Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 75–94 | Cite as

Women’s porn sites—Spaces of fissure and eruption or “I’m a little bit of everything”

  • Dànielle DeVoss


The historically significant but superficial divide between public and private spaces and identities has shaped women’s lives, subjectivities, and sexualities. In this article, I analyze women’s self-sponsored and self-published porn sites. Specifically, I focus on sites that demonstrate complex articulations of identity and subjectivity—sites that can be read as identity projects that appropriate cultural expectations of sexuality.

To foreground this analysis, I first explore past work analyzing the public/private dichotomy and suggest that computers and virtual spaces are used to reinforce the flimsy separation between public and private. Using these discussions as scaffolding, I then read a selection of women’s porn sites, arguing that these women Web authors are inserting their embodied subjectivities into public space, and forcing a remapping of the lines of the public and private in ways that rupture public representations of sexuality.


Public Space Virtual Space Private Space Sexual Content Public Realm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adam, Alison and Margaret Bruce. (1993). “The Expert Systems Debate: A Gender Perspective.” Pp. 81–91 in Eileen Green et al. (eds.),Gendered By Design? Information Technology and Office Systems. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  2. Autumn. (2000). Autumn’s naughty houswife [sic] scrapbook and autumn’s angry housewife guestbook []. Accessed October 10, 2000.Google Scholar
  3. Bakhtin, Mikhail. (1984).Rabelais and His World. Helene Iswolsky, Trans. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baym, Nina. (1985). “Melodramas of Beset Manhood: How Theories of American Fiction Exclude Women Authors.” Pp. 63–80 in Elaine Showalter (ed.),The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature & Theory. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  5. Becka Lynn. (2000). Becka Lynn nice and naughty []. Accessed October 8, 2000.Google Scholar
  6. Betty Who. (2000). Betty’s babes []. Accessed October 8, 2000.Google Scholar
  7. Blair, Kristine & Pamela Takayoshi. (1999). “Introduction: Mapping the Terrain of Feminist Cyberscapes.” Pp. 1–20 in Kristine Blair and Pamela Takayoshi (eds.),Feminist Cyberscapes: Mapping Gendered Academic Spaces. Stamford, CT: Ablex.Google Scholar
  8. Brail, Stephanie. (1996). “The Price of Admission: Harassment and Free Speech in the Wild, Wild West.” Pp. 141–157 in Lynn Cherny and Elizabeth Reba Weise (eds.),Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace. Seattle: Seal Press.Google Scholar
  9. Carver, Terrell. (1996). “‘Public Man’ man the Critique of Masculinities.”Political Theory, 24: 649–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Castells, Manuel. (1997).The Power of Identity. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  11. Cockburn, Cynthia. (1985).Machinery of Dominance: Women, Men and Technical Know-How. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  12. CommerceNet. (1999). The CommerceNet/Nielsen Internet demographic survey []. Accessed April 27, 2000.Google Scholar
  13. Cosmopolitan [British edition]. (2001). “The Rise of the Web Mistress,” pp. 28–31.Google Scholar
  14. Dank, Barry. (1999). “Sex Work, Sex Workers, and Beyond.”Sexuality & Culture, 2: 1–6.Google Scholar
  15. Duncan, Nancy. (1996). “Renegotiating Gender and Sexuality in Public and Private Spaces.” Pp. 127–145 in Nancy Duncan (ed.),Bodyspace. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Dyar, Jim. (2000, January 26). “Cyberporn Held Responsible for Increase in Sex Addiction.”The Washington Times, p. A2.Google Scholar
  17. Ebo, Bosah L. (2000).Cyberimperialism?: Global Relations in the New Frontier. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  18. Elshtain, Jean Bethke. (1981).Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought. Hartford, CT: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Faith. Learn all about me and what made me the wild lady I am today []. Accessed October 10, 2000.Google Scholar
  20. Foucault, Michel. (1988).The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume 1. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  21. —. (1990).The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality, Volume 2. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  22. Gatens, Moira. (1999). “Power, Bodies and Difference.” Pp. 227–234 in Janet Price and Margrit Shildrick (eds.),Feminist Theory and the Body, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Ginddens, Anthony. (1992).The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love, and Eroticism in Modern Societies. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Giroux, Henry. (1990). Rethinking the Boundaries of Educational Discourse: Modernism, Postmodernism, and Feminism.College Literature, 17: 1–50.Google Scholar
  25. Griffiths, Dot. (1985). “The Exclusion of Women from Technology.” Pp. 51–71 in Wendy Faulker and Erik Arnold (eds.),Smothered by Invention: Technology in Women’s Lives. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  26. Haraway, Donna. (1985). “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s.”Socialist Review, 80: 65–107.Google Scholar
  27. Haraway, Donna J. (1991).Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. — (1997).Modest_witness@second_millenium. FemleMan©_meets_OncoMouse TM:Feminism and Technoscience. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Hekman, Susan J. (Ed.).Feminist Interpretations of Michel Foucault. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Herring, Susan, Deborah Johnson and Tamra DiBenedetto. (1995). “‘This Discussion is Going Too Far!’: Male Resistance to Female Participation on the Internet.” Pp. 67–96 in Kira Hall and Mary Bucholtz (eds.),Gender Articulated: Language and the Socially Constructed Self. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Jellison, Katherine. (1993).Entitled to Power: Farm Women and Technology, 1913–1963. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  32. JenDD. Jennifer’s Erotic Home, online []. Accessed October 8, 2000.Google Scholar
  33. Jessup, Emily. (1991). “Feminism and Computers in Composition Instruction.” Pp. 336–355 in Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe (eds.),Evolving Perspectives on Computers and Composition Studies. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.Google Scholar
  34. Joseph, Suad. (1997). “The Public/Private—The Imagined Boundary in the Imagined Nation/State/Community.”Feminist Review, 57: 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kalakota, Ravi and Andrew B. Whinston. (1995).Frontiers of Electronic Commerce. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Longman.Google Scholar
  36. Kramarae, Cheris. (1988). “Gotta Go, Myrtle, Technology’s at the Door.” Pp. 1–14 in Cheris Kramarae (ed.),Technology and Women’s Voices: Keeping in Touch. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Landes, Joan B. (1998). “Introduction.” Pp. 1–20 in Joan B. Landes (ed.),Feminism, the Public and the Private. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Le Doueff, Michele. (1987). “Women and Philosophy.” Pp. 181–209 in Toril Moi (ed.),French Feminist Thought: A Reader. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  39. Lerum, Keri. (1999). “Twelve-step Feminism Makes Sex Workers Sick: How the State and the Recovery Movement turn Radical Women into ‘Useless Citizens’.”Sexuality & Culture, 2: 7–36.Google Scholar
  40. Lie, Merete. (1995). “Technology and Masculinity: The Case of the Computer.”European Journal of Women’s Studies, 2: 379–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mann, Patricia S. (1994).Micro Politics: Agency in a Post-Feminist Era. Mineapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  42. McNay, Lois. (1992).Foucault & Feminism: Power. Gender, and the Self. Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Mistee, Mistee’s XXX amateur site []. Accessed October 12, 2000.Google Scholar
  44. Murray, Fergus. (1993). “A Separate Reality: Science, Technology and Masculinity.” Pp. 64–80 in Eileen Green, Jenny Owen and Den Pain (eds.),Gendered by Design: Information Technology and Office Systems. London: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  45. Norland, Rod and Jeffrey Bartholet. (2001, March 19). “The Web’s Dark Secret.”Newsweek.Google Scholar
  46. Norton, Cherry. (2000, August 6). “Women Take Control of Cyberporn.”The Independent [].Google Scholar
  47. Pateman, Carol. (1983). “Feminist Critiqes of the Public/Private Dichotomy.” Pp. 281–303 in S. I. Benn and G. F. Gaus (eds.),Public and Private in Social Life. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  48. Perry, Joellen. (2001, April 23). “My Yahoo!? My, Oh My! Yahoo Pulls Porn Film Section.”U.S. News & World Report, 130 (16): 42.Google Scholar
  49. Prokovnik, Raia. (1998). Public and Private Citizenship: From Gender Invisibility to Feminist Inclusivity.Feminist Review, 60: 84–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rachel. Rachel’s hot legs site []. Accessed October 12, 2000.Google Scholar
  51. Rheingold, Harold. (2000).The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  52. Robin. Naked wives at Robin’s house []. Accessed October 12, 2000.Google Scholar
  53. Sawicki, Jana. (1991).Disciplining Foucault: Feminism, Power and the Body. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Schwartz, John. (2001, July 28). “File Swapping is New Route for Internet Pornography.”New York Times, p. C1.Google Scholar
  55. Shade, Leslie Regan. (1994). “Gender Issues in Computer Networking.” Pp. 91–105 in Alison Adam et al. (eds.),Women, Work and Computerization: Breaking Old Boundaries—Building New Forms. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  56. Stanley, Autumn. (1995).Mothers and Daughters of Invention: Notes for a Revised History of Technology. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Sullivan, Laura L. (1997). “Cyberbabes: (Self-) Representation of Women and the Male Virtual Gaze.”Computers and Composition, 14: 189–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Thomas, Cathy Booth. (2001, August 20). “Busting Internet Porn, Ethically.”Time, 158 (7): 10.Google Scholar
  59. Tresniowski, Alex. (2001, August 27). “Caught in the Web: T. and J. Reedy Convicted on Charges of Child Pornography.”People, 56 (9): 119–122.Google Scholar
  60. Ullman, Ellen. (1996). “Come in CQ: The Body of the Wire.” Pp. 3–23 in Lynn Cherny and Elizabeth Reba Weise (eds.),Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace. Seattle: Seal Press.Google Scholar
  61. United States Internet Council. (1999). State of the Internet, online []. Accessed April 27, 2000.Google Scholar
  62. Vablais, Cerise. (1998).How the Web was Won: Conquering the Digital Frontier. New York: Microsoft Press.Google Scholar
  63. Wajcman, Judy. (1991).Feminism Confronts Technology. University Park: Pennsylvania University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Webster, Juliet. (1996).Shaping Women’s Work: Gender, Employment and Information Technology. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishing Group.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dànielle DeVoss
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of American Thought and LanguageMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing

Personalised recommendations