Anal penetration: female recipient

–       Cunnilingus

–       Fellatio

–       Manual penetration

(Rewatch for numbers)

Autonomy: Directing the Sex
(Rewatch for this) (Rewatch for this)
Autonomy: Orgasm and Pleasure
Female ejaculation (1/8 scenes), male ejaculation onto back or breasts (2/8), giggling and laughing during sex and after orgasms, orgasm not always evident in the scene, orgasm not the focus or end of the scene Male orgasm onto face (4/4 scenes), male orgasm ending scene
Autonomy: Safer Sex Practices
–       Gloves (3/8 scenes)-       Lube, visible and applied (3/8)

–       Condoms (8/8, used for penetrative sex with dildos, strap-ons, and bio-penises)

–       No discussion of STI status or risk factors

–       No verbal negotiation of safer sex tools/practices

–       No condoms-       No gloves

–       No visible lube

–       No discussion of STI status or risk factors

–       No verbal negotiation of safer sex tools/practice

–       Kissing before, during and after sex (8/8 scenes)-       Cuddling and aftercare after sex (8/8) (Rewatch for this)

Boxes: (4 x 125 words each)





Picture Captions: (3 or 4)

1 – Jiz Lee and Pappi Cox (CITE!)


1 – Weinberg, Martin S., Colin J. Williams, Sibyl Kleiner and Yasmiyn Irizarry. “Pornography, Normalization, and Empowerment.” Archives of Sexual Behaviour 39 (2010): 1389-1401.

2 – (DO THESE NEED SEPARATE CITATIONS? FIGURE IT OUT!) Andrea Dworkin. Pornography: Men Possessing Women (London: Women’s Press, 1981); Diana E. Russell, “Pornography and Rape: A Causal Model [1988],” in Feminism & Pornography, ed. Cornell, 2000, 48-93; Katharine A. MacKinnon, “Only Words [1993],” in Feminism & Pornography, ed. Cornell, 2000, 94-120; Linda Williams, Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the “Frenzy of The Visible”. Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, Expanded Paperback Edition, 1999, 16-23.

3 – Morgan, Robin. “Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape.” In Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography, ed. Laura Lederer. New York: Morrow.



7 – Alison Butler, Women’s Cinema: The Contested Screen (London & New York: Wallflower, 2002), 19.

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