“Freed from decency? The sexual regulation of advertising”
This presentation discusses the regulation of sexual representations in advertising by the “Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité” (ARPP). Based on an ethnographic research at the ARPP, we will return to the routines of this control, questioning the persistence of sexual representations, mostly female, in the public space, despite a regulardenunciation. In order to understand the practical logics of contemporary control, we will first return to the decisive moment constituted by the “porn-chic scandal” at the turn of the 1990s. Then, in the light of this rhetorical crisis, we will come back to the routine control of advertising conducted within the ARPP: what representations are regulated, what are the criteria of regulation that make it possible to make the distinction between the “decency” and “desire”, and between“desire” and “obscenity”. So finally, what are the norms that define a public representation of sexuality as “acceptable”?