Marije Janssen is presenting From Slow Sex to Porna – A 21st Century Sexual Revolution in the Lowlands. Check out Marije’s bio here.
How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
I see myself as a catalyst for change in the topics I try to bring to the foreground, ranging from sexual education to feminist porn to sex worker rights. My strategies are diverse: by organizing events as screenings, debates and festivals I try to create spaces where people feel safe to explore, experiment and share their ideas, thoughts and desires. At the same time I try to bring different groups and people together to create more open dialogues about sexuality in all its facets, to listen and learn from each other. Recently a journalist called me a sex-idealist, and I think she’s right. A realistic idealist.
Who or what was a catalyst for you?
There have been many catalysts in my life and I’m so thankful to having met so many amazing, inspiring people sharing their thoughts, theories, dreams and struggles. Like Sadie Lune, Wendy Delorme, Gala Vanting, my sister, the sex workers I’ve worked with. So many people who dared to confront the norm and follow their own path.
But the most powerful catalyst has been the Art & Politics of Netporn Conference in Amsterdam in 2006. I was still a research intern at the time, writing my thesis on feminist pornography online. This conference was the first time I was surrounded by people exploring sexuality and pornography. It was an amazing event not just for me but for all of the participants, who come from all over the world. It was one of the very (if not the actual) first academic/activist/artistic conference dedicated to internet pornography and all the possibilities it offered. It triggered my career.
What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?
Increasing conservative powers and anti-gay violence and politics around the world.
What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?
The academic and media-attention for feminist pornography, with the Feminist Porn Book and the Feminist Porn Conference. I was extremely impressed when I attended the conference in Toronto this spring. I would never have dreamed that feminist pornography would develop in this way when I wrote my own thesis in 2006. Another part, which is also happening in the Netherlands is the growing attention for the position of men in the discussion about sexuality. How do we perceive masculinity and male sexuality? What are the struggles men have to deal with? I think it’s extremely important to include men in the ‘fight’.
Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, From Slow Sex to Porna – A 21st Century Sexual Revolution in the Lowlands, to CatalystCon West?
My topic will be a bit more ‘utopic’ (is this an actual term?), I’m dreaming big dreams of a new sexual revolution. Some people think it’s unrealistic and absurd, but in my belief, many ingredients are there to make it happen and it’s up to us to create a change, despite and because of the conservative notions in politics and society. Not just in the US, but also in a country like the Netherlands.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.
I fancy Darth Vader.