Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality
by Gail Dines
AVAILABILITY: Readily available
Publication Date: June 2010
Description: Professor Gail Dines has written about and researched the porn industry for over two decades. She attends industry conferences, interviews producers and performers, and speaks to hundreds of men and women each year about their experience with porn. Students and educators describe her work as “life changing.”
Pornland—the culmination of her life’s work—Dines takes an unflinching look at porn and its affect on our lives. Astonishingly, the average age of first viewing porn is now 11.5 years for boys, and with the advent of the Internet, it’s no surprise that young people are consuming more porn than ever. But, as Dines shows, today’s porn is strikingly different from yesterday’s Playboy. As porn culture has become absorbed into pop culture, a new wave of entrepreneurs are creating porn that is even more hard-core, violent, sexist, and racist. To differentiate their products in a glutted market, producers have created profitable niche products—like teen sex, torture porn, and gonzo—in order to entice a generation of desensitized users.
Going from the backstreets to Wall Street, Dines traces the extensive money trail behind this multibillion-dollar industry—one that reaps more profits than the film and music industries combined. Like Big Tobacco—with its powerful lobbying groups and sophisticated business practices—porn companies don’t simply sell products. Rather they influence legislators, partner with mainstream media, and develop new technologies like streaming video for cell phones. Proving that this assembly line of content is actually limiting our sexual freedom, Dines argues that porn’s omnipresence has become a public health concern we can no longer ignore.
Gail Dines is professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College. The author of two previous books and a regular commentator on TV and radio, Dines has been covered in Newsweek, Time, USA Today, the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Review(s): "Thoroughly researched and forcefully argued, 'Pornland' is a must-read. From the intricate linking of the porn industry with Fortune 500 companies to behind the scenes of Girls Gone Wild, Dines makes eye-opening connections and breaks new ground with every chapter." - Chyng Sun, associate professor of media studies, New York University, director of "The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality, and Relationships"
"Pornland takes a quantum leap beyond the tired pro-porn vs. anti-porn debates of recent decades. It will now be the starting point for serious discussions about how porn shapes and distorts social and sexual norms. Gail Dines understands both the economics and cultural power of the pornography industry perhaps better than anyone ever has. This is accessible and grounded social analysis at its finest." - Jackson Katz, PhD, creator of the video "Tough Guise" and author of 'The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help'
"We’re now so pornography-saturated that our capacity for sexual delight is being brutalized. Gail Dines brilliantly exposes porn’s economics, pervasiveness, and impact with scholarship as impeccable as her tone is reasonable. This book will change your life. Ignore it at your peril." - Robin Morgan
"An eyes-wide-open look at the way the porn industry exploits and damages the gift of our sexuality to fuel itself. 'Pornland' is well researched, well written, and heartfelt. I highly recommend it." - Wendy Maltz, LCSW, DST, coauthor of 'The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography'
"Bravo to Gail Dines! She exposes a huge problem of our time that few people are willing to confront. Dines follows the extensive money trail, uncovering the role of corporate duplicity and greed, while showing how steadily pornography has infiltrated into everyday life from almost cradle to grave." - Diane Levin, coauthor of 'So Sexy, So Soon'
"For more than a decade, Gail Dines has been at the forefront of the study of the contemporary pornography industry and its effects. Many have been eagerly awaiting 'Pornland', in which she synthesizes all that work—and it has been worth the wait. It is, without question, the definitive book on pornography and pop culture in the twenty-first century. Dines has achieved something rare: she looks at an increasingly pornographic society without backing away from the ugly truth, and without giving up hope for a better world." - Robert Jensen, University of Texas at Austin, author of 'Getting Off:Pornography and the End of Masculinity'
"As pornography has become both more extreme and more commercial, antiporn activist Dines argues, it has dehumanized our sexual relationships. The radical objectification and often brutal denigration of women in porn, she holds, “leaks” into other aspects of our lives. Dines's argument rests on a compelling, close reading of the imagery and narrative content of magazines, videos, and marketing materials; what is missing, however, is a similarly compelling body of research on how these images are used by viewers, aside from Dines's own anecdotal evidence. The author's appropriation of addiction terminology—viewers are called “users,” habitual viewing is an “addiction,” and pornography featuring teenagers is called “Pseudo-Child Pornography” or “PCP”—is distracting and suggests that rhetorical tricks are needed because solid argumentation is lacking. Likewise, Dines's opponents are unlikely to be swayed by her speculation tying porn viewing to rape and child molestation, nor by the selective sources she draws on to support her point (convicted sex offenders). The book does raise important questions about the commoditization of sexual desires and the extent to which pornography has become part of our economy (with hotel chains and cable and satellite companies among the largest distributors)." - Publishers Weekly