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Honorable mention

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Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act (CJIA), a piece of UK legislation that came into effect in 2009, seeks to criminalize the possession of extreme pornography with a particular focus on controlling the spread of such images available via the internet. The law mandates that an image is pornographic “if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.” An image is considered extreme if it is “grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character” and “if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, any of the following:

  • An act which threatens a person’s life.
  • An act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals.
  • An act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse.
  • A person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive), and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that any such person or animal was real” (CJIA).

In this paper, I first consider the government’s given definition of “extreme” pornography while evaluating the law’s purpose and likely effects. I argue that the distinction between normal and extreme pornography diminishes the law’s physical and symbolic efficacy.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies


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