Performing the Discourse of Sexuality Online

meccsa_logoDavid presented in a panel at MeCCSA 2015, at Northumbria University in Newcastle, in January 2015, with plenary speaker Prof Karen Boyle.  The Panel was titled:  “The Performance of Sexuality On-Line: Internet Pornography and Sexual Identity in the Age of Sexual Freedom”

Heather Brunskell-Evans spoke about ‘The Performance of Women’s Sexual Liberation’ and David spoke about ‘Performing the Discourse of Sexuality Online’.  The discussant was Karen Boyle.

Abstract: This presentation critically examines the pro- and anti-pornography dichotomy from a global perspective.  Identifying an orientalism at the heart of Foucault’s Sexuality, it suggests the prevalent critical approach to understanding sexualities is located within the neoliberal West. It argues that countries in the non-West are developing new senses of modesty and moral high-ground as part of a post-colonial distancing from the imperial powers. The proliferation of sexual discourse identified by Foucault, and the performativity of gender identities outlined by Butler, are both visible in the niche roles exemplified by sites like, where young gay men share pornographic videos of themselves fetishizing football kit. Such online sexual social networking including explicit video-sharing suggests that pornography has been disrupted as an industry by the web just like other industries. But is this proliferation of amateur pornography across the internet also globalising the above Western approaches to sexual identity and its representation?  The most visible symptom, perhaps, of Foucault’s orientalism and the new moral high-ground of the non-West is in the polarisation of views on homosexuality, presenting us with a West where it has never been so widely accepted, and a non-West where it has never been so widely proscribed.


Kreps, D (2015) ‘The Performance of Sexuality On-Line: Internet Pornography and Sexual Identity in the Age of Sexual Freedom’ Panel with Karen Boyle and Heather Brunskell-Evans at MeCCSA 2015, Newcastle, UK, January 2015

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