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Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality [Hardcover]

Gail Dines
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Jun 2010
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."

In 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.

Going from the backstreets to Wall Street, Dines reveals how porn is affecting our lives and why its omnipresence is detrimental to our sexual freedom.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (8 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807044520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807044520
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 688,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Can sex films empower women? Following former home secretary Jacqui Smith's BBC Radio 5 documentary about pornography, Gail Dines, sociologist and author debates the issue with Anna Arrowsmith, a pornographic film-maker and former LibDem candidate...' --The Guardian, March 2011

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening compulsive read 11 Mar 2014
By Alison
Format:Paperback
Gail Dines managed to utterly win me over with her frank and shocking descriptions of today's porn culture.
Every woman should consider reading this book...
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4.0 out of 5 stars WOW 14 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a good book, really useful form my essay, good condition and quick delivery, recommended for everyone interested in social aspect of pornography and its presence in media
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 11 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting book that covers lots of various aspects of the porn industry as well as telling the origins of it with it's gradual progression towards the darker more BDSM side of it.

Certainly a solid buy if you are interested in this subject as you will learn a lot of new stuff and ideas.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable and convincing 22 Feb 2012
By Steve
Format:Paperback
Dines' study is a readable, accessible account of the dangerous direction that mainstream pornography is headed in. She nails a few myths about the industry which seem to be quite prevalent. Firstly, porn is a business: its about market shares and profit, although unlike selling popcorn, it involves exploiting (mainly) young girls for the benefit of middle-aged men. She is also very good at highlighting the fantasies that porn users construct to rationalise their porn use (in a manner not dissimilar to sexual offenders). Another myth of porn is that it is somehow progressive and liberating, although Dines shows, through the genre of 'inter-racial' porn, that porn exploits some of the most hackneyed and offensive racial stereotypes. One can take issue with Dines in some respects: what about porn made by women that is non-exploitative? This is a fair point, but any such porn that does exist is swamped by the nasty stuff, so Dines' point holds: she is talking about the mainstream, and it does appear that mainstream is getting harder and more extreme, pushing girls into more and more risky and dangerous acts (this is driven, of course, by the desire for profit, which must continue to recruit users who are jaded by the more 'vanilla' sexual practices). More worryingly, what does this increasingly violent mainstream porn say about society in general? How many more Josef Fritzls are out there? And what might the relation be between mainstream porn and a wider culture of sexualised violence?

One might make more rarified theoretical objections (what might the 'authentic' sexuality Dines calls for be like, for instance?) But this is nitpicking. Dines' main argument is sound, and it needs to be taken seriously.
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32 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Gail Dines is a professor of sociology and women's studies, mother of one boy and girl and an anti-porn campaigner. She has done as much research on this subject as she could without, it seems, subscribing to any adult sites, but with attending an AVN Conference in Los Angeles. On occasion, the descriptive writing made me wince. Her research is anecdotal and comes from talking to and with undergraduates (for whom her lectures are often mandated), sex offenders and the men who would voluntarily attend such a talk. This is worth what it's worth, but it isn't transferrable to more adults with more robust attitudes.

The argument is spoiled by Dines' feminism, which force her to make "men" the problem and women the victims. In one chapter, she explains why she thinks that (not how) men grow up primed to be perpetrators, and in another how women grow up the knowing but helpless victims of pop-culture. Both chapters will dismay decent men and self-confident women everywhere.

The bit where she is shocked, shocked, to discover that the porn producers are in it for the money, not to spread the word about how sex is about fluffiness and warmth, is truly... ingenuous? naive? silly? Much of what she says about the porn industry can be said about many others, but she doesn't make the connection. Run by creeps? Check. Damaging to many people's spirits and souls? Check. Tossing aside the staff when they get older? Check. Pandering to human weakness? Check. Making things that people don't need and don't do us any good? Check. And that's just the tobacco industry. Or the garment trade. Or any business that fills the Chinese air with pollution and its land with poisonous chemicals.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading. 30 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Those of us who have for years been acutely concerned about the effects of pornography on our way of life will find this book essential reading. I say that with a grimace - because Pornland is upsetting and alarming in equal measure. Prof Dines is uncompromising in her stance, and has the research to back it up. She has trawled unimaginable depths in order to produce a text which should shame all those who still think of porn as a bit of sexy fun. There are still plenty of those people about - all colluding with the commodification of sex in a multi-billion dollar trade which, increasingly, corrupts the minds of all those involved. Which means - horrifically - children as young as six. They are the ones who have seen 'gonzo' (which means abusive) porn on smart phones and tablets. Pornography is not longer a matter of sex or censorship. It is an issue of public health - and Prof Dines is a very courageous woman for continuing with her fight.
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