IIPC Debate 14 November

IIPC debate 106

Thu 14 November, 4-6 pm (Lecture Hall Hovi, V105, Kaivokatu 12, turku)

Professor Susanna Paasonen (University of Turku)

Dr Kylie Jarrett (Maynooth University)

Professor Ben Light (University of Salford)


The hashtag #NSFW (not safe for work) acts as both a warning and an invitation. NSFW tells users, “We dare you to click on this link! And by the way, don’t do it until after work!” Unlike the specificity of movie and television advisories (“suggestive dialogue,” “sexual content”), NSFW signals, nonspecifically, sexually explicit content that ranges from nude selfies to pornography. The debate looks at how and why social media content is tagged “not safe” and shows how this serves to conflate sexual content and risk. More specifically, we argue that the notion of “unsafety” extends beyond the risk of losing one’s job or being embarrassed at work to an unspecified sense of risk attached to sexually explicit media content and sexual communication in general. We further argue against the categorical effacement of sexual content by means of an all-purpose hashtag and urge us to shift considerations of safety from pictorial properties to issues of context and consent.

The debate is also a book launch event for NSFW: Sex, Humor, and Risk in Social Media (MIT Press, 2019, https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/nsfw) co-authored by Paasonen, Jarrett and Light.

Susanna Paasonen is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Turku, Finland. She is the author of Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography and Many Splendored Things: Thinking Sex and Play.

Kylie Jarrett is Head of the Department of Media Studies at Maynooth University, Ireland, and author of Feminism, Labour and Digital Media: The Digital Housewife.

Ben Light is Professor of Digital Society at the University of Salford, UK, and the author of Disconnecting with Social Networking Sites.

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