The voyeuristic fascination of sexual alterity: BDSM and kink representations in Portuguese journalism
Daniel Cardoso (CESNOVA - Universidade Nova de Lisboa / CICANT - Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias)
Mafalda Mota (Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação - Universidade do Porto)
The past few years have given way to greater visibility of BDSM as a theme in popular culture, and press coverage of BDSM/kink in Portugal has been sporadic but consistent in the past decade. Following Margot Weiss’ analysis of the American coverage of the same topic, we analyze the journalistic methods by which BDSM/kink is represented in a convenience sample gathered in mainstream newsmagazines and newspapers. By constantly interviewing members of the Portuguese BDSM community, these articles give voice to a closeted sexual minority, but by framing their discourse as Other, it manages to uphold the borders between normative and non-normative sexualities, while providing the readers with voyeuristic pleasure. Academic (psychological) discourse is also a constant, with the double role of serving as assurance of non-pathology and yet reinforcing the privileged role of the psy sciences in making sexuality ‘speak’.
Dr. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, when visiting Portugal in June 2013, took the opportunity to participate in a session about her research and polyamory within the context of research as a whole, in a public event.
The session took place at the "Ler Devagar" bookshop, in Lisbon.
Below are the topics, the PowerPoint presentation and an audio recording of Dr. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli's main intervention.
From Mono-Normative to Poly-Normative? Reflections on queer relational projects and (non-)monogamies
(II European Geographies of Sexualities Conference, Lisbon, September 5th – 7th)
Convened by: Daniel Cardoso (Media and Journalism Research Center, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences – New University of Lisbon; Lusophone University of Humanities and Technology)
Although the history of polyamory-as-identity is as recent as early 1990s (Cardoso, 2011), there is already considerable theoretical and activist impetus towards moving beyond it. Wilkinson (2010) gives a consistent critique of how non-monogamies have been meticulously appropriated into neo-liberalism, and Pepper Mint (2007) has argued that we should not necessarily conflate queer and polyamorous communities. And although mainstream media visibility of polyamory is growing, it is selective in what it portrays (Zanin, 2013). Furthermore, whilst there have been advancements in formal LGBT rights, polyamory is sometimes framed as being a hindrance to the process (Vale de Almeida, 2008). In this context polynormativity remains an ever-open possibility, where even vocal communities seem to be reticent to battle for formal legal changes (Aviram, 2008).
Responding to Barker and Langdridge’s (2010) call for “more attention to diversities of meanings and practices, […] and the troubling of dichotomous understandings”, this panel seeks to understand the varied geo-temporalities of mononormativity and polynormativity, and the ways in which these concepts interact with individualism, capitalism, feminism, queer theory, queer/LGBT activism, politics, law, and also personal accounts of discrimination and privilege.
As such, we invite empirical and/or theoretical papers that critically and contextually analyze the tensions and (re)productions of normativities as it pertains to (non-) monogamies. Interesting topics might be, but are not limited to:
- (Non-)monogamies, normativity and LGBT activism;
- Coupledom as (macro and micro-)social expectation
- Media representations of (non-)monogamies
- Queer politics and (non-)monogamies
- Future projects for polyamory/consensual non-monogamies activism
- Everyday life, (non-)monogamies and discrimination
- Geo-historically contextualizing mono and poly normativities
- (Romantic) Intimacies and normativity
- Femininities, masculinities and (non-)monogamies
- Neoliberal/capitalist appropriation: methods and resistance
- ‘Race’ and non-western experiences of consensual (non-)monogamies