Cutler, Danielle (2014) ‘It’s a consumer society and bodies are for consumption as well’ - Women’s views on the commodification and consumption of sex in contemporary society. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

There have been significant concerns in contemporary society that our culture is becoming increasingly sexualized leading to terms such as ‘pornographication’, ‘Mainstreaming sex’, ‘Striptease Culture’ and ‘Pornosphere’ being coined. Concerns regarding the influence of this culture on young people have received substantial focus publicly and academically. However, given that the majority of sexualisation and representation is of women, there seems to be little known about the everyday women’s views and engagement with this culture. This research focuses on women’s interpretations and understanding of representations of sexuality within our culture and what they considered acceptable and unacceptable. Conducting three focus groups, divided into three age cohorts, using stimuli that engages with a range of representations of sex and sexuality within society, and thematically analysing the data, five themes are identified and discussed. Consumption being a key component of the 21st Century, theory is drawn upon from Baudrillard to interpret the commodification and objectification of sex. Further, feminist thought and literature is used to understand the women’s views on gender, equality and oppression. The research also questions how we learn about sex and these themes engage with representations of sex in popular culture and pornography. The research highlights the need for a contextual understanding of sex and sexuality in order to consume and engage with representations more critically.

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