Cultural Topology, networks and slaves

Celia Lury and Luciana Parisi, Tiziana Terranova and even Donna Haraway and Rosi Braidotti. I was wondering what they would say if they were to read this post (which of course they will not read!).

For almost two weeks now I have been preparing a module on Digital Media, Identity and Gender. As usual, to avoid the panopticon situation I lived while in Middlesex, I have asked friends, colleagues and family to give me harsh feedback on my lessons and slides. I was given the advice to follow a very detailed book on the topic and since my circle knows the panopticon situation of middlesex, they strongly recommended to just follow the book. “if you have the same sort of crowd, they can go to Cameron and complain; you followed the best book”. So I did.

They were right to the point where I got to the LGBTs section, which I found rather…inappropriate. So I started looking for alternative publications, alternative points of view and all went down to the fact that we are sort of bringing embedded notions of sexual identity online, through websites and blogs, facebooks and tweets. So, basically we are re-proposing the body as a symbol of strength and sexuality as a symbol of attractiveness.

I am new to the LGBTs academic analysis and I find it fascinating, ethnographically-focused, precise, never generalisable. I don t even know how, I kept reading and learning and my path crossed with that of pornography and feminist pornography. Our path had already crossed ages ago but then my ‘women’s power through data’ obsession made me forget it even existed. I see how hegemonic masculinities are more than ever a useful concept and even how the male gaze is still a burden in our societies. When I saw the LGBTs I felt a bit like Butler when she heard about queer theory fr the first time  (and she apparently asked: what is queer theory?) 🙂

Across all different sides of the debate, pornography is either distrusted or considered a form of art. I have no opinion really. However, I decided to get into the topic.

Found interestingly enough the following results:

– massive amateur communities

– massive erotic how-to-do sort of videos

-revolting “slave” “submission” themes

Let me start with the first point: amateur porn

I selected some basic websites -> youporn and pornhub. Funnily enough, I could do some traffic analysis and found how especially youporn is like a hub where different nodes can link to.

It is a rather big community allow me to say! Wives swap, hubbies swaps, threesome, neighbourhood orgy…Anyway, nothing out of the ordinary; how many times have we watched -willingly or not- Made in Chelsea, Desperate housewives and Beverly Hills 90210 where everybody slept with each member of the group at least once. The downside of this -and other- cluster is the lack of complexity. Hence my interest in looking at the different narratives of “straight porn” and “LGBTs porn” ->  any literature would be highly appreciated.

What is interesting from a “digitally sociological” (?) perspective is the amateur culture of voyeurism and exhibitionism I have tried to get my head around at length. Anyway, one thing led to another and I found: arab produced porn. In particular what I could see are forums where pictures can be uploaded, downloaded and shared. I have found so far 3rab and Both are forums so no apparent presence of videos on the site although videos are available on youporn, (must be cause their label is all over the site) and, they also have inviting (lol) commercials on… youtube! And I thought that youtube blocked Indie music along with bad content! What a fool!

I am still studying the phenomenon so again, any literature or any current research on this, please do let me know. Any thought and even conference papers on this would be highly appreciated.

3rab-nar stats
6banat stats


Let’s move to the: erotic DIY

Interestingly enough, there is a rich plethora of videos with “erotic” keywords along with “kamasutra” and “tips”. I like this DIY attitude. Makes me think that there is a community of men and women trying to learn and be more effective; espeically teen agers since I was not asked my age on porn hub and I was asked to promise I was 18 on youporn!



Let’s move to the section that makes me sick and angry at those who defend pornography and also makes me wonder how the topology of digital culture is taking a turn we couldn’t ve expected or, very simply, freedom of the net is a rather oblique concept that doesn’t sit with who owns the underwater fiber optics. For years I  thought that being part of the net freedom movement would mean that alleged hackers could allegedly play playstation with servers. We usually associate freedom with Anonymous.

In my investigation born out of ignorance of the LGBTs academic theories, I ended up in a brutal world. Don t get me wrong, I am aware of the dominatrix reality (I watch CSI thank you very much) and I am aware of the current debates around the rape culture of Games of Throne or Thrones.

However, let me share the keywords I could find associated to brutal sex videos. Although domination and slavery seem to have a egalitarian distribution, believe me, there are only a handful of videos where some sort of enslaved woman was not tortured and raped by men. Fiction or not, it is an open space; and even if we were within a closed environment, how is this different from the tremendous messages of KKK or the many homo-phobic movements we are continuously trying to erase?

submissive spank slave domination chain


My questions lays not so much on why these videos are released. Surely there is an audience and I cannot argue with that. What is instead rather questionable is what sort of networked culture  we are talking about in this specific environment. We go on and on about terrorists using the net to propagate hate. Isn’t this hate and cult of suffering? Can we say that we are creating a “we”, a global and transnational solidarity when allowing these videos to be displayed? If not, when and where do we draw the line? What is in these keywords? How can we describe these ‘communities’ and how does freedom become a tricky concept? Is freedom endangered when I argue that these videos shouldn’t be released? Would education have the effect of negative freedom? We pretend we don t know because when we enter those keywords in Google, we don t see them as coming up. And if they do, the algorithm gives them a certain hierarchy so that women’s domination becomes a wikipedia result and not a video lost in some place in some hub. So, no data, no trace; no trace = clean conscience.

Once and again, I would be rather reluctant to see government intervention of content production and consumption and I find the criminalisation of porn audience preposterous, narrowminded and fascist. What in those platforms was seen as entertainment is something I research on a daily basis and describes the pain of torture, and looks very much like this:

feminicidios images

I have chosen not to share the graphic images;

In both cases the roles of male domination is evident; the lack of respect toward the (woman’s) body is doing nothing than transferring our off-line trapped minds into an online environment where interest can be very much lead to aggregation (we join communities because we like them bot because we were born in them).

However, the idea of the networked culture and cultural topologies come to mind. How would Judith Butler describe this “we” that is girlifying the girls and boyfying the boys despite their chosen gender?