Wednesday, 2 December 2009

UOA Gender & Psychology Symposium: Sexualisation & Pornography

Thanks to Leonie for sending this through!

Gender & Psychology Symposium - Sexualisation and Pornography: Research, analysis, change?

Pornography is perennially controversial. Some defend it as a domain for free sexual expression and enjoyment for all; others point to the misogyny displayed in its portrayals of women. In this age of so-called ‘raunch culture’, pornography is no longer just hidden away in the bedrooms of boys and men. Women and girls are invited to share the gaze, and are told that it is empowering to do so. Beyond the consumption of pornography, pornographic images, styles of embodiment, and modes of sexual engagement have become ‘mainstreamed’ into advertising, music, and popular cultural fashions. Relatedly, an overtly sexualised style is increasingly promoted to younger and younger girls in the form of toys, activities, clothing and accessories. These cultural shifts have already become largely normalized and naturalized. Do they amount to harmless fun? Or do they contribute to the cultural production of forms of masculinity and femininity that ultimately work against girls’ and women’s choices and wellbeing?

In this symposium, which showcases some of the best undergraduate student work in Gender and Psychology at the University, young women will present research, critical analysis, and their creative ideas for change. We hope to generate wider discussion and debate, and foster constructive connections between people interested in these issues.

Date: Friday 11 December 2009
Time: 10am – 1pm
Venue: Room 604, Level 6, Human Sciences Building, 10 Symonds Street, University of Auckland

10am Welcome & Introductions - Nicola Gavey

10.15am Sexualisation and Children - Hazel Albertyn, Katie Malone, Courtney Ross, & Natalia Samorow

11.15am Tea Break

11.30am Pornography and Society - Alex Antevska, Danielle Hay, Lisa Paz, & Jaimee Robinson

12.30pm Panel Discussion:
Caroline Fergusson, Women’s Rights Officer, AUSA
Denise Ritchie, Stop Demand
Melanie Govender, Psychology Student, University of Auckland
Chair: Virginia Braun



This symposium is free and open to the public.

Please rsvp for catering purposes to Meena Sadera m.sadera at

For further information, please contact:
Nicola Gavey, Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland, n.gavey at


Psycho Milt said...

Women and girls are invited to share the gaze and are told that it is empowering to do so.

By whom? The people selling the product? Much like dumbasses are told that Lynx will make them irresistably attractive to women - by the people selling Lynx. Stupidity comes at a cost.

ms poinsettia said...

PM - apples and oranges. Are men who don't buy Lynx cast as prudish, inhibited etc? No. But women who resist the creeping pornification of our culture are.

Psycho Milt said...

By whom?

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously asking that? By society at large. Please remove the Crass symbol from your picture, your question is an embarrassment to the band and anyone with an understanding of how society works.

Psycho Milt said...

I doubt any member of Crass could be embarrassed by a question.

"Society at large" isn't a useful answer. Society's a big and varied thing full of opposing viewpoints and forces; saying "society" is telling you something is like saying earthquakes are caused by matter and energy - it may be true, but it's so unspecific it's worthless.

Clearly, "society" is not telling women that they should watch pornography, that they'll be empowered by doing so and that they are prudish and inhibited if they don't. For example, I doubt any readers of this blog tells women that (including me), and we are all members of society. If women are being told this stuff, it's by a subset of society. Is it a large subset, or are we just talking about some people whose opinion we vehemently disagree with? It seems to me like that should be the first question you have to answer if carrying out research in the area, but nobody ever seems to come up with anything but bald statements along the lines of "Women are told..." The question remains: told by whom? And why are they listening?