Kirikiriroa Conversations

Kirikiriroa Conversations
Date Thursday 11 May 2023
Time 3:45pm - 4pm
Where K.G.01
Presenter Dr. Johanna Schmidt
Contact Dr. Kyle Barrett
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

Screen and Media Studies (SMST) are proud to present another series of Kirikiriroa Conversations. The aim of these kōrerorero is to explore topics of interest from academic staff and graduate students across the University that may be works-in-progress, recently published papers, or general areas of interest! It is an opportunity to explore avenues of research or practice that may not have found a place in a lecture or publication. Why not discuss it in a friendly, open, informal environment? There are no prescribed formats for presenting as long as each conversation will be 15 mins long with 5 mins of questions. Afterward, come along to SMST’s legendary Thirsty Thursdays in our foyer (I.4.20).

Dr. Johanna Schmidt, Senior Lecturer, Sociology & Social Policy Programme, The University of Waikato - 11th May 2023

Popular culture representations of consensual non-monogamy: Two case studies

Consensual, or ethical, non-monogamy is a relationship form in which partners are not monogamous, and in which this happens with the knowledge and consent of all involved. In contemporary western contexts, consensual non-monogamy (CNM) has a variety of forms, including but not limited to polyamory, open marriages, swinging, and various other configurations. These versions of consensual non-monogamy are becoming increasingly visible as a preferred relationship structure for some people. However, research suggests that ‘coming out’ as non-monogamous can be difficult. As with queer sexualities, social judgements regarding CNM are likely to be influenced by the ways in which CNM is represented in popular culture.

This paper is a preliminary investigation for an ongoing project I am embarking on relating to experiences of CNM in Aotearoa. In the first part of this project, I will be examining representations of CNM in popular culture (movies and series). In this presentation, I discuss two films released in 2017, Newness and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. I will use these films to illustrate different ways CNM is depicted in popular cultural texts, and suggest some ideological assumptions that are implicit in these representations. I argue that it is common to represent CNM as a relationship form that is less desirable than monogamy, but that even when CNM is represented positively, there is an expectation of conformity to a set of specific ideals.