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Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity Paperback – September 1, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Jensen is a professor of media law, ethics and politics at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Heart of Whiteness and Citizens of Empire. He also writes for popular media, and his opinion and analytic pieces on foreign policy, politics and race have appeared in papers and magazines throughout the United States.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089608776X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896087767
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jessica Teel VINE VOICE on December 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I wish I had this book when I was teaching undergraduate Women's Studies courses! Jensen uses the topic of pornography to cover the most pressing issues facing feminism, and society at large, today. He has built upon the work of radical feminist scholars in regards to applying feminist theory to pornography. He looks at how the industry, its violent content, and access to pornography through new technology, has changed since writers like Andrea Dworkin first tackled the problem of how porn turns violence against women into a vehicle for sexual pleasure. Jensen is successful at attacking the problem from every angle. You can tell he is an experienced lecturer by the way he addresses the typical, and also atypical, arguments that are thrown at feminists in regards to pornography, sexuality and gender. He also approaches the topic autobiographically, (a very feminist approach) and his arguments are stronger and more poignant because of it. Because of this autobiographical angle, his tone is not just analytical, but also one of remorse and sadness about the state of sexuality and masculinity in today's world. But he offers up a new vision, one which I believe male readers will be receptive to.

I wrote my thesis for my Masters in Women's Studies on sex work, so I can wholeheartedly say I've read most literature on pornography. Getting Off is one of the best books on the subject, and he brings the feminist argument against pornography into the 21st century. I admire and appreciate that he does not merely copy the work of female scholars, but rather builds upon them all the while showing how they paved the way for his analyses. I highly recommend it for course reading material for college instructors. This is an excellent text for anyone interested in understanding power, gender and sexuality.
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As a radical feminist I found Robert Jensen's book validating. I have read a lot of material on pornography addiction, pornography, growing up in a sexualized culture, etc. Gail Dines "Pornland" is also excellent but I found the insight into the male experience of pornography that Jensen addressed, incredibly helpful on a very personal level, particularly the chapters he addressed specifically to men. As a woman it enabled me to better understand why men cannot see the pain, degradation and humiliation of pornography, not just to women but to humanity. I have also read a lot about sex-trafficking and there are some very strong connections between patriarchy, pornography, men's sexual attitudes towards women/children, and sex-trafficking. It was helpful to me to see that there are men out there who have the same emotional reaction to pornography as I do. One of Jensen's anecdotes struck such a deep cord because it could have been describing my own experience. If you ever listen to some of his lectures on Youtube, you can hear his depth of sadness. I too carry this sadness. The personal impact of this book aside, I believe many will find it thought-provoking at the very least. I agree with arguing against pornography from a "harm" perspective more helpful than a "censorship" perspective which is somewhat futile. His talk of "masculinity" being culturally defined (and femininity too) is helpful for both sexes to think about and try to understand. When we define ourselves in such limited terms, we ignore the core of who we really are. Humans with the same basic needs, wants, and desires - one of which is to be equal. Thank you Robert Jensen for your brave and valuable contribution to these sensitive issues. You have given me hope where there previously was none. I too have cried "I don't want to live in this world." (Jensen, p.45)
Be warned that there are graphic descriptions of pornography in this book and it definitely should not be read by anyone under the age of 18.
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This was a difficult read. Very well done, very direct and utterly non-sensationalist. It must have been an absolute horror to research and write and I commend the author for tackling this subject.

Jensen identifies himself right at the get-go as a feminist, and I must say, I was glad to see that, as it brought a thread of sanity to the rest of the book. Jensen brings to this study not only a great deal of street-cred, being male, but also a tremendous sense of dismay on behalf of women and girls. And compassions.

Lots of what's in this book is downright ugly. Very ugly. The porn business, the descriptions of the films, the lives of the "actors" and the visible results of increasingly more and more depersonalized and violent films. Jensen calls it the "rape culture" and after reading about the real-life results of filmed and distributed sexualized violence, particularly among younger people. . . it will make the reader think for a very long time. Especially if you have young adult kids. Especially a daughter.

Don't read this if you think you are going to 'get off' on the descriptions. You won't. In fact, beware in general about the graphic and sad nature of this study; it's not for the faint of heart.

Jensen approaches this social phenomenon as thoughtfully as I imagine possible, tracks its history, plots out its likely future and shines a glaring light on the financial underworld of the porn industry and its measurably destructive results. Sobering.

I recommend it for anybody who has an interest in social history, human behavior & group psychology, feminism, sexual violence, sociopathology, or kids.
But NOT for kids.
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