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’.

 

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