Event Title

"Women Can Like Porn, Too!" The Impact of Hegemonic Gender Norms on Women Who Use Pornography

Location

CSU 204

Start Date

16-4-2013 10:05 AM

End Date

16-4-2013 11:05 AM

Student's Major

Sociology and Corrections

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Emily Boyd

Mentor's Department

Sociology and Corrections

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

Many Americans feel that sexuality is not a polite topic; rather, it is private and even something to be ashamed of. In particular, pornography is both a source of pleasure and a taboo discussion topic. Women are arguably more embarrassed about pornography than men, even though it is estimated that one in three porn consumers are female. My research seeks to explore the lived experiences of women who enjoy pornographic materials, including their reasons for liking porn, what they dislike about pornography, and experiences with stigma associated with enjoying pornography. I conducted ten in- depth interviews with adult women at a mid-sized state university in the Midwest. Respondents were recruited through undergraduate sociology and women’s studies courses. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using grounded theory. I found that women use pornography to explore their sexualities alone, with a partner, or through sexual fantasies. In addition, the varied emotional experiences that women manage surrounding pornography and sexuality are shaped by larger social structural rules surrounding gender and sexuality. Finally, formal or informal education may reduce women’s stigma about sexuality and pornography. It is clear that women must negotiate their use and enjoyment of pornography in the context of hegemonic gender norms which dictate that women are passive recipients of active male sexual desire, that women do not—or should not—enjoy pornography, and that women who are active participants in their own sexuality are perceived as promiscuous. Lastly, my research has implications for the pornographic industry itself.

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Apr 16th, 10:05 AM Apr 16th, 11:05 AM

"Women Can Like Porn, Too!" The Impact of Hegemonic Gender Norms on Women Who Use Pornography

CSU 204

Many Americans feel that sexuality is not a polite topic; rather, it is private and even something to be ashamed of. In particular, pornography is both a source of pleasure and a taboo discussion topic. Women are arguably more embarrassed about pornography than men, even though it is estimated that one in three porn consumers are female. My research seeks to explore the lived experiences of women who enjoy pornographic materials, including their reasons for liking porn, what they dislike about pornography, and experiences with stigma associated with enjoying pornography. I conducted ten in- depth interviews with adult women at a mid-sized state university in the Midwest. Respondents were recruited through undergraduate sociology and women’s studies courses. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using grounded theory. I found that women use pornography to explore their sexualities alone, with a partner, or through sexual fantasies. In addition, the varied emotional experiences that women manage surrounding pornography and sexuality are shaped by larger social structural rules surrounding gender and sexuality. Finally, formal or informal education may reduce women’s stigma about sexuality and pornography. It is clear that women must negotiate their use and enjoyment of pornography in the context of hegemonic gender norms which dictate that women are passive recipients of active male sexual desire, that women do not—or should not—enjoy pornography, and that women who are active participants in their own sexuality are perceived as promiscuous. Lastly, my research has implications for the pornographic industry itself.

Recommended Citation

Verde, Rachel. ""Women Can Like Porn, Too!" The Impact of Hegemonic Gender Norms on Women Who Use Pornography." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 16, 2013.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2013/oral-session-04/2