The Poor, Morality and Pornography

Mick Hennen and Luna den Hertog


5 thoughts on “The Poor, Morality and Pornography

  1. Nagua El Sabagh and Iris Bakkum says:

    Luna and Mick make an interesting contribution to the debate of sexuality in emerging markets by emphasizing how sexuality is disregarded when talking about the use of ICTs in developing countries. As we have read in the literature of the previous weeks, digital technologies are used for similar purposes in Western and non-Western countries, in which individuals mainly use ICT for leisure purposes. Interestingly, Luna and Mick illustrated how the poor are desexualized, while pornography is most watched in emerging markets. In our opinion, the academic and social debate should devote more attention to the use of digital technologies for purposes regarding sexuality, both in Western countries and in emerging markets, since it is one of the primary uses of the Internet. For example, the Internet can be used by people who have a marginalized sexual position in society, such as homosexual or transgender persons, to create a social support system or to raise awareness for their marginalized status in society. This is not only important for emerging markets, but is also highly relevant for the Western world, where people who are not heterosexual can face many difficulties such as discrimination. In this case, the Internet has the potential to change the position of sexuality in society, and can be used for entertainment purposes and can be used with the aim to raise social awareness or achieve social change regarding sexuality. Therefore, we agree with Luna and Mick on the importance of sexuality in emerging markets, and additionally, we argue the debate on sexuality should not be limited to leisure purposes of ICTs in developing countries.


  2. Annabel & Rosa says:

    We think you make a very interesting point regarding the overlooked sexuality of citizens from emerging markets. Sexuality is an important aspect of (almost) every human life. Internet offers many opportunities to experiment and to explore sexuality. The Internet use of many constitutes of seeking these opportunities. It is indeed strange to think that citizens from emerging markets are different in this aspect. As Vance (1984) explains, it is strange to think that deprived citizens only think about material and life-saving issues. To think that they would only use Internet for labor-related issues is ridiculous. Sexuality is very human and by denying the sexual needs of these people, one dehumanizes them. This video explains this aspect very clearly.
    However, we do wonder about your concluding words, where you say ‘sexuality and leisure are a big part of our day-to-day lives and much can be learned from studying it, especially in the context of development’. We wonder in what ways studying leisure and sexuality can be beneficial in the context of development in the emerging markets. Can you perhaps give some examples?


  3. Matthijs and Thomas says:

    This video makes a strong argument about sexuality in emerging markets. You demonstrate how sexuality is often disregarded from “ICT for development”-programs and argue that sexuality (and leisure as well) is often designated as secondary to survival issues or material poverty. You stress that sexuality plays an prominent role in emerging markets and question why issues about sexuality would not be important for emerging markets. Desexualization of the poor doesn’t help the development of the very same poor. We agree with Mick and Luna in that we think that desexualizing these emerging markets and assuming a difference between ICT usage in the West and these emerging markets, probably won’t do any good to the (ICT-)development programs.

    We are left with a question though. You clearly argue against these misassumptions and desexualisation in ICT-development-programs and although agreeing with you on this, we do wonder how ICT-development-programs could approach sexuality in practice, especially since the examples given by you in the video seem to be very specific groups within these emerging markets. You conclude that it is important to study sexuality, especially in the context of development, but what’s missing is a reversion to your aforementioned problem with the development programs, since it might be hard to imagine how to approach this topic in a formal and practical way in these programs. That said, we thought your argument is very convincing.


  4. Payal Arora says:

    I like the way you guys get right to the argument in this video –good strategy! Very nice mix of research, statistics, and personal opinion on sexuality, leisure, intimacy and gender identity and how these domains find new avenues of expression via mobile phones and the internet. What is particularly effective in your digital story is the consistency throughout and the multiple examples and contexts you use to illustrate your prime argument- the Right to Sexuality and Intimacy for all regardless of economics with a nice ending for the viewers. One point of critique here though is that you need to be careful of situating pornography, sexuality, dating, romance and sexual identity and expression all in one single domain – there are numerous arguments on how porn can actually reify and give false notions of sexuality for instance and pornography is not on the same level as dating, romance and intimacy. So make your arguments more nuanced and demonstrate awareness of criticism and resistance to this but still make your case on how whether we like it or not, porn consumption is high and by negating it, we are circumventing the elephant in the room so to speak. Much technology adoption is driven by desires that are not pragmatic so we are to understand why and how people in emerging markets take to new technology, we need to see what drives and motivates them!


  5. Payal Arora says:

    The comments above do ask valid questions on how do you instrumentalize the relationship between sexuality and technology in development studies and indeed, it is first by starting to question the conventional paradigm of development in the first place. In fact, in my work, I even question whether we should look at this relationship through a development lens but instead, just view it as a technology practice and how we can understand contemporary human behavior through such enactments.


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