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The Porn Report by Alan McKee, Katherine Albury and Catharine Lumby & Princesses and Pornstars by Emily Maguire

June 2008, no. 302

Pornification, The Porn Report and Princesses and Pornstars are three recent entries into the burgeoning academic field known as ‘porn studies’. All three books aim to move beyond the simplistic ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments that have traditionally surrounded pornography. Instead, each text explores the challenges and complexities of living in a world where sexually explicit material is more prevalent than ever before.

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In the era of gay liberation, ‘coming out’ has for many taken on the character of a religious experience. Gays and lesbians in the US draw easily on a religious culture of personal salvation even while denying the sometimes oppressive institutions it has created. In Australia, we are not given to the same public display of emotional and spiritual commitment, but ‘coming out’ has nevertheless come to be regarded as a gay rite of passage.

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Lyn Hughes’s One Way Mirrors begins with a white horse impaled on headlights. It’s autumn, ‘the stars look cold and pinched’. You know it’s going to end badly and it does, mostly.

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