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Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality Hardcover – June 29, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (June 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807044520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807044520
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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). (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Dines takes on the scourge of pornography and its permeation of all facets of culture in this history and call to action: “We are in the midst of a massive social experiment, and nobody really knows how living in Pornland will shape our culture. What we do know is that we are surrounded by images that degrade and debase women and that for this the entire culture pays a price.” Generously referenced, Dines' screed carefully builds her case that pornography's pernicious influence is a factor in the rise in brutishness and sexual violence, focusing specifically on how heterosexual pornography negatively impacts women. She has no time for arguments that so-called softer genres might be acceptable, and she goes into detail in explaining her reasoning. Perhaps she imputes too much significance to current flavors in the never-ending commodification of porn, but her purpose is to offer a compelling explanation of an issue that often makes Americans uneasy. A good, provocative title, but it should be remembered that to adequately discuss porn, one must adequately describe it. --Mike Tribby

More About the Author

Born and raised in England, Gail Dines received her Ph.D. from the University of Salford, UK. She began her activism volunteering at a rape crisis in Tel Aviv and started the Haifa-based feminist movement--Woman to Woman--in her living room at the age of 22. Since arriving in the United States in 1986, Gail has taught at Wheelock College where she is now professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and chair of the American Studies Department. For over twenty years Gail has been researching and writing about the porn industry and pop culture and has published many articles on such varied topics as the image of women in Hollywood, racism in porn, the hypersexualization of our culture, and the ways images shape our sexuality and our relationships.

Gail has spoken at hundreds of colleges across the country and at conferences around the world. Her lectures attract large numbers of students and the Q + A sessions often continue for hours with highly engaged and energized students. She is a gifted speaker who immediately connects with her audience. Her lectures change the way people think about pop culture and porn, and students regularly say that they will never look at the world the same way again.

Gail's edited book, Gender, Race and Class in Media, is a bestseller in colleges and is popular also in Canada, England and Australia. The book won the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights, and is now in its third edition. Her new book, Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality, examines how men and women's lives, sexuality and relationships are shaped by the porn culture.

In 2007 Gail helped form the activist group, Stop Porn Culture (SPC). One of the goals of this organization is to develop educational materials that raise awareness about the effects of living in a porn culture. SPC comprises academics, activists, anti-violence experts, students, parents and people concerned about porn's impact on the culture. SPC has developed two slideshows: one on the effects of porn on women, men and the culture, and the second on the impact of porn on children and youth. The slideshows are being given across the country, as well as in Russia, The Congo, England, Scotland, Ireland and Australia.

Gail has appeared on numerous television shows, including those on CNN, MSNBC, Showtime, and Fox. She is a regular guest on radio shows and her work is frequently quoted in newspapers and magazines across the country. As a public intellectual, Gail has been successful in opening up a national discussion on the effects of the porn culture. A committed scholar and activist, Gail makes sure that her work is accessible and engaging to people in and outside of the academy.

Customer Reviews

A bit boring and repetitive.
John Neal Spangler
This is a good book for describing the effects the porn industry has had on our culture and the damages it has caused.
Jessica Anderson
Gail Dines is brilliant, passionate, and a solid researcher/writer.
Jennifer Malhoyt-Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Autumn on July 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am fortunate enough to have had the chance read Gail Dines' book, Pornland. Dines' describes how the porn industry operates *today*, in the 21st Century. She does this first by describing the men who created the industry as now know it: Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, and Larry Flynt. These men were excellent capitalists, not lovers of freedom. Dines provides evidence from women who've worked for them, and uses the pornographer's own words as well, to prove her points.

She then describes the hard-core pornography that has become mainstream today. The popular film series Girls Gone Wild depicts all women as being sexually available, Dines asserts, because women, specifically young, white women, are ready to undress and make-out with one another just for the thrill of knowing men are watching...or so one would think from watching Girls Gone Wild.

Dines also addresses how both women and men are negatively influenced by the mainstream porn industry in their everyday life. Many heterosexual women are confused by why men are so interested in having anal sex; the increased focus on anal sex in pornography might have something to do with this. Likewise, the vast majority of teenage and twenty-something women in the U.S. have taken up shaving their pubic hair. This comes directly from porn, where women are typically shown hairless (liking pubic hair on a women is considered a fetish and there is a special genre of porn for it). This change in the way women take care of themselves has resulted in nurses changing the way they do rape-crises kits; they can no longer collect samples of public hair, as they once did.

Anyone living in today's society should pick up this book, as I really did not begin to touch on the arguments Dines makes.
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77 of 99 people found the following review helpful By John D. Foubert on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gail Dines' Pornland lives up to its billing as the culmination of the life's work of one of the most reputable scholars of the effects of pornography on society. In it, Dines lays out an indictment of the pornography industry where only the pornography industry itself could vote "acquit." She masterfully traces the history of pornography from the feud between Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler through the modern day mainstream "body punishing sex" and brutal violence of online pornography. Based on her several decades of research on pornography and its purveyors, she lays bare an industry that has violated women in every way imaginable and is now running out of ideas on how many ways to penetrate their orifices. Her book reveals to everyday pornography users and to people who haven't ever seen pornography just how much porn is effecting our society, how violent it has become, and how much we all need to work to rid our society of its effects. Pornland is a call to action to reclaim a critical part of ourselves -- our sexuality. Whether the reader understands the cause of pornography to be sin, patriarchy, oppression, whether the reader sees porn as an expression of healthy sexuality, an addiction, or a harmless pastime, all should read Dines' critical look at this omnipresent influence on our society.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Sledz on January 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I went searching for this book after reading an article in the New York Times about declining American sexuality. This article stated that over 50% of American women now claim to experience little to no pleasure from sex. From there I read an article revealing that 47% of Japanese women report no interest in sex, and plan to never marry or have children. Both of these articles stated that researchers had discovered two likely causes of this decline: increased reliance on technology, and increased porn use. The first one made sense to me; it's hard to have a spicy evening if your lover takes an iPad to bad, and then rolls over to send a few final messages and Tweets into a phone before passing out. See two people on a date recently? If they can make it through dinner without a phone check, it's cause for applause. The second one though? Increased viewing of sexual intimacy seemed like something that would cause *more* sexuality, not less. Still, the article stated that increasingly men reported preferring "hook-up culture" to relationships because it was closer to their relationship to porn: quick and to the point and with a new face. At the same time, that "quick and to the point" is exactly what straight women don't want, and so they'd rather be alone.

This book illuminated these assertions. The author deftly outlines how male sexual understanding is shaped through observation of porn-style sex from an early age. This isn't stealing dad's nudie magazine or watching an old grainy Hustler tape; this is one image after the other, with the option to increase the violence or kink as tastes evolve over time.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By VR on September 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i cant recommend this book enough - the author (a woman and a feminist) put the arguments against using porn in such an eloquent manner with such powerfull and bulletproof logic and argument NO MAN ON EARTH COULD ! it probably takes a woman view to tell us men how ugly the porn got... we men just completely lost the ability to critically think about this men's favorite past-time beyond repeating formulaic shouts like:

1) porn is only fantasy and harmless fairytale for adults
2) porn is finally liberating our long pent-up sexuality
3) we are adults and we can always discern between porn and real sex with real women
4) porn can never change our attitudes towards women

The author Gail Dines is no feminist radical and you must admire her patience and clear logic with which she builds the case against the porn-industry and its false claims and downright lies about their noble and liberating mission in our bedrooms... the books reads like crime novel and with every page and with every popular claim observed (some are listed above 1-4), disected and completely debunked with cold logic and arguments.. the ugly and slimy face of porn starts to seep though the public mask this industry carefully constructed within last 15 years, built to make you believe watching porn is actually natural and healthy "entertainment" with no side-effects and absolutely no doubts necessary...

as reaction to some other reviewers... i actually loved that the book was on more philosophical and personal-opinion side rather than the ussual pop-psychology books with hundreds of research studies and all-nation surveys and polls put together and thrown into your face on every other page but no critical thinking from the authors...
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