Tag Archives: affective labour

Feminism, hormones and the Quantified Self: Imagining data futures

I look forward to talking about feminism and data in the University of Leeds (School of Media and Communication) soon. This is work that will appear in a Chapter about reproductive rights, digital media and feminism in my forthcoming book, later this year.

March 23rd, 2016 | Time: 16:15 — 17:30

Media and Communication, University of Leeds

Room G.12, Clothworkers’ North Building.

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Feminism, hormones and the Quantified Self: Imagining data futures

There is a proliferation of tracking apps today that can be used to monitor fertility and reproductive hormones (Lupton, 2015). Reproductive control has been a key issue for feminism, and women have always logged their data in some way; however, it is with digital technologies and smart phones that data collection carries a promise of significant life changes. 

Although the Quantified Self has been described to be mostly about ‘toys for boys’, smart, geeky, talented’ women involved in sensor hacking organise women-only Quantified Self meetups in the US, to discuss hormonal tracking. At the same time, projects such as the Hormone Project aim to bring together women who self-track, doctors and researchers, in order to influence innovation in biotech and personalized health. This paper examines such developments and asks how far data collection has the potential to make the voices of women heard, beyond the articulation of consumer demands about digital health. Placing my analysis within frameworks of gendered and reproductive labour and their centrality to global capitalism (Dickenson, 2007; Franklin and Lock, 2003; Thompson, 2005), I discuss how the material and semiotic intersect in the making of data and feminist futures.

 

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Remediation & genderqueer online at the Staging Illusion conference

Registration is now open for the Staging Illusion: Digital and Cultural Fantasy conference, which is organised by my colleague Russell Pearce and others in the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies & the Centre for Material Digital Culture at Sussex Uni.

I’ll be giving a paper on the The remediation of real bodies in genderqueer online porn: politics, control and affective labour. See abstract below and the conference tumblr blog here:

Abstract :

Online environments and web 2.0 platforms today appear as sites of experimentation and as opportunities to construct brand new sexual identities. The websites of queer alternative porn production companies increasingly employ the language of ‘real’ bodies. This opens up questions about the mediation of social meanings about queer and women in these sites. What kinds of publics are forming around this mediation?

Recent studies of online queer porn production have focused on questions of user authenticity (Attwood, 2010; Mowlabocus, 2010). These are concerned with the incompatibility between embodied actuality and ideal fluid cybersubjectivity (Wakeford, 2002; O’Riordan, 2007). However apart from user control, issues of authenticity in online queer alternative porn can be fruitfully thought as forms of labour.

This paper analyses discourses of authenticity in the websites nofauxxx.com and Furry Girl, two production companies from the field of genderqueer porn, which incorporate sexual and feminist politics in some way. The first component of my argument is that, in ‘real body discourses, this kind of porn production appears un-mediated. The mediation aspects of digital culture are in this process occluded. Secondly, I suggest that through this emphasis on queer visibility and authenticity, sexuality is constructed both as a disciplinary site and a site for value extraction. In particular, as ‘real’ bodies in these cases translate into diverse, inclusive and multiple, they create new needs and desires for politically sensitive lesbian consumers in neoliberal societies.

UPDATE: My article entitled ‘Remediating queer politics in online porn: Brand(ed) new sexualities and real bodies’, will be published in the special issue ‘Revolting Bodies: Desiring Lesbians’, in the Journal of Lesbian Studies (Forthcoming).

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Paper in Revolting Bodies, Politics & Genders- 18th Annual Lesbian Lives Conference

I’m doing a paper entitled ‘You Can Do More, You Can Actually Change the Productivity’: Affective Labour in Queer/ Feminist Porn Cultures, on Friday 11 February, at 4.45-6.15PM  in the panel ‘Performing an Erotic Room G4′ at the Revolting: Bodies, Politics & Genders, 18th Annual Lesbian Lives Conference Brighton 11-12 February 2011

Abstract:

‘You can do more, you can actually change the productivity’: Affective labour in queer/ feminist porn cultures.

This paper examines emerging digital visual cultures which generate and distribute queer/ feminist pornographic material. Using examples from FTM, gender-queer and online feminist pornography, it illustrates how the re-organisation of capitalist modes of production has moved to the site of intimacy. At the same time, the circulation of content and the quest for pleasure can be thought as a form of entitlement and belonging.

The analysis uses the framework of affective labour in order to understand what is being capitalised in queer/ feminist porn cultures, and to speculate their political potential. In particular, it focuses on discourses of ‘real bodies’, processes of self-surveillance and the production of commodifiable bodies and connections. The paper argues that, far from being liberatory spaces or gift economies, visual cultures of queer/ feminist porn are part of new digital economies which generate corporate profit from desire, sociability and life itself.

Keywords: affective labour, digital cultures, postporn, queer/ feminism

The 2011 Lesbian Lives Conference will be hosted by the University of Brighton LGBT and Queer Life Research Hub, in conjunction with the Women’s Studies Centre, University College Dublin.

UPDATE: My article entitled ‘Remediating queer politics in online porn: Brand(ed) new sexualities and real bodies’, will be published in the special issue ‘Revolting Bodies: Desiring Lesbians’, in the Journal of Lesbian Studies (Forthcoming).