Citation Boyle K (2018) The implications of pornification: Pornography, the mainstream and false equivalences. In: Lombard N (ed.). The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Violence, London: Routledge, pp. 85-96.
Abstract This chapter is concerned with how contemporary understandings of pornography and pornification limit the possibility and legitimacy of feminist critique by equating pornography with sex whilst expanding the boundaries of the pornographic. It focuses on pornography as a discursive rather than a material object, and asks what pornography means – and can be made to mean – in non-pornographic contexts, using UK press responses to the novel and film ofFifty Shades of Greyas a case study to explore these issues. In this context, discourses of pornification legitimate abusive pornographic practices (of production, representation and consumption) more broadly, flattening important differences and suggesting false equivalences in which women’s consumption of sexual products become an alibi for men’s pornographic use of women. This reduces everything to individual taste and usesFifty Shadesto make claims about women’s investment in the sex industry in order to encourage wider consumption, and normalise pornography per se.
Keywords pornography; pornification; sexual representation; female audiences; Fifty Shades of Grey.