Alternative Pornographies, Regulatory Fantasies, Resistance Politics

Alternative pornographies position themselves as contributing to a revolutionary and democratising social and political movement, with the capacity to change our relationships to sex via interventions in the representational and production practices of porn. Meanwhile, current trends in regulation focus upon preventing minors’ ‘exposure’ to pornography, prohibiting ‘extreme pornography’, and making condom use compulsory. Australia has a world-renowned queer and feminist porn movement, but onerous criminal, classification and customs legislation restrict its production, screening and sale. This study investigated the aspirations and limitations of alternative pornographies in the current regulatory framework and explored whether they could inform a better approach. Alternative pornographies make provocations to regulators: they challenge the sequestration of sex as exceptional, the positioning of sex as without redeeming value, the pathologisation of kink practices, and the decision-making criteria for acceptable content. But further, their internal dialogues reveal provocations for social movements more generally.

Zahra Stardust (PhD awarded 2019) is a socio-legal researcher whose work is concerned with intersections between law, sexuality, labour and justice. Zahra’s academic work draws on her experience as a porn performer and producer. She also has fifteen years’ experience working on diverse social justice and human rights issues with community organisations, NGOs and UN bodies.

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