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Pornography at the university: "A porn is not a Kafka novel"

2019-09-04T07:49:30.416Z

The scientist Madita Oeming researches pornography and teaches at the University of Berlin. That does not like everyone. In an interview she talks about criticism from colleagues and why she treats sex movies like literature.




When Madita Oeming tells her what she does for a living, she rarely receives recognition. Oeming is a scientist, research area: pornography. Already last semester, the 33-year-old student at the University of Paderborn taught in the subject, followed by a course at the Freie Universität Berlin in the coming semester. Recently, Oeming announced the seminar on Twitter - and received many hate-filled comments.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Ms Oeming, on Twitter, you were attacked after announcing your course there. Did that surprise you?

Madita Oeming: I'm used to criticism and disregard for my topic, but not in this mass and malignancy. It was an avalanche of primarily right-wing conservative hostility. My Twitter account did not stand still for 48 hours. Above all I was surprised by the blunt anti-Semitism. I had not encountered this in response to my research.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why should students in their seminar watching porn films?

Oeming: At the latest, since the Internet has made porn available for everyone, at any time and for the most part free of charge, hardly any medium is consumed to such an extent. At the same time, we only have a very limited understanding of pornography and the industry behind it. I think that's dangerous. Porn can not be a taboo topic. In my opinion, "porn competence" even belongs to the schools as a lesson content.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How is your course?

Oeming: "Porn-Studies" are an interdisciplinary field of research, approaches from film studies, gender studies, cultural anthropology and so on come together. We will focus on the US area. The students should analyze the aesthetics of pornographic films, get to know different genres. But it will also be about norms and fears associated with the topic.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How is that supposed to work?

Oeming: It's not like I turn off the lights and watch a porn movie for 90 minutes. We also do not talk about my preferences or those of students, there are clear limits. Instead, we watch selected scenes and I forgive visual orders. For example, how feminist porn breaks with popular visual language. We treat pornographic films as well as literary novels.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is not it more fruitful to discuss a novel passage than a pornography?

Oeming: Of course there are some special challenges. When I discuss a novel, students have learned it at school. To talk about a porn is, for once, unfamiliar. It often lacks the language. And there is a lot of shame in the room at first. However, this is workable and experience has shown that students are well able to take an analytical look - even better than Hollywood films.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How serious are you actually taken in the scientific community?

Oeming: I often deal with prejudice, including from colleagues. The most common is that pornography is undercomplex. People think of this trashy medium, just just sex and the camera can hold it. That is not right. A porn is not a Kafka novel, of course I know that too. But in its genesis, variety and especially in their cultural context, pornography becomes a highly complex and very exciting topic. People also can not imagine that one manages to scientifically watch porn. They think that the excitement is too powerful. But I can distance myself well from my field of research.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you deal with the hostility and criticism?

Oeming: I've gotten used to the general skepticism. I like to explain the relevance of the topic again and again. The hatred I received in recent days on Twitter was an eye-opening experience for me. I underestimated what that does to you. But I will not be intimidated by it. On the contrary. It only proves how bitterly necessary my work is.

Source: spiegel

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