Joan O’Bryan -"All I want is for people to stop seeing me naked": Sexual Media and Permanent Pornography Contracts

Mon, Apr 26 2021, 11:30am - 12:30pm

Brief Overview


This article argues that standard modelling contracts in pornography are objectionable for three reasons: they violate sexual autonomy; they are on the whole exploitative, and they violate women's interest in social equality.



In pornography, standard modelling contracts often require a performer to surrender rights over their public image and sexual media in perpetuity and across mediums. I argue that such contracts are objectionable for three reasons. First, they violate a performer’s right to sexual autonomy by restricting an important part of their sexual agency, that is, their ability to communicate about their sexuality and preferences. Second, these contracts are more likely than not to be exploitative, taking advantage of the contingent facts of a performer’s potential vulnerability or weak agency. These first two arguments center on the individual: we have reasons, for the sake of individuals involved, to prevent pornography producers from offering such contracts. The third argument takes the perspective of society. There are important externalities to permanent pornography contracts which violate our social interest inequality across groups. In this case, permanent pornography contracts damage women as a class by creating conditions that restrict women’s autonomous participation in the public sphere.


Joan O'Bryan is a graduate student with an interest in political theory and comparative politics.