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Porn ‘does not make sex objects’

Australia- AN Australian study has cast doubt on the commonly held view that pornography shows women as nothing more than sex objects.

The study, to be published in the noted international Journal of Sex Research, analysed 50 of the bestselling pornographic videos in Australia to find out whether people were represented as sex objects.

Queensland University Professor Alan McKee, who led the study, said researchers compared the way women and men were represented in each video.

They noted such things as who initiated the sex, whose pleasure was paid attention to, whether people in the videos got to speak about what they wanted during sex and whose perspective the videos were presented from.

“We were surprised at just how active and in control the women were in these videos,” Prof McKee said today.

“This study suggests that mainstream pornography in Australia doesn’t represent women as sex objects, it shows them as active sexual agents.”

The findings are part of a three-year government-funded study – the most comprehensive of its kind – on pornography in Australia.

Interim results released in 2003 on the content of pornographic movies found super-size breasts scare some men, conservative voters love dirty magazines and adult videos have realistic plots.

Dr Alan McKee said those initial results had shattered the “dirty old man in a trenchcoat” stereotype of pornographic consumers.

Of the 320 respondents who said they used mainstream porn, 20 per cent were younger women, 33 per cent were married, 93 per cent believed in gender equality and 63 per cent considered themselves to be religious.

The researchers pored over the same 50 top-selling porn videos to analyse their plots and found most were believable and empowering for the fairer sex.

Most videos were imported from the US and bought through mail order companies in the ACT.

Dr McKee said most respondents were Liberal/National voters, which was interesting given those political parties were anti-porn.

The final results about the content of the movies will be released next year, and written into a popular culture book, with an executive summary to be given to the Federal Government.

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