VIDEO ESSAY: Prostitution and pornography: Have they always existed?

This video essay provides a historical overview of prostitution and pornography and the position of women based on the work of, amongst others: Gerda Lerner, Marilyn French, Sylvia Federici and Andrea Dworkin. It is a re-recording of the first presentation at the webinar we hosted on 14 June, Porn, Prostitution and Violence against Women. Read More

Prostitution and pornography: A historical view

This article is based on the first presentation at our recent webinar, Porn, Prostitution and Violence against Women.

“It’s very easy to think that the world we know is normal and is how human beings have always lived. But what if that’s not true? What if the social structures we now live in are an anomaly in the long history of the human race? That’s what we’re going to explore in this presentation. We’re going to investigate the origins of patriarchy and capitalism, with a focus on the role of prostitution and pornography.”
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Josephine Butler: Pioneering feminist activist

Josephine Butler was a pioneering Victorian feminist who was famous for her activism against the sex trade and the punitive, sexist laws known as the Contagious Diseases Acts. This article provides a brief outline of her political awakening, her involvement in the campaign for women’s suffrage, education and employment, and her leadership of the ultimately successful campaign to overturn the Contagious Diseases Acts. Read More

Who is misbehaving? Reflections on the film, Misbehaviour

At the beginning of the film, Misbehaviour, Sally Alexander (played by Keira Knightley) is applying to study history at University College, London (UCL). We see her walk into the large wood-panelled interview room where six middle-aged white men are waiting for her, seated in a row behind a long table. The camera pans back so we can see them giving her a mark out of ten as she settles on the lone chair in front of them… Read More

What is feminism and why do we need it?

This article draws on the work of key feminist thinkers to provide a brief introduction to feminist theory and to show how many of the things we struggle with as women are not personal failings but are consequences of a system that is rigged against us – simply because we are female. That system has many threads – including the systematic deprivation of resources from women, men’s impunity to rape and abuse women, and the system of prostitution. Read More