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Pornography, censorship, and public sex: exploring feminist and queer perspectives of (public) pornography through the case of Pornotopia

Kristen L. Cole a a Department of Communication, Denison University, USA Published online: 24 Jul 2014.

To cite this article: Kristen L. Cole (2014) Pornography, censorship, and public sex: exploring feminist and queer perspectives of (public) pornography through the case of Pornotopia, Porn Studies, 1:3, 243-257, DOI: 10.1080/23268743.2014.927708

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Porn Studies, 2014 Vol. 1, No. 3, 243257, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23268743.2014.927708

243 – 257, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23268743.2014.927708 Pornography, censorship, and public sex: exploring feminist

Pornography, censorship, and public sex: exploring feminist and queer perspectives of (public) pornography through the case of Pornotopia

Kristen L. Cole *

Department of Communication, Denison University, USA

This article examines feminist and queer perspectives on public pornography in the case of the censorship and subsequent cancellation of Pornotopia, a porno- graphic film festival held in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. News media coverage of the Pornotopia controversy is analyzed using moral conflict as a theoretical framework. Through this analysis, I seek to understand what went wrong in this debate rather than who is wrong. An exploration of the rhetorical strategies employed by both sides in the conflict reveals how moral orders that mimic feminist pro-pornography/anti-censorship perspectives and queer public sex perspectives are employed in incommensurate ways. I argue that the percep- tion of irreconcilable differences in the Pornotopia debate stems from differences in moral assumptions about private versus public sex/pornography. It is not until these primary moral assumptions are addressed and discussed that this debate can be reconciled, thus allowing for possibilities of broader moral grammars related to sex-positivity and queer community outreach.

Keywords: pornography; censorship; public sex; feminism; moral conflict

Introduction

Erotic and pornographic film festivals occur in major cities throughout the United States each year. These range in scope and overall agenda: from those that focus on mainstream productions with the aim of selling products and distributing awards (e.g. the AVN Adult Film Expo occurring annually in Las Vegas, Nevada since 1984), to those that highlight independent and/or short productions for artistic recognition (e.g. HUMP!, occurring annually in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon since 2005; or Good Vibrations Independent erotic film festival [IXFF], occurring annually in San Francisco, California since 2006), or to those that show- case niche productions for visibility and awareness (e.g. Bike Porn film festival occurring annually in Milwaukee, Wisconsin since 2007). The public nature of pornography film festivals suggests that they exist in spaces of open and collabor- ative consumption, not restricted to private spaces such as the home or to personal or intimate encounters. This openness also allows for the scrutiny of the function of pornography film festivals as community service or community nuisance. One particular erotic film festival that received local and national news media attention, leading to its subsequent cancellation in 2010, is Pornotopia an annual festival held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosted by self-identified sex-positive feminists and owners of a local sexuality resource centre and sex shop, Self Serve.

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The cancellation of the 2010 Pornotopia film festival was provoked by city zoning restrictions and elicited public controversy, debate, and conflict about pornography, censorship, zoning ordinances, and sex-positive education. Through

a rhetorical analysis of the argument structures and strategies present in 10 news

articles from local and national sources, including the Alibi , KOTA News , KRQE News , AVN , SEXIS, Psychology Today , and The Stranger , I seek to illuminate the

larger pornography debate in feminist literature. I do so by questioning the moral orders assumptions guiding and influencing communication, behaviour, and the construction of social worlds during conflict as constructed, represented, and evoked by two opposing perspectives and their embodiment in this public controversy.

I argue that the Pornotopia debate is motivated by parallel moral orders and

grammars that do not respond to one another. Perspectives represented by Pornoto- pia organizers and community supporters are based in feminist pro-pornography/ anti-censorship moral orders and assumptions. These are motivated by claims to rights, particularly the right to free speech through critiques of representation and sexual culture. Perspectives represented by the city are based in anti-public sex (rather than anti-pornography) moral orders. These are motivated by claims to responsibility, specifically the responsibility of the city to impose institutional zoning regulations for the protection of neighbourhoods (families), churches, and children from anything defined as adult entertainment.

In using the Pornotopia debate as a case study, I reveal how the moral orders of liberal feminist pro-pornography/anti-censorship perspectives, although often equa- ted with sex-positive feminist perspectives, actually run parallel to sex-positivity.

Liberal feminist perspectives, which I define here specifically as those in support of pornography through rights-based claims and appeals to free speech, are also limited

in accounting for issues of public sex that are central to public pornography festivals.

I suggest that arguments in favour of venues such as Pornotopia might be able to

transform conflict and be more productive for (feminist) sex-positive agendas through an understanding of moral orders evoked by (queer) public sex perspectives. Sex-positivity is used here and throughout this article to refer to possibilities for openly and publicly embracing, exploring, and educating communities about diverse sex, sexualities, desires, and relationships as complex, dynamic, and potentially positive experiences of everyday life. Therefore, a call for systemic shifts in institutional zoning regulations that limit expressions of queer sexuality, based in pro-public sex and sex-positive perspectives rather than an anti-censorship perspect- ive, would allow for nuanced and effective argumentation in favour of community education and outreach work.

I begin with an overview of Pornotopia, including Self Serve s commitment to

feminist pornography and sex-positive education and the city of Albuquerque s zoning ordinances that prompted the controversy. I then move into a discussion of rhetorical analysis, using moral conflict as the theoretical lens and explanatory schema. I provide a review of pro-pornography/anti-censorship perspectives in feminist literature and public sex perspectives in queer theory literature to situate the perspectives employed in the Pornotopia debate. I then turn to the findings of my analysis and a discussion of the implications of this analysis for pro-sex community work, meaning work that is geared toward encouraging education on and expression of diverse sexual choices, preferences, and activities. I suggest that the publicness of

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pornography its existence within a shared space that is open to the community might serve as a catalyst for transforming the focus of the Pornotopia debate in order to reconcile the incommensurate moral orders represented by each side. I also suggest that publicness might serve as a mechanism to broaden pro-pornography/ anti-censorship grammars and possibilities for sex-positive community outreach.

The case: Pornotopia

Pornotopia is an annual pornographic film festival held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, created by Molly Adler and Matie Fricker, who are co-owners of Self Serve. According to their website, Self Serve is a sex-positive retail store and sex education centre that supports women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) people, and anyone seeking healthy, positive sexual attitudes and perspectives, and sensual pleasure in everyday life(Self Serve 2011). As part of this philosophy, beginning in 2007, Molly and Matie developed and organized Pornotopia as an event where people could come together to publicly experience feminist, gay, queer, transgender, and BDSM erotic films as sites of pleasure, education, and artistic expression in an open and positive environment. Films that were scheduled to appear in the festival in 2010 included feminist- produced titles such as Life, Love, Lust , written and directed by Erica Lust. Lust s

work speaks about sex, lust, and passion

innovative approach and is about making love, not porn (Life Love Lust 2011 ). Other feminist-produced films included several titles by director Courtney Trouble, whose work speaks to an extremely fluid, authentic, and hardcore version of graphic sexual imagery (Courtney Trouble 2011 ). Some of the queer-produced films scheduled to appear were from Reel Queer Productions, which aims at documenting authentic, edgy, queer sex and culture with relevant, intelligent films inclusive of the many sexualities that identify as queer(Good Releasing 2011), and Trannywood films, which is a safe sex, educational and porn production company bringing together a diversity of trans and other queer men(Trannywood Pictures Theater 2011). 1 As the diversity of these independent film titles and descriptions may indicate, through Pornotopia Self Serve is committed to constructing a public venue where those interested in feminist and queer renderings of pleasure in film can come together in a like-minded and judgement-free space. As Penley et al. (2013 , 9) have indicated, feminist and queer pornography movements are strongly influenced by other social movements in the realm of sexuality, like the sex-positive, LGBT rights, and sex workers rights movements. As such, feminist and queer pornographies often contest and complicate dominant representations of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, body type, and other identity markers in order to include and account for pleasure within and across inequality, in the face of injustice, and against the limits of gender hierarchy and both heteronormativity and homonormativity (2013 , 9 10). In doing so, feminist and queer pornographies can be important sites where traditionally marginalized groups come to recognize and understand their sexual desires and identities (Dyer 1985 ; Waugh 1985) and they are also important sites to build community, to expand liberal views on gender and sexuality, and to educate and empower performers and audiences (Penley et al. 2013 , 15). In other words, feminist and queer pornography offer narrative and

with a feminine, aesthetic and

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visual forms of pleasure and sex that work to disrupt dominant orientations toward sexuality, desire, and identity that performers and audiences are often situated within. Pornotopia and other venues with similar intent are unique in their potential to break down stigma, account for diversity through representation and visibility, and offer a practice of consumption that allows for dialogue collaboratively and openly, without shame, and open conversations about pleasure in all of its diverse instantiations. Therefore, Self Serve s service to the community through Pornotopia is important for promoting feminist, queer, and sex-positive support and education, which is vital to many people who are part of the city of Albuquerque s population. However, this potential is limited in its scope when events such as Pornotopia are not taken seriously by city officials. The City of Albuquerque s website states that they are responsible for administering and implementing the Comprehensive City Zoning Code (City of Albuquerque 2014 ). This zoning code includes the regulation of Adult Amusement Establishments , which are defined as any commercial establishment that features any kind of performance, act, service, or display that is characterized by an emphasis on the depiction, description, exposure, or representation of specified anatomical areas or the conduct or simulation of specified sexual activities (City of Albuquerque 2014 ). Establishments that qualify as adult amusement are permitted in Heavy Commercial Zones or Industrial Park Zones (often located outside or on the edges of city limits) as long as they are in a completely enclosed building, located at least 1000 feet from any other adult amusement establishment or adult store, and at least 500 feet from the nearest residential zone, church, pre-elementary, elementary, or secondary school. It was the classification of Pornotopia as adult amusement that led to the legal definition of its hosting establishment as an adult amusement establishment (regardless of it being held only once per year), which instigated its eventual cancellation. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 Pornotopia was held at a small locally owned theatre called Guild Cinema in Albuquerque s Nob Hill area. However, in early 2010 Molly and Matie were notified by the city of Albuquerque that Pornotopia could no longer be held at the Guild because it was not zoned to host adult entertainment. In compliance with this notification, Molly and Matie sought out alternative establishments that met proper zoning requirements. In October 2010 they announced the venue s new location would be The Sunshine Theater in downtown Albuquerque. However, soon after this announcement, they were notified by the city that their chosen venue was not zoned properly for adult entertainment. In order to accommodate the city s zoning regulations they organized and planned a censored version of their originally scheduled show, which would include live burlesque, music, and sexually provocative comedy rather than pornographic videos. However, on 4 November, just two days before the event was scheduled to occur, Molly and Matie announced they were cancelling the censored show, stating that they did not feel safe hosting the event because of the scrutiny that the city was threatening to enforce (Schwartz 2010 ). From November 2010 to September 2013 Pornotopia was cancelled with no indication of future rescheduling. In order to explore the discourses surrounding the censorship and subsequent cancellation of Pornotopia, I look at the rhetorical shaping of the event specifically as it is represented through news media coverage.

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Pornotopia and moral conflict

To answer questions related to rhetorical strategies and the argumentative structure employed in relation to Pornotopia, it is imperative to look at the discourses that were made available to a general public via mass media. A Google search for articles relating to Pornotopia in Albuquerque returned 10 relevant articles from local and national sources, including the Alibi , KOTA News , KRQE News , AVN , SEXIS, Psychology Today , and The Stranger . I conducted a broad coding of the articles in order to pull out the primary perspectives represented. With this process, it became immediately clear that there were three very distinct structural locations represented; the city, Pornotopia and its supporters, and the journalists interpretations of these two perspectives. Looking at these perspectives through a basic model of argumen- tation (Toulmin 1969 ), I separated the discourses presented by each side of the conflict into three major categories of claims, grounds, and rebuttals. Claims are the thesis or primary statement on which an argument relies. Claims include basic definitions of terms that are used to construct the argument, the general premises and/or assumptions that the argument makes or asks the reader to make, as well as statements that clearly construct what side of the argument is being argued for. Grounds, or reasoning, include any appeals to logic or data that support the overall argument. In this case, grounds are most often identified in the form of examples and general reasons used to support the argument. Rebuttals are identified as statements that are in direct response to reasoning being made by an opponent or propositions of resolution that are made in response to the overall argument. Although Toulmin ( 1969 ) developed these components as a model in order to evaluate whether an argument is realistic and good, I use them here as coding categories to separate and understand the argument pieces and its whole, looking for the perspectives and worldviews that are constructed, in order to analyze and explain them through a moral conflict perspective. Once these argumentative elements were broken down, they revealed differing and incompatible worldviews that are best captured using the theory of moral conflict as an explanatory schema. In my analysis, I look at how basic definitions and premises/assumptions, reasoning, and rebuttals or propositions for resolution within the two sides of the Pornotopia debate construct specific grammars and moral orders representative of two social realities. For this purpose, I use the theory of moral conflict by Pearce and Littlejohn ( 1997 ). The theory of moral conflict suggests that in public disputes logics of the paradigms do not permit-cross translation (Nicotera 2009 , 168). This means that the opposing sides of a community conflict tend to develop two very opposing perspectives of the conflict, based on their particular worldviews, where actions and discourse differ and even similar terms have disparate meanings ( 2009 , 168). Pearce and Littlejohn ( 1997 , 51 52) suggest that moral conflicts, broadly, are moral differences expressed publicly. Moral differences exist when groups have incom- mensurable moral orders . Moral orders refer to the ways that certain groups understand their experiences and make judgements about the experiences of others. They construct worldviews where meanings, assumptions, and ways of thinking are inherent in practices, constructed and reconstructed in what groups say and do. Moral orders are enacted in everyday practices through grammars of action, where the meanings of behaviours and communicative utterances are determined by their

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place within a groups understanding of and guidelines for appropriateness and effectiveness of situations. Differences among grammars create differences in moral orders, and vice versa , where groups use the same or similar discourse in ways that are incompatible with one another. Thus, moral conflict occurs when disputants act within incommensurable grammars and moral orders. As Pearce and Littlejohn ( 1997 ) suggest, the difficulty with moral conflict is that neither side involved in the conflict possesses the rhetorical or discursive resources to connect with the other side. In order to transform the conflict so that the two sides can find a bridging point, the participants need to construct a new discursive place. Therefore, unlike many passionately polarized perspectives on pornography, using moral conflict as a theoretical lens allows for understanding conflict and its constructive possibilities rather than determining a winner. Pearce and Littlejohn state that new forms of constructive communication can be achieved if participants change their ways of relating ( 1997 , 8). New ways of relating can only occur if the subject of the conflict is transformed in such a way as to make each side cognizant of their own moral assumptions and seriously open to the opposing perspective. By applying the theory of moral conflict to the case of Pornotopia, I argue that the social realities present within this debate can be likened to the moral orders of the pro-pornography/anti-censorship (rights) and anti-public sex perspectives (respons- ibilities). Illuminating the moral assumptions undergirding these two perspectives, and the ways they speak around rather than to one another, opens up the possibility for the creation of a new branch of rhetoric that could move beyond the continued resurgence of the anti-pornography versus pro-pornography dichotomy. As it stands, this dichotomy does not necessarily facilitate sex-positivity and cannot account for the potential publicness of pornography. I first turn to an overview of pro- pornography/anti-censorship and public sex perspectives in order to situate my analysis. I discuss how understanding the construction of these two social realities as situated in the perspectives of pro-pornography and anti-public sex grammars and moral orders reveals possibilities for transforming the communication between Self Serve and the city through a centring of the publicness of the venue, which can also be used to expand the social realities constructed by pro-pornography/ anti-censorship and anti-public sex crusaders in order to facilitate sex-positive community outreach and education.

Pornography, censorship, and public sex

The anti-pornography (pro-censorship) side of the pornography debate is often based on two primary assumptions: pornography is violent, sexist, and, thus, a core con- tributor to womens subordination and oppression (MacKinnon 1993 ); and porno- graphy is a product/productive of rape and prostitution (Dworkin 1995 ). The anti- censorship (pro-pornography) side of this debate, which is often represented by liberal feminist perspectives, refutes this argument using three primary assumptions:

not all pornography is violent, and pornography is no more violent than mainstream media; not all women are oppressed by non-normative sexual representations (which sometimes includes voluntary and consensual engagement with what might otherwise be called violence, such as sadomasochism) and often find it a source of pleasure; and government regulation of pornography is detrimental to womens civil

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rights because it violates the fundamental principles of the First Amendment (Rubin 1995 ; Strossen 1995 ; Hudson 2006 ). It is important to note that these are by no means the only feminist perspectives on pornography and censorship. However, the anti-censorship/pro-pornography perspective is particularly relevant for understand- ing the rhetorical arguments constructed in the Pornotopia conflict.

Anti-censorship/pro-pornography

Anti-censorship/pro-pornography feminist perspectives are often motivated by discussions of the right to free speech through critiques of representation and sexual culture. In response to anti-pornography claims, Rubin ( 1995 , 245) challenges the assumption that all pornography is violent. She states that very little pornography actually depicts violent acts , claims pornography is not more violent or sexist than mainstream media, and states that defining sadomasochism and other non- normative sexual behaviours as sexist and violent invalidates them as sexual preferences and delegitimizes the potential pleasure women derive from these images. In relation to first amendment rights, Hudson ( 2006 , 75) suggests that arguments about violence contradict the essence of the amendment, which states that the impact of speech cannot be grounds for the government control of speech . Enacting censorship policies encourages a totalitarian control on the population by the government (2006 , 75). Censorship and first amendment rights are discussed in detail in Strossen s ( 1995 ) work on defending pornography. Anti-censorship perspectives, such as that of Strossen ( 1995 , 20), maintain that the anti-pornography argument is really an antisex argument, which is detrimental to women s rights and freedom of speech. Strossen states that procensorship feminism reflects a deep distrust of sex for women( 1995 , 20). She goes on to say that censoring pornography is detrimental to womens free speech regarding sex education, artistic expression, and political lobbying for sexual rights. As Hudson ( 2006 , 74-75) puts it, initiatives taken by the anti-pornography feminists [seek] to regulate acceptable and unacceptable sexual identities. Advocating for government restriction of certain forms of sexual expression ascribes which types of sexual behaviors are acceptable (and which are not) (2006 , 74-75). Some anti-censorship proponents imply the need for systemic changes in order to combat oppression of gender and sexuality. Myers ( 1995 , 269) states that the distinction between pornography and other modes of sexual representation cannot

[they] are learned through contextualiza-

rest on the characteristics of the image

tion: they are not innate . In other words, to understand the impact of pornography we must account for systemic influences on the interpretation of pornographic images. Similarly, in a call for synthesizing anti-pornography and anti-censorship perspectives, Chancer ( 2000 , 82) suggests that feminist efforts be aimed at transform- ing the institutional contexts. One possibility for transforming institutional contexts,

I suggest, is by challenging notions of sex as private by making pornography public at venues such as Pornotopia, which can also facilitate new interpretations and contexts for pornography. As queer theories of public sex suggest, challenging systemic influences such as institutional zoning restrictions to keep pornography private confronts interpretations of sex as shameful, lewd, and indecent, which currently limits the possibilities for the interpretation of pornographic images.

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Public sex is a related but distinct discussion to pornography that is often left out of feminist debates. 2

Public sex

Theories about public sex originate from the American gay liberation movement s demand that all sex acts performed in private between consenting adults be decriminalized (Califia 1994 , 71): a response to strict state and federal sodomy laws that are discriminatory against various minority groups. However, as Califia ( 1994 , 17) demonstrates, the deregulation of private sex means increased crimina- lization of public sex. It leads to an increased privatization of sex, which is detrimental to the queer community and reaffirms queer sexuality as lewd, indecent, and unnatural, thus detracting from possibilities of sex-positivity. Berlant and Warner ( 1998 ), Bell and Binnie ( 2000 ), and Hubbard (2012 ) expand on the sexual politics of city zoning laws and point to the connection between public sex, queer politics, and sex-positivity.

Berlant and Warner ( 1998 , 551 553) state that national culture depends on notions of sex as private. These are built on ideologies of heteronormativity that translate into the institutional control of sexuality through mechanisms such as zoning restrictions. For example, cities construct zoning ordinances aimed at protecting heteronormative relations of private life such as families (i.e. neighbour- hoods) and religion (i.e. churches). However, in doing so, adult entertainment establishments, and particularly queer community establishments, are pushed to the outskirts of the city. In particular, zoning ordinances target gay bars, adult theatres, and book stores, including sexuality resource centres. This is problematic, particu- larly for queer communities because these establishments are how they have learned to find each other; to map a commonly accessible world; to construct the architecture

of queer space in a homophobic environment; and

safer sex ( 1998 , 551 553). By establishing and enforcing strict zoning regulations, intimate life is the endlessly cited elsewhere of political public discourse, a promised

haven that distracts citizens from the unequal conditions of their political and economic lives ( 1998 , 551 553). Berlant and Warner s argument reveals a need for systemic change in the ways sex and intimacy are constructed as private and the possibility for public showings of pornography to enact this challenge. Similarly, Hubbard (2012 , 16) suggests that zoning restrictions are a strategy of governmentality used to impose moral urban order , often situated as a city s responsibility to protect morality. The moral bases of zoning restrictions are revealed when new adult entertainment businesses in cities are almost always targeted or banned on the basis that they can pollute , taint or contaminate other land uses such as schools and churches, and are simply not appropriate in familyareas ( 2012 , 164). As such, zoning normalizes particular sexualities while marginalizing others (2012 , 18), and, as a site of power, the city becomes a place where ideas about normaland healthy sex are produced and disciplined ( 2012 , 30). Therefore, zoning is always also about sexual morality, which suggests that disrupting the discourses and practices of zoning can also serve to disrupt dominant, institutiona- lized conceptions of sexual morality.

to cultivate a collective ethos of

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Finally, Bell and Binnie ( 2000 , 17) point to how arguments for the publicness of queer sex are linked to sex-positivity. They claim that in reaction to the sex- negativity of state health campaigns in the wake of the AIDS crisis, queer politics came out as proudly pro-sex . In particular, enacting sexuality in public space space marked as heterosexual became a tactic of embodied political resistance . However, they caution against rights-based claims that seek to secure space to be a sexual citizen because these kinds of interventions can serve to inscribe a new (even if queer) kind of sexual privatization and propriety. Therefore, examining the Pornotopia conflict reveals how shifting liberal feminist pro-pornography claims away from rights-based appeals, such as those based in ideologies of free speech, can open up conversations that address sex-positivity as public and community practice rather than an institutionalization of space. Overall, arguments for public sex reveal possibilities for destabilizing sexual boundaries through a removal of heterosexual relationships as a normative referent, challenging dominant conceptions of sexual morality, and facilitating sex-positive education campaigns. This is a positive goal for both feminist and queer perspectives that aim to disrupt normative conceptions of gender and sexuality within public and community spaces. It is also a goal that Pornotopia has the potential to push for, the city has the opportunity to stand for, and liberal leaning perspectives on pornography have the potential to embrace and evoke in order to facilitate sex-positivity. As will become clear in my analysis, discourses surrounding Pornotopia reveal that public sex is a distinct and important theoretical perspective, especially in the ways it accounts for the public showing of pornography.

The Rhetorical Construction of Pornotopia

My analysis of the 10 stories surrounding Pornotopia reveals grammars and moral orders that are representative of the pro-pornography/anti-censorship worldview, and grammars and moral orders evoked by the city that are representative of the anti-public sex worldview. In particular, the pro-pornography/anti-censorship worldview is based in grammars and moral orders of rights to pornography as free speech, pleasure, and art. The anti-public sex worldview is based in grammars and moral orders of responsibility to protect the city through strict enforcement of pre- existing zoning ordinances. These differing worldviews constructed by these various argumentative elements contribute to the incommensurable conflict surrounding the Pornotopia debate.

Argumentative claims: definitions, premises, and assumptions

Throughout the articles analyzed, both sides subscribe to and employ differing definitions of pornography. The city defines public obscenity (pornography) as showing specified anatomical areas genitals, buttocks, female breasts (including the bottom of the breast) and turgid male genitals (Demarco 2010 ). In contrast, Pornotopia claims their display of pornographic videos represents beautiful sex (TinaV 2010 ) or two people loving each other nekkid [ sic ](Demarco 2010 ). Although both of these definitions use nudity and sexuality as their initial platform, the city constructs a very standardized, general, and emotionally void definition,

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whereas Self Serve specifically appeals to the emotional positivity of nudity through love and romance. Through these definitions, the city enacts a very conservative and institutional stance reminiscent of anti-public sex advocacy whereas Self Serve reveals a more liberal tendency. Additionally, it is implied that this debate hinges on matters of public displays of sex and nudity. However, beyond basic definitions of porno- graphy, argumentative grounds, or reasoning, reveal each side s allegiance to their particular moral order.

Argumentative grounds: reasoning and grammars

In the process of debating Pornotopia, the city explicitly employs argumentative strategies that forefront the publicness of the venue, thus arguing that its cancellation is a zoning issue. The city suggests that Pornotopia can still happen but it needs to be held outside the metropolitan area. Throughout the media coverage of Pornotopia the city evokes a strong position of regulating publicness, claiming adherence to zoning laws. It states that they are simply enforcing the law (Gutierrez 2010 ) and journalists reaffirm the law s supremacy by taking direct blame away from the city in statements such as restrictive zoning regulations have effectively banned the festival (Hymes 2010 ). When challenged by Pornotopia, they respond by showing a zoning map of where organizers can and cannot hold the venue or suggesting that Pornotopia go underground in people s homes (TinaV 2010 ). It is clear that the city has developed this zoning response as a stock and rigid grammar; one that is challenged by Self Serve, but through their own grammar of pro-pornography, including censorship claims that do not account for challenges to zoning publics. Pornotopia s argumentative reasoning is based in appeals to freedom of speech and censorship, which is a strategic argument in feminist anti-pornography debates. Pornotopia constructs an anti-censorship argument in ways that mirror the anti- censorship/pro-pornography feminist perspective. They argue that Pornotopia is not worse than mainstream media, suggest it is a positive source of pleasure for women, and claim that Pornotopia is art (and thus protected by free speech). Organizers of Pornotopia state: Just a couple of blocks away from where Pornotopia was going to be held, there s a theater showing Jackass 3D , which features full-frontal nudity (TinaV 2010 ). Pornotopia is also juxtaposed positively to mainstream depictions of violence; for example, Molly Adler states in an interview that its fascinating that body parts are so heavily regulated when violence isn t, and goes on to suggest that if people are murdering each other violently, it s probably not even necessarily rated R (Demarco 2010 ). Additionally, Pornotopia is consistently compared with Knockouts, a gentlemen s club across the street from the film festival s proposed venue. It is stated that it is not fair for Knockouts to operate but for Pornotopia to be shut down, when the film festival is no more sexually explicit than a strip club. This better-than-mainstream-media argument is a clear appeal to one side of the anti-pornography/anti-censorship debate. Another of the assumptions, which refutes the anti-pornography perspective, is the possibility for women to derive pleasure from pornography. Self Serve and proponents of the Pornotopia debate make reference to this; one article even exclaims women really do like porn! , supporting this with reference to a behavioural study that found women react as strongly to porn as men do (Ley 2010 ). The final

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correlation between Pornotopia and anti-censorship is the claim for pornography as art. Pornotopia organizers suggest that the film festival depicts only positive, artistic, and educational representations. Defending the films as art that should be protected by the first amendment, Adler says people think, well, porn, erotic films, can never be art , which she refutes by suggesting they can never be art if they can never be shown (Demarco 2010 ). However, the grammar of anti-censorship that is employed here limits understandings and refutations that account for the (de-)regulation of public sex, rather than free speech.

Argumentative rebuttals: propositions for resolution

In one article the organizers of Pornotopia do acknowledge the private/public sex issue; however, it is specifically in response to the city s suggestion that they go underground. Adler states that suggesting Pornotopia be held in private homes is still saying that porn should only be allowed in private and it s a shameful thing that needs to be quiet and behind closed doors (Demarco 2010 ). This statement is immediately followed by a claim that Pornotopia is artistic, and the argument digresses with an issue of free speech rather than the regulation of public sex. This conversation does, however, point to the possibility of both perspectives being reconciled. Discourses representative of the city are, of course, much less frequent than those

of proponents of Pornotopia because of the institutional power that the city is able to

evoke through non-response. Almost all of the responses coming from the city are rebuttals to accusations of free speech violations made by Self Serve and Pornotopia supporters. Responses made by the city tend to use euphemisms for Pornotopia,

calling it an activity , adult amusements , or even the event. Their plan of action includes gesturing towards a map and highlighting where pornography can be shown

in the city. Most notably, however, the city claims that what they are suggesting as a

resolution to the conflict is not censorship because there are alternative spaces where Pornotopia can be held.

Overall, throughout the Pornotopia debate, the city positions itself as a

monolithic authority that is strictly enforcing zoning ordinances as set forth by law. In doing so, they come to represent a regulatory perspective of the public sex debate. Self Serve and supporters of Pornotopia employ an argument of free speech,

a form of rhetoric that positions their perspective as representative of the anti- pornography/anti-censorship moral order. However, the showing/performance of sex

in public, and its subsequent public debate, reveals the limitations that both of these

perspectives construct and, thus, their current irreconcilability. By separating and clarifying these two perspectives, it is clear that pro-pornography debates need to account for public sex worldviews, and cities that evoke oppressive, problematic, and unequal institutional restrictions based in an anti-public sex worldview need to be made cognizant of the limits they are placing, not only on issues of speech but on the possibilities for creating a supportive, sex-positive, and LGBTQ community.

Possibilities for transforming communication

Throughout this analysis I have sought not only to reveal the ways that pro- pornography/anti-censorship claims and anti-public sex claims do not cross-translate,

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but also the ways that these perspectives limit discussion of sex-positivity, particularly sex-positive outreach, education, and queer community-building. However, there are important political contexts to consider. In particular, the city s institutional power allows for non-response, limited response, and static response to stand as legitimate forms of communication. As with much community organizing, this, unfortunately, forces much of the burden for changing the dialogue onto Self Serve and community supporters of Pornotopia. However, Self Serve and Pornotopia supporters have already embarked on a campaign for visibility in regards to issues of pornography and censorship, which could be expanded to account for issues of public sex and sex- positivity, serving as an example of how liberal feminist perspectives on pornography can be expanded in these ways as well. Being made aware of the incommensurable moral orders undergirding this conflict can also reveal to the city the limitations of their self-endowed responsibility to protect as located within rigid and morally skewed definitions of responsibility. Revealing these limitations is a first step in reconciling worldviews in order to reach a communicative space that transforms conflict and begins to yield practical and (sex-)positive changes. The second step is to find ways to redefine the conflict. Littlejohn ( 2004 , 2) states: instead of settling a dispute, we need to think of ways to transform it. Instead of encapsulating a conflict, we need to think of ways to redefine it. He suggests that when tensions arise and differences cannot be discussed productively, then the possibility to transform this tension lies in determining what can be discussed productively and how it should be discussed. Redirecting the conversation in a way that accomplishes a different but equally important goal in relation to the overall controversy is one possible way in which persons who are steeped in their own moral orders can begin to make progress from an alternative angle. For this particular conflict, the most promising and under-discussed possibility for transformation seems to be that of recognizing the needs of the public. Rather than starting with pornography, sex, or zoning, the conversation needs to address the issue as one occurring in a public space that affects the persons interacting in and contributing to that space. The interests of those who would benefit from a venue such as Pornotopia, including women, LGBTQ persons, and members of the BDSM community, need to become a central point of discussion. In this way, the controversy could begin to address an issue that is, hopefully, of equal importance to both sides the community that is affected. During Pornotopia s cancellation, news discourses began to reveal these possibilities for transforming current communication through recognition of the importance of Pornotopia as a local public event. In reflecting on support for Pornotopia from City Councilor Rey Garduño, an editorial in the Albuquerque Journal suggests that pornography zoning is a quality of life issue ( Pornography Zoning 2011 , A8). The article suggests that although Garduño is trying to respond to freedom of speech claims by suggesting that Albuquerque set aside one week a year when pornographic film festivals can be shown in town, this resolution still excludes certain groups. It might briefly appease some freedom of speech issues but it still limits the quantity and variety of public pornography venues. This allowance does not fully account for the lives being oppressed year round by such zoning regulations and the insistence these restrictions put on the privatization of sex.

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Continuing to frame Pornotopia as a quality of life issue, which forefronts the communities being affected, offers a space for transforming this current conflict. At the time of this writing, the New Mexico State Supreme Court has overturned the city of Albuquerque s ruling that the Guild Cinema violated city zoning ordinances by hosting Pornotopia. The ruling allows the Guild Cinema to host occasionalfuture events that feature adult entertainment (Sandlin 2013, C1), and, beginning immediately, allows Pornotopia to be reinstated annually. However, the discourses surrounding this ruling reveal that, despite the victory for Pornotopia organizers, both sides are still steeped in their original incommensurate moral orders. For example, after the ruling, Laura Schauer Ives, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who backed the Guild Cinema and Pornotopia in the Supreme Court case, suggested it is a victory for free speech while the court said that their decision was consistent with their responsibility to interpret ordinances to avoid constitu- tional concerns (Sandlin 2013, C1); their decision was more about whether the Guild should be defined as an adult theatre if it only holds one festival a year. Although the Pornotopia case has been resolved legally, the divisive moral perspectives that fuelled the conflict in the first place still remain intact and incommensurate. Possibilities for creating other public outlets for supporting sex- positive and LGBTQ communities will still be subjected to scrutiny and will no doubt require careful justifications under the watchful eyes of city officials. I offer this critique as a way of revealing possibilities for reconciliation in traditional feminist anti-censorship/pro-pornography arguments as they relate to public pornography and sex-positivity. The establishment of incompatible premises in these arguments and the different modes of reasoning or grammars evoked construct an incommensurable argument motivated by differing moral orders that, by definition, can never reach agreement as they stand. Pornotopia s appeal to perspectives of free speech obscures the publicness of the venue and, thus, the potential impacts of sex-positivity for members of the Albuquerque community. Conversely, in order to meet community needs, the city needs to relinquish its monolithic power and understand the material implications of enforcing strict and rigid public zoning regulations on community outreach and sex-positive education. Pornography and public displays of pornography are uniquely political. It is not enough to say that pornography itself or even public displays of pornography are transgressive, but also that new frames of discourse surrounding current, intractable conflict can potentially transform conversations about what is really at stake when pornography goes public.

Notes

1. The full list of scheduled films includes: Life, Love, Lust (2010), written and directed by Erica Lust; Matinee (2009) by Jennifer Lyon Bell; I Want your Love (2010) by Travis D. Mathews; Roulette Dirty South (2009) and Speakeasy (2009) by Courtney Trouble; Billy Castro does the Mission (2010), Bordello (2009), Fluid: Men Redefining Sexuality (2009), Fluid: Women Redefining Sexuality (2009), and Tight Places: A Drop of Color (2010) by Real Queer Productions; and Couch Surfers 2 (2009) by Trannywood Films. More information about each film and director can be found on their respective websites.

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sexual imaginaries and psyches. This argument is not particularly significant to the Pornotopia conflict because the site of controversy is enclosed and there have been no explicit concerns or discussions regarding advertisements for the festival. However, Cornell does implicitly endorse queer discussions of public sex by claiming that public decency should not be a factor in zoning ordinances, and highlights how imposed sexual shame severely limits psychic space for free play with one s sexuality ( 1995, 9).

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