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FemGenSex Symposium

Event information

START DATE 30 March 2018
START TIME 01:00pm

Room C211, College Building, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT

END DATE 30 March 2018
END TIME 05:30pm

Vocabularies of Active Female Desire

Despite years of heated debate, reaching back at least as far as the feminist sex wars of the 1970s and 1980s, issues surrounding the depiction of active female desire remain high on the cultural agenda. Whether it be new UK regulations taking aim at the depiction of certain kinds of female sexual enjoyment in video-on-demand pornography, or the upcoming release of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, it is clear that desire, sexual difference and representation continue to form a complex and provocative conceptual nexus.

Such a nexus demands careful consideration from a variety of perspectives if we wish to cultivate a more nuanced and holistic understanding of a topic too often generative of uncritical knee-jerk reactions or rehearsed moral panics.

This one-day symposium invites theorists and practitioners from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to discuss the challenges posed by attempts to represent active female desires (inclusively defined), as well as to explore some of the innovative contemporary strategies for addressing these challenges within various media and discursive traditions.

In what ways is female desire active and what activates it? What might such a desire look like? How does it sound, and what language does it use? Where can we detect the presence of active female desire in contemporary legal, medical and other discourses, and how have artists, writers and filmmakers sought to represent it? These are just some of the topics that the FemGenSex symposium 'Contemporary Vocabularies of Active Female Desire' will seek to address.


13.15 - 14.15 How do I look?

Helen Hester: 'The Asignifying Explicit: Screening Desire'
Alison J. Carr: 'Looking for a Good Time: Watching 18 Showgirl Shows'

14.15 - 14.30 Break

14.30 - 15.30 Desire in discourse

Alex Dymock: 'Speaking of the perverse female criminal'
Katherine Angel: 'Desires of the past: feminist critiques of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual'

15.30 - 15.45 Break

15.45 - 17.15 Consuming (and producing) desires

Lucy Neville: 'Male gays in the female gaze: Women who watch m/m pornography'
Itziar Bilbao Urrutia: 'Time and the Untouchable Goddess: ageing and gender in femdom fetish'
Feona Attwood: 'Women as Porn Audiences.'


Katherine Angel, author and research fellow at Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Alison J. Carr, artist

Alex Dymock, lecturer in criminology and law at Royal Holloway

Professor Feona Attwood (Middlesex University)

Dr Helen Hester (Middlesex University)

Dr Lucy Neville (Middlesex University)

Itziar Bilbao Urrutia, fetish video producer, visual artist and writer

To book a free ticket please register on Eventbrite: 


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