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The pornographer’s trade : A discredited professional group’s rhetoric, control and know-how - M. Trachman

Mathieu Trachman
IRIS, EHESS, 190-198, avenue de France, 75013 Paris, France

Available online 28 August 2012 on ScienceDirect

This article deals with the professionalization since 1975 of heterosexual pornography in France. Although pornography is discredited by the public authorities and lacks for any sort of formal training, pornographers have developed an occupational rhetoric whereby they present themselves as fantasy entrepreneurs, claim sexual expertise and control a male heterosexual business. The limits of sexual and gender identities are presented by them as natural, and the professionalization of pornography relies on a differential distribution of the know-how underlying a sex-based division of labor. The professionalization of sexuality involves not only efforts at making pornography a legitimate occupation but also the appropriation by men of sexual know-how and knowledge. What defines pornographers’ work is not only the fact they put consumers’ fantasies into images but also the male control of female sexuality.

Keywords : Pornography ; Sexuality ; Professionalization ; Sex-based division of labor

Article Outline

  • 1. The political disrepute of pornographers and its consequences
  • 2. Professional heterosexuals. The rationalization and professionalization of sexuality
  • 3. A masculine monopoly of sexual expertise
  • 4. Conclusion
  • References

Sociologie du Travail
Volume 54, Supplement 1, August 2012
Translated by Gabrielle Varro