‘It’s Important You Don’t Smell a Suit On It’: Aesthetics of Alt Porn

Smith, Clarissa (2014) ‘It’s Important You Don’t Smell a Suit On It’: Aesthetics of Alt Porn. In: Porn After Porn. Mimesis, Udine Italy. ISBN 8857523594

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Abstract

In this chapter I examine some of the discursive constructions of alternative (alt) and independent (indie) pornography, contemporary genres of porn facilitated by the development of the web. My interest here is in the aesthetic and ‘institutional’ politics of a number of important players in alt.porn to explore the ways in which concepts such as ‘alterity’, ‘autonomy’ and ‘authenticity’ are key elements in the discursive construction of alt.porn as different from ‘mainstream’ or ‘industrial’ pornographic productions and how such discursive constructions contribute to the ambivalent cultural positioning of alt.porn.

While porn may be central to discussions within gender and sexuality studies, its place within media studies is much more peripheral – there are few accounts which take seriously pornography’s links to wider cinematic production or as businesses producing and distributing media content - thus a critical framework has developed in which ‘pornography’ sits somehow separate from other media forms. For the most part, in the plethora of critical academic titles on film and media, pornography is almost always overlooked – where general overviews of media production or consumption do deign to make mention of porn, it is limited to passing reference to ubiquity, size and profits: for many scholars, pornography remains a marginal genre of media production. As others have noted, "in the literature on the information society and the information economy, the subject of sex, and by extension, pornography, has been undertheorised [...] despite its powerful brand, Playboy Enterprises is not spoken of in the same breath as new entrants like Internet Entertainment Group." (Cronin and Davenport, 2010: 285-292)

In this chapter I explore some of the ways in which alt.porn is constructed as a subcultural form and how producers negotiate their way to respect and authority, reflecting alternative sexual politics and community allegiances within their erotic ‘vision’ or performances such that a sizeable and, crucially, commercially viable audience will recognize and appreciate them.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Media > Cinema and Film
Media > Film
Media > Media and Cultural Studies
Media
Divisions: Creative and Cultural Practices Beacon > Media and Cultural Studies Workstream
Faculty of Arts Design and Media > Department of Media
Depositing User: Clarissa Smith
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 11:48
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 15:35
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/6095

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