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Reading Out of Context: Pornographic Deepfakes, Celebrity and Intimacy

5 February 2020

Publication Date
18 November 2019

Original Abstract

In this article I bring together perspectives from porn studies, celebrity studies and fan studies to bear on the issue of pornographic deepfakes. I identify two key questions that the literature from these areas leads to with regards to deepfakes: to what extent are they a form of audience engagement with celebrity that seeks to access a private, intimate or authentic person behind the star image; and to what extent are deepfakes created for circulation and enjoyment within a small community of practice as opposed to being intended for release to the general public? By comparing deepfakes to other types of sexualized audience engagements with celebrity, I show that they exhibit little concern with intimacy and the private, authentic person behind the star image, and that they are created and circulated within small communities of practice, who put effort into contextualizing and containing them in those spaces. As a result, I argue that the reading of deepfakes suggested by the celebrity studies paradigm of intimacy and authenticity is insufficient, and that further work is needed to understand the kinds of meanings those who create, share and enjoy deepfakes make with them.

Popova, M. (2019). Reading out of context: pornographic deepfakes, celebrity and intimacy. Porn Studies. DOI: 10.1080/23268743.2019.1675090.

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deepfakes, celebrity, intimacy, authenticity, pornography


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