In our culture, porn makes the man. So argues Robert Jensen in Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Jensen’s treatise begins with a simple demand: “Be a man.” It ends with a defiant response: “I chose to struggle to be a human being.” The journey from masculinity to humanity is found in the candid and intelligent exploration of porn’s devastating role in defining masculinity.
Getting Off seamlessly blends personal anecdotes from Jensen’s years as a feminist anti-pornography activist with scholarly research. In his trademark conversational style, he shows how mainstream pornography reinforces social definitions of manhood and influences men’s attitudes about women and how to treat them.
Pornography is a thriving multi-billion-dollar industry; it drives the direction of emerging media technology. Pornography also makes for complicated politics. These days, anti-porn arguments are assumed to be “anti-sex” and thus a critical debate is silenced. This book breaks that silence. Alarming and thought-provoking, Getting Off asks tough, but crucial, questions about pornography, sex, manhood, and the way toward genuine social justice.
Robert Jensen is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege and Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity.