Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gail Dines Interviewed on AlterNet: and the progressives who get mighty regressive when encountering a critique of pornography

image is from here
It's rare that any media gives fair and open discussion on the issue of pornography and what pornographers do, industrially. Routinely, feminism is portrayed as being ruled by fascists, while pornographers are seen as the victims of feminists' speech. We have to ignore a lot about Western racist patriarchal societies to arrive at that conclusion, except, perhaps, what the neoConservative and neoLiberal media says. Some speech gets to be spoken and accepted as truthful just because it is spoken. Other speech holds no validity no matter how truthful it is, if it challenges core patriarchal premises and practices as utterly unjust and inhumane.

AlterNet is one place where feminists get to speak truth. And, not surprisingly, all the standard patriarchy-deniers and pro-pornography apologists come out of the woodwork to try and put other words in the feminist's mouth, as if her own words don't have the meaning they have, or carry the weight of truth. If she's a scholar, that's used against her. If she's an activist, that's used against her. She cannot be "an expert" some say, because she hasn't spoken to every woman on Earth. When you speak simple truths to embedded power, your speech must be derailed as something other than truthful. It cannot possibly be descriptive without having a secret agenda to silence people. Only feminist speech silences people, according to some of the commenters below: never the actions or speech of pornographers and pimps, who rape at will, without consequence. Feminists speaking out about social matters that promote and rely on rape are seen as dangerous, while pimping rapists silencing women is seen as universal and inevitable, existing in a kind of space-time that cannot or ought not be defined. G-d/dess help the feminists who do so.

You will note in the many comments that follow the interview about the content of the book Pornland, how few of Gail Dines' critics bother to cite her at all. They instead tell us what Gail is REALLY saying, as if her work is disguising a secret agenda.

Anyone who knows Gail's work might have some criticisms of it--should graphic pornography, in all its racist, misogynistic ugliness, be shown or described by feminists to demonstrate exactly how hateful to women it is? The actual discussion among feminists for decades has been "What will the general public bear witness to, beyond the consumers of pornography?" Will they be able to look at what their boyfriends, husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons view and masturbate to, and feel anything other than horror? That's a legitimate discussion. I personally try never to encounter images of the pornography that is increasingly mainstream. I find it to be utterly disturbing in its sexualised, callous violence. But accusing Gail, as many below do, of being a censor, a fascist, right-wing fundamentalist, or a prude is about as far off the mark as it gets, and one wonders who planted these notions in the heads of the commenters. Here's one answer: the pornographers did.

Decades ago, I remember meeting a man in a progressive environment. He was very clear that capitalism was oppressive, and that racism (if the harmed people were male) was harmful. When I asked him if he'd ready anything by Andrea Dworkin a strange look came over his face--one of disgust. I asked him if he'd ever read anything by her. No, he hadn't. I asked him if he consumed pornography and what pornography he consumed. He said he was a fan of Penthouse. Ah, well. Bob Guccione, among other renowned pornographers, had been telling lies about her and other feminists for years. He literally and figuratively bought Guccione's racist-misogynistic propaganda, and obtained orgasms from it regularly. When men want to objectify and violate women, visually or physically, and want to feel nothing but entitled to do so, they will lash out against feminists (or the occasional profeminist), who have the audacity to speak truth to power--the power of pornographers to possess, control, and regulate human sexuality, rather tyrannically, and usually for great profit.

You might note that one person accuses me of threatening him with scissors! That's news to me. I've asked him to produce evidence of me doing this--he says it happened online. I'll let you know if he ever comes up with anything other than libelous speech.

About the interviewer:
Sonali Kolhatkar is Co-Director of the Afghan Women's Mission, a US-based non-profit that funds health, educational, and training projects for Afghan women. She is also the host and producer of Uprising Radio, a daily morning radio program at KPFK, Pacifica in Los Angeles.


Should We Worry Whether Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality?

Author Gail Dines says today's brutal pornography looks nothing like it did 15 years ago -- and it's damaged our ability to have intimate relationships.

A new book by scholar Gail Dines asserts that society's overconsumption of pornography and the ridiculous extremes of today's mainstream pornography have greatly undermined our ability to have meaningful sexual partnerships. In Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality, Dines traces the history of the porn industry from Playboy and Penthouse, to today's brutal fare that resembles nothing less than the videotaped sexual assault of women.

As an example, Dines quotes from the introductory text on a typical porn Web site:
Do you know what we say to things like romance and foreplay? We say fuck off! This is not another site with half-erect weenies trying to impress bold sluts. We take gorgeous young bitches and do what every man would REALLY like to do. We make them gag till their makeup starts running, and then they get all other holes sore -- vaginal, anal, double penetrations, anything brutal involving a cock and an orifice. And then we give them the sticky bath.
This is not the extreme end of a complex porn continuum -- it is typical of today's mainstream porn freely available online, often to boys as young as 11. Not only does Dines go to great lengths to research the depth of porn's standard fare, but she also details how the porn industry is consumed with profits, and the effect this has on its male viewers. Says Dines, "The pornographers did a kind of stealth attack on our culture, hijacking our sexuality and then selling it back to us, often in forms that look very little like sex but a lot like cruelty."

Gail Dines is a professor of sociology and women's studies at Boston's Wheelock College, where she researches the hypersexualization of the culture. I interviewed her recently about her book.
Sonali Kolhatkar: I have to say it was very difficult to read your book, and I had to skip parts where you describe mainstream pornography. This is not your father's Playboy or Penthouse magazines and videos. What we're seeing in porn today, and mainstream porn, is completely bizarre. I mean, how do you handle it in your research?

Gail Dines: Well, what's interesting is that I, like the viewers, get desensitized over time. I mean, obviously I couldn't have the visceral reaction I had in the beginning to it. But I put those descriptions in because often people say to me, you know, why are you getting so upset by images of naked women? And what I want people to understand is that pornography now looks nothing like it did 10, 15 years ago -- that it is now brutal and cruel and is absolutely based on the degradation of women. So this is why I walk people through the porn industry. Also, often anti-porn feminists are accused of picking the worst of the pornography. What I wanted to do was go into the mainstream pornography that the average 11-year-old would get once he put "porn" into Google.

SK: Can you trace the history of the pornography industry, both in terms of who has run it, and its content?

GD: There's always been pornography floating around our culture, but I really put the pornography industry at 1953, starting then. Why? Because it was the first edition of Playboy, and this was the first time pornography really became industrialized, really became a product. Now, Hefner was very smart. He started in '53, post-Second World War America. And what this country needed to do was jump-start the economy. Now, women were taught how to buy through television. There was nowhere to teach men. And remember in the '50s you had to teach people how to be consumers. I know it sounds bizarre today, but then...
And so, in order to teach people how to be consumers, you needed to show them what it was to buy products they didn't need. This is where Playboy was so successful. The advertising in Playboy was about telling men that if you consume at this level, then you will get the real prize, which is the women in the magazine, or women who look like women in the magazine. So what he did–he didn't just commodify sexuality, he sexualized commodities, which is his brilliance.
Also in 1969 in the New York Times there was an ad for Penthouse, and that was Penthouse trying to come in and dislodge Playboy from its number one position. And between 1969 and 1973, you had a war between Playboy and Penthouse to see who could be the most explicit. Now in a way, Playboy lost the battle but won the war. The reason is that it didn't go as explicit as Penthouse. Penthouse was so explicit that a lot of the advertisers ran and were nervous about putting their images, their products, in there.
Now, during the battle between '69 and '73, they opened up the space for what was acceptable pornography. It's no accident that in 1973 you saw the first edition of Hustler. This absolutely pushed the limits of what could be mainstream, hard-core pornography. So you had Playboy staking out the soft-core, then you had Hustler staking out the hard-core. Those were -- and I can't believe I say this -- the good old days. Today, I mean, Hustler is mild compared to what you see in the mainstream pornography.

SK: Because of the Internet.

GD: Absolutely. The Internet changed the industry. It made it accessible, and it made it affordable. So remember, when the average age of first viewing pornography is 11, when the 11-year-old boy puts "porn" into Google, he's not looking at your father's Playboy, he's looking at a world of cruelty, and a world of brutality. So what I ask in the book is, "What are the long-term effects of bringing up boys on violent images when you think about pornography as being the main form of sex education in our society?"

SK: And I want to get to that question, but let's talk about the effects on women. Because as the industry has changed, the women participating in that industry have gone from, you know, being photographed naked to now being literally brutalized -- physically brutalized. What does the average female participant in the pornography industry go through in terms of her physical degradation and her physical health?

GD: If you watch pornography you see that immediately. What you see is a woman being penetrated brutally vaginally, anally and orally. As that's happening -- three men at one time, four men at one time -- she's being called vile, hateful names, she's being sometimes slapped, sometimes her hair is pulled... Even the industry said that many women have a hard time being in the industry for more than three months. Why? Because of the brutalization of the body.

SK: Three months?

GD: That's what the article says in Adult Video News. Also, I've interviewed somebody who worked with AIM, the health care organization that takes care of the health of porn performers, and he was telling me just what happens to the bodies of these women. For example, he said one of the big things are anal prolapses, where literally their anuses drop out of their body and have to be sewn back in because of the brutal anal sex. He also talked about gonorrhea of the eye, and the latest thing -- because you have something called [ass to mouth] -- they put the penis into the anus, and then into her mouth without washing. They're finding now that women are getting fecal bacterial infections in their mouth and throat.
So, you've got a whole host of issues that women have to deal with in the porn industry, and what's interesting is nobody seems to be interested in these women. Instead we get some ridiculous documentary saying women like it, they choose it. Absolutely not. You know, you're looking at working-class women who think they know what pornography is, who see Jenna Jameson and think they're going to be the next Jenna Jameson, when Jenna Jameson is one in 10,000. And really, Jenna Jameson has been an important recruitment tool because she suggests this is what you can do if you go into pornography. And what do you know? You're 18, you think you know what you're gonna get into, and then you get on the set and everything shifts and changes.

SK: What are the long-term effects on our sexuality as a result of this new era of brutal sexual assault that masquerades as pornography both on men and women? Have there been studies?

GD: There's been studies for 30 years -- on men, mainly -- and what they find, and what I found in my interviews, is that the more pornography men watch, the less able they are to develop intimate relationships. Also what's interesting is they lose interest in real women because the pornography is so hardcore -- it's industrial-strength sex -- anything less looks bland and boring. Also, the men think they should be performing like the men in pornography, they think their penises should look like that, they think they should be able to sexually perform for hours like the men do. What they don't realize is a lot of the men in pornography are on Viagra, that's why it's so possible... And they begin to really see women in terms of objects. Not as somebody to have relationships with, but as somebody to do something to. Sex becomes something like making hate to a woman's body. They don't make love in pornography, they make hate.

SK: Now, this is an aspect that gets debated over and over again. The pro-pornography viewpoint is that what you see on your video screen is a fantasy, and that we are human beings who are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and we don't carry over what's in our fantasy to our real lives.

GD: Well, it's very interesting we say that because, you know, as somebody who studies media, and as somebody who's progressive, when we study right-wing media we don't say it's fantasy. We don't say, "You know what, don't worry about Glenn Beck, don't worry about Rush Limbaugh -- people can distinguish." No, we understand that media shapes the way we think. It shapes our reality, it shapes our perceptions of the world. Pornography is one more form of media. It's a specific genre which, by the way, is very powerful because it delivers messages to men's brains via the penis, which is an extremely powerful delivery system. So I think the idea that it's fantasy just isn't borne out given the studies that we know about how porn, and how images in general, affect people's view of the world.

What about the profit motive here, and how has that changed? Because, of course, in the early days of Playboy and Penthouse, profit was the motive, and profit is a motive today as well, but how has the industry become so fiercely capitalistic that, in a way, it's almost a victim of itself?

GD: Well, it's always been a capitalist industry. I mean, this is another thing that we don't want to think about -- that pornography, in reality, is profit-driven. It's not about fantasy, it's not about play, it's not about fun. It's about money.

When I went to the [annual porn] expo in Las Vegas, I interviewed a lot of pornographers. What was amazing is what interested them is money. They don't talk sex, they talk money. They talk bulk mailing, they talk mass advertising. What we forget when we talk about pornography is that these are not fantasies created from nowhere that drop from the sky, these are fantasies created within a typical capitalist market. What you see in pornography is a need to keep addressing that. Now what's happened is that as more and more men are using pornography, they're becoming more bored and desensitized with it, which means that they want harder and harder stuff. And the pornography, because it's profit-driven, has to meet their needs. What's interesting is that pornography is actually in a mess because they don't know what else to do, the pornographers. They've gone about as hardcore and as cruel as they can. They've done everything to women's bodies short of killing her. So the question is what can they do next to keep an increasingly desensitized audience interested?

SK: In an interesting way, pornography seems to almost be a metaphor for capitalism in general, right? Basically unchecked some point there's a limit, at some point you hit a wall, and you can't grow any more, you can't go any further because you've gone as far as you can.

GD: That's the whole issue of capitalism in our society as well. It's how much more can we continue given what's happening to the environment. But I would say that there's still room for the niche markets in pornography, and in my book I talk about specific niche markets. One of them is called interracial porn, which is black men and white women. Another one is what I call pseudo-child pornography, which is women who are 18 -- I'm pretty sure of that -- but they look younger, and they behave in a younger way. So what you have are men who are bored with adult women looking out for these pseudo-child porn sites. And I've interviewed child rapists, and some of them actually started looking... They didn't want to go to illegal child pornography, so they started with the legal so-called child pornography, and then basically matured into child pornography. And for some of them, the distance between looking at child pornography and raping a child was six months.

SK: Wow. What are the long-term effects on our society in general? Not necessarily just effects on the men who consume it, but how has pornography 'pornified,' to use Pamela Paul's term, our culture?

GD: Well, I think when we talk about a porn culture, we talk about the images and the messages and the ideologies of porn filtering down into mainstream media. I mean, you just have to turn on the television, flip through a magazine, go to the movies, and what you see is a pornographized version of the world. Now I think this is true for women as well. If you go to Cosmopolitan, the places where women read, you'll often see articles about why you should have pornography to spice up your sex life. So what we're seeing is, the pornographers have really taken control of the discourse around sexuality.
There's nobody else who's getting any voice who's coming up and saying, "Look. This is a particular type of sex that pornography's representing. It is brutality, it is based on the debasement of women. There are alternative ways of being sexual in our society that are not based on the debasement of women." But where do you hear this in the media? Because the media is increasingly becoming pornified, and you have the pornographers and their hacks in the media defining what our sexuality should be.

SK: And the effects on young girls and boys -- you mentioned that the average age of a boy who views porn on the Internet today is 11, which, as the mother of a boy, is just heartbreaking to me. So the effects on young children, both boys and then girls who see these pornified images on billboards and in magazines...what are we doing to our children?

GD: We're distorting their sexuality. We're forcing them into early sexuality this way, and we're turning their sexuality into a commodity so we can sell it -- commodify it and sell it back to them. I think one of the interesting things about how girls and young women are affected by the porn culture is they date these men who themselves have been shaped by pornography. What I found in my interviews with young women was that many of these men wanted to play out porn sex on their bodies. They wanted anal sex, they wanted all sorts of other things that they'd seen in pornography.
And a lot of the women, they don't want to do it, but they don't have the vocabulary to express why they don't want to do it because everywhere they go in this society they're told, "If you don't do it, you're a prude." And what teenager or adolescent do you know wants to be defined as a prude? So the boys are pushing, nagging, cajoling girls into performing porn sex.

SK: Gail, let's talk about the feminist debate, and where it stands over pornography. This is a long-standing debate, this battle within feminist circles over pornography. On the one hand, there are feminists who point out that pornography is degrading to women and should be an issue taken up by feminists; then on the other hand, are those who say women in the pornography industry are empowered, or they're sex workers who ought to be respected like any other workers and we shouldn't be prudes or man-haters or 'feminazis,' which is a common term I'm sure you've been called -- I've been called that. Do you see that conversation changing given that the landscape of mainstream pornography has become so brutal? Or are we still blind to its brutality?

GD: This is a great question because as pornography becomes more brutal, you would think that the conversation would get around to brutality and what happens to the women. It's amazing, I think, those feminists who support the porn industry–they don't look at it as an industry, they look at it as a collection of women being empowered by the industry. Now, I'm not saying there aren't some women who can't make this work for them. However, what I'm interested in is the macro-social and systematic effects of an industry, not of individuals working within it. What I study is the mainstream industry where women are not empowered. Women come and go, they enter the industry thinking they're going to be Jenna Jameson, they leave scarred, they leave emotionally affected by what's happened to them. And I think as feminists we need to start looking at the effects on women both in the industry and outside the industry because, as I said, these women are dating the men.

I think also there's areas in feminism where no one really sees the reality of women's victim status, that we say women are no longer victims. Well, if you look at the level of violence against women in this society, you look at women struggling to feed their children, you look at women living in poverty, you know, we need to have feminism with politics. And what's happened, I think, is that politics have been bled out of feminism, so now you get this idea that we got what we wanted, or at least we can be empowered as individuals. I'm sorry, but you cannot be empowered as individuals when women as a group are systematically discriminated against. And even if I'm OK. My feminism was saying, "You know what? I walked that distance for you because you're not OK." That's what sisterhood was about. Not about looking at individuals and saying, "You're OK, so that's a sign that women are empowered."

SK: Finally, where is the good news in all of this? Where's the activism and what are some avenues by which people can take action?

GD: There are a few places they can go where we've got resources online. My Web site,, also, which is an organization that I co-founded, has a list of resources. You can also download a 50-minute slideshow with a script and images that you can give in your communities, you can give in your schools. It's been given across the country, in lots of different other countries as well. And you can join on, and we have conferences, and we actually train people how to give the slideshow as a way to start building a grassroots activist movement. I often get letters from women all over the country telling me this has happened to me, thank you for doing this work, I'm now joining your organization because my husband, my boyfriend, or whatever has been using pornography and I've been affected by it.



  • I would say that we should be more worried about a sex-negative culture and attitude that has hijacked our society, necessitating porn.

    And I don't think it's particularly constructive to place all the blame on men, and point out that men are debasing women in the more "violent or degrading" sex acts caught on film, without being equally fair in saying (unless a gun is pointed to their head), a consenting woman by consenting to the act to be film is > < = debasing the man, separately they are debasing themselves.

    To blame it all on the men (as the tone of the article implies) would only work in a vacuum, and reality isn't quite like that.

    Look, I'm not into hate-fucking (to be blunt), but some kind of reconciliation should be attempted to see things from a (for lack of a better term) Beta-Males' perspectives.

    As in: Seeing a pool of available women go for men with money, men with physical strength, and a distant, distant third: men with charm, personality, humor, ethics, morals... nice (less wealthy) guys finish last more often than not in the casual sex game.

    Porn fills that vacuum by preying on insecurities, and more increasingly it seems, tapping into that resentment and lashing out.

  • Several millennia of our screwed-up religion's
    uptight attitudes about sex
    (which imbues even secular art, literature, philosophy,etc.)
    has left us so covered in guilt-hickeys
    we don't even recognize healthy sexuality anymore.

    "Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully
    has already committed adultery
    with her in his heart." - Mat 5:28

    Beliefs like that,
    passed on generation after generation,
    make a godawful sick sexual/spiritual culture.

    Which is what we're stuck in, both coming and going.

  • You have to admit they leave me wondering "what, should attract you to a woman, your future wife possibly that could NOT be considered lust"?
    Are we supposed to be ambivalent to our attraction? What IS attraction if not technically lust?
    While I personally, am one that respects women as my equal, and honored my wedding vows with strong determination and pride in myself , I do NOT think our species could continue if we all felt the same about our wives as brothers and sisters. IT requires a small amount of lust to make a marriage or relationship.
    I have buddies, and don't sleep with them.

    But, I am with you when you saw present day porn seems to be a contest to surpass the next guy with outrageous acts of brutality and disrespect. Is there some reason to be proud you showed more disgusting acts than the last guy? I see none.
    Sadly, I do see an ongoing subplot as mentioned that it seems many women are eager to have themselves treated like a piece of meat by someone that shows nothing but hostility as a means to pump their ego up. It has deteriorated from sex, to abuse. It seems the only "decent" porn anymore is that produced by women.
    They seem to hold onto the humanity of each participant, and less on the domination theme so much.
    Another shocker is the homemade on the street stuff where random women are offered money for sex and go for it. Of course, these show those that were successful, not telling how many failures there were to each success, but, it leaves you wondering how much, how many, and WHO, could be bought this way?
    And do not even look at the phenomenone of subway groping in japan and the videos of what amounts to rape on the trains while people read the paper and stare off into space just feet away, unnoticing anything unusual. It's astounding, leaves one speechless and ashamed to have seen it.

  • Newsflash: a lot of porn is sex-negative.

  • You call her a scholar. You should have called her an anti-porn activist. You call brutal porn typical. It's out there, I'm not denying it, but it is by no means the norm, not the most popular, and as the market saturates, it is rapidly falling in profitability Taking the most extreme examples and holding it up as evidence of mainstream preferences is empty propaganda, and poor work for a 'scholar'. Gail Dines is intellectually dishonest, and so is this article.

    I'm awful tired of seeing AlterNet put up anti-porn propaganda. The author of this article and Gail Dines should go back and read the article about how to talk about sex work. Focus on that part about not denying sex workers agency. This fails that test. It's actively offensive. I've had entirely enough of this bullshit.

    Gail Dines doesn't know a damn thing about sex. She doesn't know about how porn influences sexuality. She makes her living off peddling pseudoscience best suited to sex haters everywhere, cynically capitalizing off controversy. Fuck Gail Dines.

  • And I could easily spend hours dissecting this article, pointing out the leading questions, the fallacies, the parts that aren't backed up by statistics, the faulty conclusions. There is a ton of it here. This whole interview is heavy with cheap smear tactics, with sexist bullshit that embraces a patriarchal view that serves to reinforce a victim mentality for women, casting women as passive recipients in their own sex lives. It's naked ideology posing as scholarly work, and can't even pass muster in even the most cursory debate. AlterNet needs a reasoned response.

  • Unfortunately with AlterNet on the subject of pornography, the only "reasoned response" we're likely to find are in the comments, like yours. AlterNet shows no signs of ever veering from this extremely narrow, misandrist view of pornography. They will, apparently, always consider it worthwhile reporting to build entire articles on unqualified generalizations.

  • People that enjoy porn are not going to go into looking for any reason that might say that it hurts
    women. Women make porn now so they are as involved with the production as much as men. It
    should be open for discussion in a rational and intelligent way. I viewed a program where the
    interviewer asked the women director if she thought that porn was casting women in a demeaning
    way and she agreed that it does but that she herself enjoyed it. This message however does not
    register with all men that not all women feel this way nor do all men.

  • To say that porn hurts women is an unqualified generalization. I'd agree that some porn hurts some women, and that it could be argued that some porn hurts women in general. Some is clearly misogynist and some is clearly violent. I'd like to see fewer generalizations from AlterNet about porn and men that use porn. AlterNet knows better than to run an article demonizing "drugs," because not all drugs are created equal. Reading from this site alone, one might think that instances of friendly or harmless pornography never occur, and that one cannot view pornography without being damaged in some way by it.

  • Or, Uriah, you could type "porn" into Google and see exactly what the eleven year old boys, and boys older and younger, see. Which is exactly what Dines describes. She can't filter the searches so only "the worst stuff imaginable" comes up, right? I mean it's clear you see her as being "dangerous" for speaking truth to what pimps do for profit, not what pimps do to women for profit. Look, anyone can go online and see exactly what she describes. You'd have to be completely unwilling to recognise misogyny when it is staring you in the face, to come to a conclusion that anything Dines is describing is inaccurate or "biased." You might want to check your own biases, sir. They are rather glaring here in your comments.

  • My "bias" essentially filters out that which does not interest me. If I see porn that is misogynist or violent, that simply doesn't get through the arousal filters. When I was a kid I dismissed certain elements of men's magazine pictorials as stupid or offensive, but was still mesmerized by the rest. If I were growing up today, I think I'd largely be doing the same with internet porn, rejecting the uninteresting content (the violent, the misogynist, the too stupid to bear) when it comes along and crafting searches to minimize its occurrence.

    It is a little hard to imagine being a kid today, able to find whatever porn I could want on the internet (a far cry from the rare gold mine of finding a moldy old Playboy stashed in some park). But it's not hard for me to imagine still having the ability to use it sensibly.

  • Gail Dines appear to define manstream porn as whatever comes up first in a Google search. Since when does Eri Schmidt's creation get to be the arbiter of what constitutes 'mainstream'? How is that approach scholarly and not lazy?

  • Well said.

  • Uriah,

    It is clear that your own misogyny, here directed rather overtly at scholar and sociologist Gail Dines is not only ugly, but misplaced. Why aren't you upset with the pimps profiting off of the rape of women? Does Dines' work states something that is irrefutably obvious to anyone who has been online in the last dozen years. Relationships in that time have been rapidly dissolving because so many men would rather stare at a screen giving them 24/7 access to images and video of assaulted women. Does that trouble you at all, or just the women who write about it and document the harm done? Have you read Love and Pornography, which is an honest account of one heterosexual couple's attempt to save their relationship by learning to value physical intimacy and effective, non-abusive communication? Does that book strike you as "an extreme story" and not at all believable. How do you explain it selling so well, then? You've stated clearly where your allegiances and alliances stand. And you've used violent language against a woman in doing so. You really do a good job of making Dines' point, actually: You are pro-porn and find it appropriate to express hostile rage against a human rights activist for telling the truth about a virulently and aggressively misogynistic industry run by wealthy pimps.

  • Speaking of pimps profiting off the rape of women, Gail Dines charges - and gets - $5000 per anti-porn lecture. Money, indeed.

    As revealed by Shira Tarrant of Ms., Gail Dines made her allegiance and alliances known when she got together with Xian fundies in Washington to lobby Congress to urge the Obama Administration to enforce obscenity laws. Yup, a real human rights activst, that Dines.

    The Ms. Blogs really miss you, Julian.

  • And what possible reason would you have to suggest that I'm not upset about people profiting off rape? I didn't mention that subject at all. Oh wait, you're talking about porn here! That's some sexist shit you're pulling there, denying sex workers agency. And look at you, putting me in a neatly labeled box that you can safely ignore. You're not capable of effectively challenging my arguments, and so you resort to ad hominem attacks, to attacking my language. It's pathetic. Save your deconstructionist bullshit and make a reasoned argument or GTFO.

    I have not read that book. But what makes you think that valuing physical intimacy and effective, non-abusive communication is mutually exclusive with enjoying transgressive sex or depictions of transgressive sex? I don't know anyone in the BDSM scene who doesn't value and actively practice those things. This is a witch hunt against an entire sexuality, plain and simple. You can base it in feminist analysis all you want, doesn't change the fact that it robs women of agency, it derides valid sexual preferences, and attempts to establish a faulty understanding of sexual development for ideological purposes. It's not even good feminism. So here's some more 'violent language against women': go fuck yourself.

  • Actually, Julian, I'm the type of feminist that's upset when anyone gets raped, rgardless of whether a pimp makes money off it. You appear to be less upset about rape if a pimp LOST money on it.

    As far as 'hostile rage' goes (an oxymoron at that), you once threatened to kill me with a pair of scissors on the Z Magazine boards. All because I dared to disagree with you. So let's see if we all understand where you're coming from: you oppose censoring pornographic imagery but want dead the people who support its right to exist?
  • Hi goldmarx,

    Would you care to back up that libelous and sad remark with the URL or screen shot of what you're alleging? I don't threaten people, period. Let alone with scissors. So I'm not really sure what you are talking about, but please, do send me the URL where you seem to actually believe this happened. It'd be the first time I've ever seen it. You note it was on a Z magazine board so I'm sure it won't be difficult for you to find. Just do a word search for "scissors". And get back to me on that one.

    why so touchy Uriah Maynard? lol

  • ". . . suited to sex haters everywhere . . ."

    So to you, porn = sex. I'm sure you feel strongly about "fantasy vs. reality," and yet when upset, you directly conflate the two.

    That's a fundamental problem with your ideology.

    Maybe you should examine that before continuing misogynist rants which link to your Facebook profile. Yikes.

    Sorry, but porn = porn and sex = sex.


    An ex-"sex worker" who is going define agency long before you do because you read some article on the internet.

  • Faulty logic there. You're stretching too far, doesn't hold up. Fact is, I engage in many of the practices in porn. And I don't appreciate being told that there's something wrong with that. My partners enjoy it, and it doesn't negatively impact our capacity for intimacy or mutual respect in the slightest. I don't expect anyone to hold my sexual preferences, but I do demand respect for both my partners and myself.

    You call my comments misogynist, and imply that I have something to be ashamed to let my facebook friends see. Bullshit. I have nothing to hide. You call it misogyny any time someone shits on a feminist because you can't make a reasoned argument to support your views that doesn't rely on faulty logic. There are feminists I get along with. Gail Dines is not one of them. Any feminist that fails to make space in their ideology for the full range of sexual expression is full of shit. I guess that includes you.

  • By the way, I wasn't aware that "scholar" and "activist" are mutually exclusive, but anyway . . .

    "And I could easily spend hours dissecting this article, pointing out the leading questions, the fallacies, the parts that aren't backed up by statistics . . . "
    It's a fucking interview. Read some of her other work if you want the citations, which I assure you exist. Because Dr. Dines is -- gasp -- a scholar.

    "the faulty conclusions
    cheap smear tactics
    sexist bullshit
    naked ideology posing as scholarly work
    empty propaganda
    poor work for a 'scholar'
    intellectually dishonest
    actively offensive.
    enough of this bullshit.
    doesn't know a damn thing
    peddling pseudoscience
    sex haters"

    So, um, in the process of writing all that, the hypocrisy of accusing her of "smear tactics" and "sexist bullshit" did not occur to you?

  • I've read altogether too much of her work. Too many articles here on AlterNet, as well. Nothing to like about it, unless you already hold her views on things, in which case you get a nice boost of 'yeah, porn sucks'. Wow, how insightful!

    And is it wrong to respond in kind? I didn't limit myself to smear tactics you know, my calm, reasoned analysis is further below.

  • Darklady 16 hours ago
    Gail Dines has issues. I recommend she seek counseling from Dr. Marty Klein of and read his book "America's War on Sex."

    Porn is about fantasy, which is nearly always transgressive. If she's got work place issues, fine. If she's just uncomfortable seeing some of the things people fantasize about being acted out by live humans, then she shouldn't watch so much porn.

    I've worked as a journalist and more within the adult entertainment industry for more than 15 years and I'll put my opinions and experience up against Dines' any day of the week and twice on Tuesday.

  • Fantasy is nearly always transgressive? What facts do you have to back up a claim like that? The "issues" Dines discusses aren't hers; they are ours. If you want to pretend that gang-raped women, in reality, is only a fantasy, go right ahead. But the callousness involved in deciding to view harm-as-harmless ought to lead anyone to conclude that you, not Gail Dines, have "issues." Are you expecting the reader to assume that your inside-the-industry perspective is unbiased? Who pays you to write material that goes after pro-eroticism feminists and promotes anti-sex pimps a good guys? Do you know the website where a sex education specialist retrains young straight men who have only learned about "sex" from internet pornography how to have good sex with women? Does that very pro-sex woman have "issues" also? Do you really believe corporate pimps don't have "issues" with sexuality and with women?

  • Is there too much rape in the world? Yes. Is there too much misogyny to be found in the porn industry? Yes. But this fails to bring a nuanced view to the problem, paints the industry with too broad a brush, and makes altogether too many assumptions about sexual development, the sexual preferences of both women and men, and the cultural effects of pornography. There is nothing precluding eroticism in porn or in the relationships of people who enjoy porn. If you'd shut the fuck up about your issues with porn and try listening without judgement you'd undoubtedly find out that a lot of your girlfriends actually watch and like it, and even enjoy bringing a lot of the stuff from porn into the bedroom, as one aspect of a healthy, dynamic sexual relationship, built on open communication of desires and sexual exploration.

    So yes, Gail Dines has 'issues'.

  • We should worry that TV has hijacked our minds.



  • UnHappyBillmoreDC 16 hours ago
    I read the first little bit and decided not to help you glorify the ridiculous. If you desire ridiculous sh*t and can find a partner that likes to help you with that, go for it.

    Otherwise, your personal habits belong in your personal life, even though you like to spout off about them.

  • Wait -- so women's bodies are for personal consumption? Women's bodies and sexuality are a taboo commodity? No. The people in the porn industry are real and the ensuing damage is to real people, inside or outside the industry.

    And unfortunately, many men cannot find partners to "help them with ridiculous sh*t." They must make a partner.

    I think your attitude is ridiculous sh*t -- that harming women is a "personal habit" to be kept quiet.

  • Nobody wants to 'make a partner' do shit they don't enjoy. They want a partner that has sexual preferences similar to their own, or at least someone with whom they can build a sexual relationship built on the open communication of desires, where both partners can get their needs filled, despite some degree of variance in their preferences. Hopefully, each can do things for the other that aren't always totally enjoyable for the sake of pleasing their partner. Good, Giving, Game. The basis of a healthy sex life.

    You seem so clouded by your hatred for the patriarchal bullshit of the world that you cannot make room in your sex life for transgressive sex. And that's fine, that's your right, and if you really dislike something, it's totally cool for you to not do it. But complaining that it's harder and harder to find men who share your limited view of acceptable sexual dynamics is just sour grapes. You don't have to hate others to like what you like, you just have to accept that you have to look harder for what you want.

    I never had any trouble finding women who wanted to help me with my ridiculous shit. Of course, I give women room to express their desires without judgement. You'd probably have healthier relationships if you gave people that same freedom. Bringing politics into the bedroom is really not cool.

  • "Nobody wants to 'make a partner' do shit they don't enjoy"
    Are you kidding me? Do you speak for all 6 billion people on the planet when you say this?
    Here's just two stories off the top of my head that prove you wrong:

  • How does contemporary society that limits our choices, UnHappyBillmoreDC? Isn't it the case that we live in a society where poor people in poor urban neighborhoods have little to no access to adequate health care and healthy inexpensive food? Can people of color live in the U.S. and have a personal life not impacted by classism and racism? Can women pass through a social world and not ever be harassed and raped? Does the fact that one in three Indigenous North American women is raped, mostly by white men, indicate to you that we can all just make personal choices to live healthy lives, free of aggression, especially when that aggression is bound up to institutions that govern how we live? Do you really believe corporate industries designed to promote exploitation, racism, and misogyny have a vested interest in caring one bit about anyone's personal life? Do you think pimps, collectively or individually, give a damn about women's human welfare and well-being? The issue here is global and sociological, not individualistic and apolitical. Sex trafficking is an international violation of human rights. Now, if pimps are coercing girls on the street to perform in degrading and abusive ways for them for money--most of which goes to the pimp, and the girls don't have someone offering at least as much money to do non-harmful work, how is she supposed to take you up on your offer to avoid harm? What do you recommend she do?

  • I'm not gonna get into it too deeply here, but a few basic points about human sexuality:

    We don't choose our sexuality. Consequently there isn't a 'wrong' sexuality. There are sexualities that are socially harmful, but in building an ethical framework for our code of socially acceptable sexual behavior, the definition of socially harmful sexual behavior must necessarily be solely limited to the realm of pursuing non-consensual activities. Gail Dines wishes to impose a narrow ideological limitation on what can be constituted to be socially acceptable. This is profoundly unethical, psychologically harmful, and inherently sexist.

    Aside from its inherently uncontrollable nature, sexual preferences are always expressed in nuanced ways, and while the underlying preferences may not be consciously modifiable, their expression depends heavily on both an individual's socialization and the specific context.

    Porn primarily changes sexual preferences by creating a safe space to experiment with fantasies. This causes people to become more capable of identifying their particular sexual preferences.

    As porn becomes more mainstream, people feel more comfortable sharing their more extreme preferences with their partners, according to how prevalent that preference is perceived to be.

    Porn is not a monolithic industry. ALL sexual preferences are well-represented. Playboy continues to sell magazines, losing market share more to the wealth of nude photography of varying levels of artistic merit widely available both for free and on pay sites than to hardcore porn.

    If Gail Dines' ideas on pornification had merit, we could safely assume that due to her exposure, she has a preference for brutal anal sex. Yet I highly doubt this is the case. In carefully examining the porn industry, I've seen many hours of simulated rape porn, pissing scenes, gay porn, even bestiality. Yet my fantasies remain the same, and the types of porn I watch for my own sexual edification has remained constant since I first surveyed the range of porn available to me, not long after getting my first broadband connection. And in the context of my interactions with women, while I am vastly more comfortable expressing my desire for sexual dominance as a result of my porn use, including some of the activities insultingly derided here as being degrading, I remain just as interested in tender and loving sex, and just as committed to my partners' pleasure. And while I obviously put a lot of thought into the subject, careful study will reveal that my experience of porn is the norm, not the exception.

  • I appreciate some of your points, but you failed to address one important issue related to this, how porn and the media is effecting women's relationships to their bodies (and their emotional and mental health) as well as their ability to enjoy and express their sexuality. Should this not be part of this discussion, or is this just about men? More info..research the effects of objectification as well as self-objectification. Thanks.

  • Open a magazine or turn on the television and tell me again how porn's the big problem. Demonizing porn does not solve that problem, it simply makes a scapegoat that governments can attack, and gives culture warriors license to make sure that marginal sexual preferences have no cultural cachet, no venue for self-expression.

    As for women's abilities to enjoy and express their sexuality, by what mechanism do you claim it is negatively affected by pornography? Seems to me that anti-porn feminism is more to blame on that score, by giving women yet another reason to feel persecuted by male desires, to fear that porn-viewers are misogynistic or prone to sexual violence, rather than using porn as an opportunity to explore the variety of sexual expression and feminism as a venue to educate people how to negotiate desire and form healthy relationships built on open communication and trust. The sort of reactionary sexual politics in this article does nothing but debase all of feminism in the public mind, and make it more difficult for couples to have meaningful dialogue. It's actively harmful.

  • I suggest you do some research on objectification and self objectification and then you will be able to answer the questions you asked me and see for yourself! There's no point in talking about "by what mechanism it is negatively effected by pornography" if you have not educated yourself on this. I am not just speaking of me and my opinions, I am talking about the realities of being a women in society. Please open your eyes. If you don't research this stop talking about it, cause then you don't really want to know, but just defend your own paradigm.

  • Thanks for presenting your experience as normative, Uriah. How would you know whether it is or not. What you've said above is that the content of the first pornography you were exposed to has remained what is most desirable to you. That doesn't surprise me, nor does it make any sort of case that what Dines discusses in her latest book is off-track. Her point is that if you were eleven years old now, instead of however old you are, your first exposure would likely be to gonzo pornography which is about as degrading to women as it gets... thus far. And that would likely have exactly the same impact as what you first saw: it would create an association of intense sexual response to values infused in images--values which are those of pimps, not human rights activists. Values of corporate pornographers, not people who want you to find sexuality that is not tied to consumption and exploitation. You admit that some of your own sexual practice involves activities that are degrading to women.

    You might want to note how you reinforce, rather than refute, Dines' major points.

  • Uriah Maynard seems frustrated at what he considers "intellectual dishonesty," that "Dines doesn't know a damn thing about sex" or "how porn influences sexuality." Strange, considering that Dines has pored decades of her life into researching and documenting the effects of pornography on women, men, and the culture at large. Her work has traversed content-analysis of the most popular selling videos; interviews with men, women, and children affected by pornography; research into the heart of the pornography industry, from its highest paid directors to the female actors treated as trash; and, not to mention, a doctorate in sociology with a focus in media studies. Her work is powerful, certified, and illuminating.

    Uriah doesn't know his shit from his oatmeal. His comments amount to little more than an undergraduate-level butchered-postmodern analysis of sexuality. Although I'm comforted to hear that his perusal of hardcore pornography has not (ostensibly) negatively affected his sexual experience with women, I'm embarrassed to see a personal example used as an end-all argument. One is reminded of the ignorant comments, from"I've watched hours of rape pornography, and I've never raped anyone," to, "I make sexist and wife-battering jokes all the time, and I never beat my wife!" As if the effects of media and culture are so immediate and direct.

  • Nope, unless, as American always seem to do, we fail to recognize the distinction between fantasy and reality. But that says more about the AMerican psyche than it does about porn.

  • You must have answered the headline without reading the interview. I will post this excerpt because you are a few steps behind.

    SK: Now, this is an aspect that gets debated over and over again. The pro-pornography viewpoint is that what you see on your video screen is a fantasy, and that we are human beings who are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and we don't carry over what's in our fantasy to our real lives.

    GD: Well, it's very interesting we say that because, you know, as somebody who studies media, and as somebody who's progressive, when we study right-wing media we don't say it's fantasy. We don't say, "You know what, don't worry about Glenn Beck, don't worry about Rush Limbaugh -- people can distinguish." No, we understand that media shapes the way we think. It shapes our reality, it shapes our perceptions of the world. Pornography is one more form of media. It's a specific genre which, by the way, is very powerful because it delivers messages to men's brains via the penis, which is an extremely powerful delivery system. So I think the idea that it's fantasy just isn't borne out given the studies that we know about how porn, and how images in general, affect people's view of the world.

  • This is what fantasy is, at least potentially: creative, free from the constrictions and degradations that are compulsory and consumed, bought and sold in a society that clearly values profit over the welfare of people. BP and pimps do the same thing: take what they can and disregard the harm done in the process. Is an oil spill a fantasy? Is rape? When rape happens to women in the pornography industry, does it shift from reality to fantasy only when it is videotaped and consumed by men who then fantasize about it? Do men really have that kind of power: to declare that someone's rape, that systematic gang-rape of women inside and beyond the pornography industry is "only a fantasy"? How many people have to fantasize about a horrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico before it becomes "only a fantasy"?

  • aligatorhardt 11 hours ago
    The author's conclusions seem very subjective. I agree with others who have stated that my opinions on what is desired of pornography have not changed with the presence of hard core and abusive pornography. I do not appreciate abusive imagery. The fact that it is available does not mean that I will buy it, nor does it demonstrate anything other than the range of imagery has expanded as the internet does not have the limitations of magazine publishing, where a certain number of clients is necessary to succeed. Internet sites draw on a global audience and as such can meet the needs of niche markets that are under served by magazine publishers. As far as the protectionist ideas to keep the youth from seeing images, my first exposure to pornographic images were outside the home, so my parents protectionism failed to be effective. It is the taboo status of nude images that make it so interesting to kids. If it were common it would lose it's power of appeal. Censorship never seems to work. The underlying issue is the ability of the individual to choose and their realization that their opinion is just as valid as others. We should not embrace conformity because that is what empowers groups to hijack the opinions of our youth. A strong sense of personal worth and empathy for others is the best protection for our children.

  • And why raise this issue of "censorship"? How and in what ways is Gail Dines calling for any images to be censored? Didn't she state rather clearly that she shows many people exactly what is in the industry? Didn't the inteviewer state that she had to skip some of the descriptions of what is out there for eleven year olds to see? How old were you when you first saw pornography, and what pornography was it? Do you still find yourself drawn to images like those you first saw? Your individualism is typical in the responses here to the work of a sociologist. Would you ask individuals to ignore the noise at a World Cup match, because, well, we really are all free to have our own experience of things? Can individuals in the U.S. choose to not hear the noise of corporate advertising? Can poor people choose to not have the experience of living in poverty? If we live in a society soaked in the aesthetics and values of pimps, at what point do we note that it is more difficult to pass through one's life without being bombarded and impacted by them. Shall Indigenous people globally just pretend that globalisation isn't a problem? Does protest against globalisation constitute a call to "censorship"? Since when does human rights work amount to "taking something away"? Apparently, when it is critical of corporate pimps' right to do exactly what they want to do. And criticism, in a democracy, isn't censorship, aligatorhardt. Not last time I checked anyway. Gail Dines and her interviewer gets to speak here, right? Or would you prefer they be censored?

  • worthless 11 hours ago
    Here's what this article and countless others regularly posted at AlterNet are saying without having the berries to just come out and say it:

    - ALL heterosexual men are rapists and child molesters at heart. Porn invariably reflects and encourages those tastes and mandates their inexorable intensification.
    - ALL hetero men use porn, get bored by it, and then need not only new porn, but more extreme porn, and that increase exclusively manifests in violence against women in their porn.
    - ALL pornography is violent. ALL sex in porn is brutal. No real women ever want to be fucked hard or have their hair pulled.
    - Porn producers only care about money, and that's bad m'kay, because no other industry in the US capitalist system operates for profit. Nike, for example, only wants to adorn and protect the bare feet of the world, free of charge.

    Of course these are absurd statements, which is exactly why they're not coming right out and saying them. But they sure are comfortable implying the hell out of exactly these sentiments.

    AlterNet is rather monolithic when it comes to pornography and I find it gets really old. So naturally, because I am a straight man, I now have the irresistible urge to seek out newer, more violent forms of news reporting. Soon I won't be satisfied until reporters commit hara-kiri at the ends of their segments. God save me from this dual curse of male gender and heterosexual orientation!

  • Neither Dr. Dines nor the interviewer said anything about "all men are rapists," etc., etc. You must be projecting. Male guilt much?

    "Porn producers only care about money, and that's bad m'kay, because no other industry in the US capitalist system operates for profit. Nike, for example, only wants to adorn and protect the bare feet of the world, free of charge."

    Here you attempt to spin a critique of capitalism as ignorant of the capitalist system, or even pro-capitalist. This interview is about the porn industry. It is not about capitalism. The porn industry exists within a capitalist economy so the topics intersect for obvious reasons. If you would like to discuss capitalism's exploitative nature without mentioning porn, I'm sure there's hundreds of thousands of articles out there which will spare you your knee-jerk guilt.

  • worthless -- you twist everything you read into pretzels?

  • If those are absurd statements, why make them? If Gail makes them, why not quote her directly from the material in the interview. Could it be because you're not able to find your unquoted, uncited, and absurd fantasy of what Dines says anywhere in what she actually says?

    You're more than free to actually quote her from her actual writings. Yes? So why avoid doing that? Her words are all right there, above. Do you avoid quoting her because what she actually says bears no resemblance to what you irresponsibly state as if it came from her?

  • I think this also applies to the couple of responses before yours...

    I am consolidating with these points because I am talking about an attitude expressed by a history of AlterNet articles criticizing porn and men using porn, not solely this article. Forgive me if I don't want to go digging to provide quotes. I figured the frequent AlterNet reader would generally agree with me, that AlterNet's porn-related reporting does have a tendency to generalize, often using its fringes to characterize porn and its users broadly.

  • contempted 11 hours ago
    These are really just the same old anti porn arguments. Porn is here to stay because men love it, always have, always will. Moreover, she's absolutely nuts if she thinks that there arent a large number of women who love rough sex with multiple partners. I'd hate to be her husband, must be the most boring job on earth.

  • This is plain rude and proves the authors points.

  • Hello "contempted". That comment is rather contemptuous of Gail Dines. And your statement speaking on behalf of all men, and what all men like, for all time, forever, is the kind of thing that antifeminists claim comes from women. I've long argued that men project onto feminists what men themselves think about themselves and other men. Men who hate men believe women hate men. Men who are misogynistic think it's natural. Women--feminists--who note men's misogyny isn't at all natural are deemed "man-haters" while the men who think degrading women is natural are called "normal". I hope you get the point.

  • Ah, the same old pro-porn arguments, with a side of ad hominem attacks.

  • jayamaria 10 hours ago
    Wow...I am shocked by these comments. I am in no way for repression of sexuality. I consider myself progressive and I hope that society can have an open, healthy and respectful relationship to sexuality. I agree that a sex negative culture promotes porn and violence. But, in my opinion pornography that is violent does not promote a sex-positive culture. I think this is going from one very unhealthy extreme to another. I think a sex positive culture would NOT be in between these extremes, but rather would need to be based on completely different sets of values such as openness and emotional health.
    I think it would be very helpful if more people educated themselves on statistics of violence against women and what is happening to the relationships women have with their bodies due to the media. Our media and porn damages men too! I am grateful for Alternet because as these comments show, a lot of education is necessary on these issues.

  • jayamaria 10 hours ago
    I am also wondering how readers of Alternet, that obviously care about progressive issues, could care so little to educate themselves on realities that are greatly effecting women and men's emotional, mental and physical health.
    I agree with the previous comment that "A strong sense of personal worth and empathy for others is the best protection for our children." However we also need to look at the effect that the media is having on the relationships young women have to their bodies.
    (Edited by author 10 hours ago)

  • I think a lot of people are down with what you've said, they are just reacting to a maybe well-intentioned piece that is nevertheless laden with misandrist theories.

    (Really Firefox? Misandrist isn't in your dictionary and misogynist is? Kinda proves my point.)

    There's only so many articles you can read/write calling men pigs without trying to reach the underlying causes of what makes society that way... and this article only scratches the surface.

    Greater dialogue is needed, and hey, that's why the comments can be a useful tool.

  • Well, the etymology of "misogyny" is documented by the 1650s, whereas "misandry" was contrived much later (1909, according to the OED, and misandrist even more recently).

    Firefox also lacks the word "derailleur," which proves it discriminates against and loathes bicycles. Har.

    The word you're actually looking for is much older -- misanthrope. "one who hates mankind," 1560s, from Gk. misanthropos "hating mankind," from misein "to hate" + anthropos "man"

    So, why do you think "to hate man" is taken to mean "to hate humanity"? If males weren't the default human being, then you wouldn't have to invent "misandrist," because "misanthropist" has the same meaning and is already established.

  • Shockingly, Ergoat, Black supremacy isn't in the dictionary either. Nor is heterophobia. Nor is a term for the poor inflicting hatred systematically against the rich. That's because the systems of oppression that are social and hierarchical don't have a level playing field or fair ground upon which "hatred flows equally both ways" in the form of institutionalised assault and discrimination. Misogyny flows from male supremacist societies in the way that anti-Black, anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination flows from white supremacist societies. And in white male supremacist societies, such as the U.S., women of color get assaulted from all directions. Note how many presidents and CEOs have been men and white, and how few have been women of color. That ought to tell you something about who this society sees as "appropriate to rule". The only "misandry" that is worth noting, is the man-hating men exact against other men, as in war, as in torture, as in prison rape. And we might note that when men are not in prisons with men, they rape usually women not men. Now why would that be?

  • This was an article about pervasiveness specifically of violent and demeaning porn. I believe the proper word here is "misanthrope", meaning one who hates other people. It was a particularly astute observation that Playboy was meant to sell more than glossy nudes and that ever since, pornography has been emblematic of an impersonal consumer society where one is either wealthy or useful to those who are wealthy or expendable.

    If the Corporate Overlords get their way, the men will all become techogeek troglodytes/steroid users, passive consumers of beer and porn, and the women will all turn into Sarah Jessica Parker.

    My husband and I both lost our respective virginities much earlier in what seemed at the time to be an expression of sexual liberation, but in reality was rather sordid and degrading and ultimately quite traumatizing. I would be horrified if the same thing happened to my children. A sense of self-worth is priceless; respect for self and for others is the greatest gift I can give as a parent.

  • ctrenta 10 hours ago
    As a young male growing up, I can speak from experience that pornography compromised my sexual development. Growing up, I was traumatized by hardcore pornography. It left me very confused, scared, awful, and aroused. How does a nine-year old handle something like that? That's the situation I got put in. I've struggled with adapting to healthy sexual behaviors and healthy portrayals of connecting with women. I know I'm not alone because this has happened to so many males growing up I've talked to. It feels like the norm not the exception.

    Today's porn is worse, much much worse. I don't want my kids to go through what I went through to learn about sex. I want them to have healthy attitudes toward sex, toward connecting with other women and men, and not view sex as an emotionless act between two adults. I don't want them to view sex as a means of power and control. I don't want them to see sex as a means of satisfying themselves but as a means of expressing equality, trust, and connection in a partnership. Today's porn takes that all away. I'm trying to recover all of that in my relationship with my wife and I know several other men out there are trying to do the same.

    Many men may not relate to what I'm saying. But some men out there will. The majority of porn consumed by men portrays women and men detached from emotions and connection. It left me nothing but feelings of emptiness. Porn hurt me emotionally and how I relate to women. I hope that tomorrow's boys and young men don't have to go through what I went through, especially since today's porn is much, much worse.

  • Thank you so much, ctrenta, for expressing what so many males could also express, but likely wouldn't feel comfortable doing, not because they'll be shamed by feminists, but because men will them make fun of them and will call them all kinds of demeaning names that usually mean "like a woman". The pressure on males to posture themselves as "always liking sex and porn" is fierce among males of all ages--and as you know that's a kind of social tyranny maintained by men against males--a form of "misandry" that has its roots in misogyny. You are more than welcome to visit my blog. Just do a Google search of my name. I am aware of many men who feel as you do and have found my own way out of the harm of exposure to pornography that most surely does shape sexuality in very anti-sexual/anti-human/anti-woman ways. I hope you find support for upholding the solid, humane values you espouse. You're far from alone. For one book on this subject, see Love and Pornography. See also Michael Flood is a very caring guy, and he founded that network. And please feel free to Google my name and find contact information for me to get more support if that would be useful to you. I applaud you. I'm wishing you lots of love and intimacy in your life. I know for a fact it's possible to achieve.

  • Don't forget to thank all the fundies for gutting any real kind of sex ed in schools. For those kids whose parents leave them in the dark about sexuality, porn IS the only "sex ed" they get for the most part.

Showing 61-90 of 66 comments

  • magiart 9 hours ago
    The Monopolist Frenzy Capitalist Central Issue...

    If we focused on real issues that undermine the social fabric, issues like unfettered and legalized greed and usury, instead of one exploitative issue spawned from this central and socially debiliating issue, we might stop being muddle-minded about what's really destroying us.

    For the real rape and bestiality happen continuously and with apparent irremediability to each of us everywhere in this country - and this insanity has little to do with pornography.

    The financial whose pall and thrall we now exist under; the depression imposed artificially from above, in keeping with the monopolist frenzy capitalism from which we are morally, spiritually and ontologically raped by impunative and insular beasts without conscience ruling from behind their mercenary law and intelligence forces IS the central and ineluctable, inexorble issue that needs to be focused on and addressed. Every time we are distracted from dealing with this main issue, as in smear stories like this one, we have to realize its only that - a distraction - and its weakening our minds; drawing us away from coping with the overwhelming monopolist frenzy capitalist issue that's really killing us.

    What, do we now need a fictitious 'war' on pornography to go along with all the other monopolist frenzy capitalist milch cow prohibitiont 'wars'? This sort of grass roots, mass delusion-based-on-specious-factoid-statistics wedge issue, is what allows politicians to 'craft' 'morality' legislation whose parasitic laws end up creating far worse moral travesties and abysses like the 'war on drugs'.

    Think before conflating personal choice, quality of life and personal things like pornography, from personal perspectives into social monsters. Think of the monopolist frenzy capitalist central issue through which this country has now morbidly crippled itself for never seriously having analyzed, confronted and addressed it.

  • Ah-ha. I see. Why worry about silly women's issues when there are IMPORTANT issues?

    "For the real rape and bestiality happen continuously . . . the monopolist frenzy capitalism from which we are morally, spiritually and ontologically raped . . . the overwhelming monopolist frenzy capitalist issue that's really killing us."

    Actually, capitalism isn't the real rape. Rape is the real rape. Sorry. Very poetically-waxy, though.
    (Edited by author 7 hours ago)

  • Yes, attican. It's amazing to me how often men will prefer to see as some form of non-rape of men as the ONLY form of "rape" worth fighting against. Tragically, lots of men don't want to challenge men's entitlement to rape women. And everything else registers as more important an issue, primarily because men don't endure rape, domination, sadistic control, and gross physical assault from women and men so don't ever have to know how terrifying it all is. That's male privilege.

  • Of course men endure rape...almost as much as women. Be that as it may, officially, 500 women have been raped in the Congo to date and if attican thinks these rapes are not based in economics she (or he) should read up on what the war there is all about...maybe she'd feel hesitant to use her (his) computer as thoughtlessly from now on.

    As for man-rape - it happens all the time. Men are too ashamed to report it but if anyone cares to research this subterranean issue then I would steer them to any psychological periodical. Therein will be discovered male tales of woe just as, if not more than, horrendous than stories of misogynist forced ravishment (woman-hating rape).

    I don't want to play 'man rape is worse than woman rape' or 'woman rape is the most important rape of all' games. What I said in my post about capitalist rape is so obvious, so pervasive and so destructive of all of us that it is the central issue of our time. But, there you go, attican, like so many narrow-minded feminists, in some sort of perverse paradoxical female denial about what actually does destroys families, yes, men, women and children - what I call monopolist frenzy capitalism - fixed once again on female if women are the only victims in this world. As if men are not abject slaves all around everywhere! You know what I'm referring to but don't wish to give up your pet misandrynist bashing rape stick.

    Too bad - maybe if women would stop lashing out at men who really care about them because they like to take out their frustration on anybody bearing a natural phallus, in self-righteous revenge, knowing the real rapists couldn't care less about their rage; knowing that real rapists enjoy the very idea of the deep wounds they've inflicted upon them - then they'd come around to helping people who've existentially been RAPED by monopolist frenzy capitalism find a way to, in great and dedicated numbers, expunge the vultures of capitalism and work to set up a system wherein Distrubutist capitalism was within reach of everybody who loved the Earth and the land instead of the solely for a abstract thing known as the marketplace!

  • magiart 9 hours ago
    Error: In paragraph #3, after the word 'financial' the word 'debacle' was omitted...sorry.

  • What I'm beginning to suspect, is that articles like this, and and other articles aren't really about porn at all.

    Just like yesterday's article on Alternet wasn't really about Glenn Beck, even though his picture accompanied it.

    Like the Fox News article isn't really about what they want to repeal.

    What I'm beginning to suspect about all of these articles is they're all about the same thing, and that they are all asking the same question: What is real in what we see and hear?

    News isn't really news any more, it has morphed into a sort of loud "infotainment" that imparts a little information with a lot of slant under a canopy of computerized graphics. This same problem holds true with just about every form of 'entertainment' we see nowadays. Stephen Colbert has a show mocking punditry, yet does such a good job mocking it, some fail to see the difference between the mockery and the original article (whoever it happened to emanate from).

    Everything, and I mean everything media related has become packaged in brighter, louder and shorter segments in order to rise above the din of all the other media outlets. The cartoons on the cover of The Economist have become bolder and sillier. Graphics on Colbert's show have become more colorful, more contextualized with patriotic symbolism, and less realistic in portrayal of its protagonist, Colbert. Fox, CNN and MSNBC are no different. Colors are brighter, bolder and actual content is shorter louder.

    Remember the old Alternet? What was wrong with it? Even Alternet isn't immune to the creep of packaging when it comes to media.

    Movies and remakes of movies fall into the same trap. Megan Fox has a tattoo of Marilyn Monroe on her right forearm. Not only do you not see it in any of the Transformer movies, but the Transformer movies themselves get louder and thinner in plot with each outing. (I know, Michael Bay 'films' shouldn't really be used as an example of cinematic excellence, so I'll include another example). The remake of Clash of the Titans is another example of this: bigger, louder, and not arguably any better. The acting was pretty crappy in both, the dialog was painful in both and the script was wretched in both. The monster in the first is arguably more 'real' than the monster in the second, because it actually existed, although it was probably only two feet high. The monster in the second was larger, louder and more frightening, but exists only as 1's and 0's on a hard drive somewhere.

    Porn is no different from any other form of media. Why wouldn't its content follow the same trend as the rest of the content that's thrown our way? It's become louder, shorter and more slickly packaged with more 'stunts'. The film about the making of a pornographic film Zack and Miri Make a Porno sort of touches on this, that what is 'real' doesn't translate as well to the screen, and in fact comes across as sort of boring. But, I think that has very little to do with it being porn, in as much as it has to do with our evolving relationship with media in general.

    Is this really a failure of the porn/news/film industries? Or is it a failure of our culture for not being contemplative enough to take the time to process and analyse the bits and bytes that are barrelling at us every hour of the day? Are we really in such a hurry that deliberate investigative journalism has no place any more? Has debate, discourse and informed reason become so time consuming that victory any debate must therefore be awarded to the generation of the catchiest sound byte set to the most dramatic music?

    So, in reality, I don't know. I'll just leave with the question I started with: is, or what is of what, we see and hear 'real'?

    *edit: changed wording of first didn't make sense.
    (Edited by author 7 hours ago)

  • Hi J.

    I appreciate your commentary. Clearly compulsive and compulsory reaction and counter-reaction to sensationalism, spectacle, and infortainment has replaced contemplation, communication, and community. For me it is important to note in what political contexts this is occurring. Does white supremacy have a role in it? I think so. Does corporate capitalism? I'd say yes. Does patriarchy? Yes. Because each of those systems of domination, force, and exploitation degrade whole groups of humans and make empathy for the oppressed less common and less likely to occur. Empathy and compassion, after all, are not that marketable, don't promote hatred, and aren't useful if setting up an "us" vs. "them" mentality and society in which the oppressed are scapegoated repeatedly as being the ones with too much power and control. The conceit there is that the oppressed having any power is, from the perspective of the oppressor, "too much". Hence feminists--maybe a few who still speak out against the indignities and injustices embedded in pimp-culture--will be seen by men here, on this site, as "feminazis" while neo-Nazis blame Mexicans for stealing jobs and Muslims for being terrorists. That neo-Nazis, pimps, Christian fundamentalists with tons of media power, and corporate capitalists generally are social terrorists seems to escape the observation of those who exercise and wield precisely their brands of oppressive, destructive, silencing power.

  • It's a wonder that MORE men are not having sex with their daughters, then again, they could be for all we know!

    Porno DOES destroy sexual intimacy between couples! Anytime you need a 3rd party, or NEED to watch someone else getting it on, is very upsetting to the partner who can do without the 3rd party! In most cases, its the MEN who want and need the EXTRA stimulation!

    Many women go into these relationships out of love and stupidity! To do almost ANYTHING to PLEASE their man, all while the man is DESTROYING the love, the IMMEDIATE sexual desires, the woman once felt for him.

    Our young daughters are being EXPLOITED, seeing all this gross stuff on the Internet with easy accessibility, then being CONDITIONED, its what MEN want, expect and DEMAND!

    Most men are NOT good lover's; most dump and run (not to say I've been with them all, but I've had my share!) Out of all my lover's, I would say ONE was SATISFYING! Then to be honest, didn't want the other's sexually, but had sex with them for my material needs! I believe its WHY many women become alcoholics, and drug user's ... having to deal with men, they really don't want to be bothered with! It's probably another reason, why many become Lesbians!

    There are FEW GOOD men that will do something nice for a woman, because she needs his help, assistance & support; but many will tell you, if I want a Friend, I'll go visit my mother, otherwise, women are for one thing, SEX, SEX, SEX! When men do something for you, they are definitely looking for something in return; its why when most women get out of a bad and painful marriage and/or relationship, most either go Lesbian, or want to remain single, without any sexual activity!

    I find men are SINGLE MINDED; most would forego their sight, to have keep an erection, and all they think about is SEX, SEX, SEX! It's sad, when the world and our country is in a total mess! It's apparent, most men would RATHER ESCAPE challenges, then face them, so they use sex and sports, as ways to escape.

    I am 62 years old an on one hand I cannot fill them male friends, for that matter, neither can I with female friends! I believe women are responsible for the terrible condition our men are in, because they certainly could NOT exploit women, if women did NOT ALLOW IT! Then again, we are placed into many situations whereas if we did not give them what they want, many would be homeless and hungry! It's why when some women FINALLY WAKE UP, they get their education and good paying jobs, so they won't have to tolerate the DISRESPECTING demands many men place upon women and EXPECT for them to take!

    Have any of you seen the Oprah and Dr. Phil Shows whereby our young daughter's as young as 12 years old, are going around SUCKING young, older boys, and men's penis's for MONEY, MATERIAL things, all while the young thugs are placing NOTCHES on their belts!

    America sucks in every area of MORAL'S when it comes to PROTECTING our children, and women. Even the Minister's in our churches are JUST AS BAD, if NOT WORSE! Look at the VATICAN, CONTROLLED BY SADISTIC MEN, and they've been molesting children for CENTURIES!

    I will say that after watching Oprah, there are many women involved in Porn; my surmation is that they PURCHASE it, to get off, to obtain an ORGASM! Many men are TERRIBLE, very UNSATISFYING, UNATTENTIVE LOVER'S!

  • I admit the sad prevalence of low-quality lovers and boyfriends out there has often served to make me look pretty good by comparison... But some women are so affected by previous encounters and "relationships" that it takes a great deal more energy to be the right kind of lover or significant other that they need.

    It seems that unfortunately Changin may have suffered more than her fair share of lower-quality men. I've always thought that if I were a chick I'd want to date guys like my friends... guys who, naturally, usually have a hard time getting chicks.

    Ladies, there are higher quality men out there--available and willing, if perhaps a little shy or even clueless--who would ably satisfy the vast majority of your sexual and relationship needs. Some may need to be taught how to please you, some may blow your mind on their own.

  • "Ladies, there are higher quality men out there--available and willing, if perhaps a little shy or even clueless--who would ably satisfy the vast majority of your sexual and relationship needs. Some may need to be taught how to please you, some may blow your mind on their own."

    Yes, and they are often the very same guys you rejected back in high school so you could have the alpha jerks instead. Nice guys finish last, it's so true.

  • After reading the article and some of the comments, we seem to be getting into the "No true Scotsman" fallacy.

    "No self-empowered, feminist woman who is comfortable with her body can enjoy group sex with men, double penetration, being slapped, spanked, humiliated, anal sex, or any of these other things."

    "But I know a woman who is a self-empowered feminist that enjoys ."

    "Ah, but no *true* self-empowered, feminist woman who is comfortable with her body truly enjoys ."

    I think part of this is because talking about sex in a public forum is difficult to do, at best, but also because we find it difficult to empathize with something that we ourselves do not find enjoyable. I, for one, don't like raw tomatoes. I find it difficult to understand why someone would willingly eat one. Other people *like* raw tomatoes, and find my aversion difficult to understand.

    How do you think a woman that enjoys anal sex feels when she's told that it's wrong? How do you think a man would feel when, asked by his girlfriend to perform anal sex, has been told that it's harmful and degrading to her? Or spanking? If a woman fantasizes about a threesome with two men, how do you think she'll feel when she's told that she shouldn't think about or engage in that, because it's degrading to women for her to want to have that experience?

    This is not to say that the article is without merit. I can see a valid claim of the working conditions being substandard, of young women being pushed beyond their physical limits to the point of serious harm. I can also agree that children at a young age exposed to this type of pornography can get a distorted view. I disagree with the assertion that because of the availability of simulated child porn, that a man was pushed towards raping children. He had already shown signs, before seeking it out, of having a dangerous tendency towards pedophilia. Whether it took six months or two years for it to manifest is irrelevant. At some point, he would have acted upon his already-existent urges and feelings.

    I feel that the only way to balance this is by having open and honest discussions about sex and sexuality, as well as a discussion on sexual ethics, which is difficult to do in a public forum, and very difficult to do in our society.

  • Hi Ben,

    Gail Dines' work is infused with discussions of sexual ethics. She promotes the ethics of mutuality, justice, fairness, and non-coercion. She promotes an ethic that is anti-racist and anti-male domination. She's discussing these issues and how the multi-billion dollar pornography industry harms women and sexuality.

    Your hypotheticals about what women might feel if they enjoy this or that aren't useful to me, personally speaking. So let me bring this into reality, because that's where things matter, to me. A friend of mine was incested by her adoptive father from age four to fourteen. She cannot have sex as an adult, after passing through a period of detached and random sex (which when guys do it is called "cool" and when girls do it is called being "slutty"), in which she cared nothing at all for herself or anyone else.

    A neighborhood child molester who perpetrated me and other boys I knew, generally used pornography as his lure.

    You appear to make an argument that because some child molesters molest without using pornography that child molesters can't be motivated to abuse because of what they see in pornography. A male relative of mine saw Top Gun when a boy and ever since then got it in his mind that being in Navy was cool and incredibly glamourous in ways that would make him feel valued and esteemed. He wanted that kind of "glory". He enlisted as soon as he could, being working class, coming of age in a crappy economy, and having few other options to get any post-high school education. (Would he have enlisted if the government offered him nothing in return? I'm not sure. But as a boy he still would have found it glamourous.) He's been repairing U.S. fighter jets for years now. Planes that go off and drop bombs on innocent Iraqi citizens. Do all U.S. boys who want to go into the Navy need to watch Top Gun? No. But to think that film didn't influence his actions would be to deny reality. Clearly the government offering him lots of money to do so was also a factor.

    Some child molesters, many rapists, and almost all known contemporary serial rapist-murderers are/were compulsive consumers of pornography that kept a strong sexual "fix" associated with sexually violent images geared to make degradation, violation, force, and other violence look like "sex". Of course there are men who reach orgasm to that material and don't offend against children.

    Clearly lots of people who get in car accidents don't drive drunk. And some drunk drivers go for years and never get into car accidents. But drinking and driving has been found to be a dangerous combination of activities--it's not socially encouraged except among people who are irresponsible. The outcomes aren't predictable in some sort of laboratory "this leads to that conclusively all the time" way; but nor are the factors preceding the car accident unrelated when drinking is involved.

    Pornography use, especially for people who feel compelled to act out what they visually consume, is a problem. I'm not a Prohibitionist. Nor am I for censoring pornography. But nor I am for pretending there's no significant, politically and socially important correlation between behaviors that demonstrate a proclivity to encourage harmful actions against human beings. The molester knew using pornography would "work" most of the time just as the pimp knows how to season girls to be prostitutes using various methods of exploitive coercion. Does he need to threaten all the girls he takes "under his wing"? Not necessarily. If she's already an abuse survivor she may already know how to be compliant and dissociated in the face of sexual predation.

    Yet in the actual world of trafficking, pimps often makes the girl into pornography and threaten to show that pornography to her family should she leave him.

    Do all pimps need to do that to control girls they find on the street? No. Does that mean pornography is not meaningfully involved in the seasoning process? No.

    Honest discussions, for me, involve noting these realities and not pretending they don't exist. No one's censoring anything by discussing this, by the way. Meanwhile, pimps censor what girls (and boys, and women, and men, and trans people) can say to those outside the systems of sexual coercion, exploitation, and abuse who might assist them in escaping those systems of sexual trafficking. Pornographers pretend to speak for women and for male consumers, telling us all that to critique pornography is to be a prude. As someone who enjoyed seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show many times, and can curse like a sailor, let me tell you: I'm no prude and I've nothing against "sex" that isn't bound to corporate CEO's and pimps' values. The problem has never been nudity or sex. The problem is coercion, domination, and oppression being passed off as "naturally" what people like to do that is "just sex".

    Corporate media regulates consumption and manufactures desire for things we rather obviously don't need for our well-being, and that, when consumed, actually harm us--by exposing us to dangerous chemicals, for one thing. The military industrial complex manipulates the media-impacted public's understanding of terror and danger so that U.S.'s invasion of other countries is seen as "the right thing to do". I'm not for banning the military either. But let's not pretend there is no military industrial complex that is in the business of making war. And let's not pretend war doesn't censor civilian victims--by terrorising and killing them. Let's also not pretend there aren't corporate pimps who are in the business of making rape look "sexy" and who are capable of using terror and murder when necessary. To say the pornography industry isn't "pretty" is as much an understatement as I'm capable of making.

  • I don't see that much difference between this critique of porn, and some right wing Christian one.

    There are some disgusting things about the commodification of sex for sure, and I applaud efforts to expose the profit motivation of most of the porn industry. However, things like the connecting of the actions of child rapists to viewing a "barely legal" porn site..that's exactly the kind of intellectual short sightedness you see from right wing critiques of popular culture, and indeed it sounds like it could come from some "down with porn" Mom's group pushing for even tougher laws for sex offender registration or some such.

    The article seems to imply that there is something like normal sex, and something like deviant sex, and that there is something wrong with people who are interested in, or engage in deviant sex. Sound familiar to you? As if everyone fits into those two categories.

    I imagine the authors definition of the these two things might differ from your average Christian conservative, but in the end they seem to be working with similar are either empowering women sexually or exploiting them, and if sex is primarily a political act.

    Are the only two options sexual deviancy that explotis women, or strictly PC loving sex, I swear sometimes I read article like this on the feminism/porn debate and I get the real feeling that some of these folks have politicized their OWN sexuality to such a degree that they can no longer distinguish healthy sexual behavior from what they believe the "should" do sexually.

    People have been having all different kinds of sex (plenty of which might offend some folks) for a long time, the issue isn't with moralizing about the type of sex or treating people like deviants for being interested in sexual material..the issue the the commodification of sexuality, and the huge availability of the material.

    The author claims to be primarily interested in exposing the terrible effects of the industry, and the conditions women put up with in it..i'm all for that..but why then did I just get done reading an article that was 90% moralizing about the type of sex people should be interested in? Again, it isn't far off from a right wing Christian conservative's view of sexuality from where I sit.

    I recognize the importance of articles on sexuality, specific exploitation of women to a left newsite, but can't you guys drum up someone a bit smarter? I feel like the quality of "jounralism" in most of the articles regarding sex and sexuality on Alternet is awful.

    (Edited by author 7 hours ago)

  • As I understand it, the Western white Christian fundamentalist view sees women as bad--ever since Eve--and in need of being controlled by men. The values are pro-male domination of women. The history is one of viewing nudity as dirty, sex as sinful, and pornography as obscene for showing images of naked (dirty) women (who are, by nature, "bad"), engaged in (sinful) sexual activity.

    The feminist view doesn't see nudity, sex, or women as bad, evil, dirty, bad, or wrong. What it sees as harmful is the normalisation and naturalisation of rape, exploitation, and domination of women by men.

    The Church is historically and cross-culturally pro-sexual exploitation, as long as it is private. The corporate pimps historically and cross-culturally are pro-sexual exploitation, as long as it remains public.

    Feminists who are for women's liberation from patriarchy (as opposed to part of a social movement to only allow women to be equal to men within it), are against both the values and practices of the Molesting Priests and the values and practices of the Rapist Pimps.

  • Regardless of ideology, the position taken amounts to the same thing:

    The desire to regulate people's sexual behavior into some kind of "norm".

    She is not crusading against the mistreatment of women in the sex industry, there are already people out there doing that, and she evidently thinks they are incorrect in doing so.

    She is trying to impose her views of what is a norm sexually, and dressing it up in rhetoric she claims is feminist. Her arguments, and i'm guessing her proposed remedies (legislative and otherwise) for "the porn problem" are exactly those of the Christian Right. For the purposes of this issue, there seems to be little meaningful difference.

    Regardless though, it really doesn't matter either way because just like all the "anti porn" crusaders from across the political spectrum hand-wringing about how the internet is sexually perverting the youth, she has ZERO proof of any of her claims regarding what porn does to people and prefers to present her opinions as fact.

    Shotty journalism, she has no place calling it "research", and reasoning people probably will take such arguments with a grain of salt, in my opinion.

    Once one of these people presents actual peer-reviewed empirical evidence that porn use leads to rape etc., then people will pay attention to it. I'm guessing that's not gonna happen any time soon since people like her have been saying these things for at least the 35 years i've been alive, and still have not managed to prove any meaningful link between media and violent criminal activity, sexual or otherwise.

  • canadrea 7 hours ago
    Yes, it's so awesome when your asshole falls out from being fucked. Women LOVE that!
    Men... if you want a tighter hole, perhaps you need a bigger penis. LOL

  • No, it's awesome when you are comfortable with your body and what you like, and can engage in that activity without being judged, and when an open discussion can be had regarding it. I do agree that an industry worker suffering from anal prolapse is a *bad thing*, and is obviously harmful to the individual. However, not every woman who engages in anal sex outside of the industry suffers from a prolapsed anus.

    I also disagree with the notion that the enjoyment of anal sex is *exclusively* for male pleasure. Again, just because *you* don't find pleasure in such an activity, does not mean that others do not.

  • That some women may enjoy anal sex doesn't mean that men don't routinely coerce women to do it, Ben. And as the discussion here is about an industry of coercion and exploitation, of domination and sadism, isn't that the relevant matter? I mean we can all agree "some people like [whatever]". That lots of people like steak doesn't mean cows are treated humanely by agri-business, does it? And that some people like any form of sex doesn't mean it isn't used and practiced abusively in a corporate industrial setting. Cows CAN be raised humanely. Humans CAN have humane sex. But when you bring in a huge profit motive and callous profiteers as the organisers and controllers of the system, you're not likely to get much that's humane as a "product".

  • AmazonLaur 6 hours ago
    The pro-porn folks are saying that they're sexual gratification is more important than creating a just world for women.

    Remember, porn, like all prostitution, is created in a context of gender inequality.

  • AmazonLaur 6 hours ago
    Furthermore, feminism isn't about "choice"; that's liberalism.

    Feminism is about ending the oppression of women.

  • Is feminism also about dictating what is, and is not officially correct forms of sexual expression?

    If the author was interested in liberating women (instead of demonizing what she sees as deviant sexual acts) I think she would spend less time moralizing about sex acts, and actually addressing gender inequality, or looking at the economics of porn with gender.

    Instead she is throwing things out there such as the ridiculous assertion that young women would only try anal sex if goaded into it by a partner who was perverted by porn viewing. I have to wonder about people's own limited sexual experiences when they say things like this...does she seriously believe that only men are interested in anal sex, or that it only exists in porn form? That borders on moronic, especially coming from someone who is claiming some kind of expertise in the field of sexual behavior.

    The article is ridiculous to anyone who can reason.

    I wish people like this would just publically join up with conservative groups who are always out there protesting video games, comic books and everything else, on some level they have a lot in common, both have a puritanical, austere view of what our culture is and should be allowed to be.

    I wonder what this brainiac thinks about gay sex and gay porn.

    (Edited by author 6 hours ago)

  • As a gay male, I'll tell you what I think about it: it contains almost all of the same values and practices in heterosexist/misogynist pornography except the acts are done among men, not by men against women. That's fairly obvious if you've seen it.

    What corporate pimps make is "official correct sex", just to be clear here. Theirs is the multi-billion dollar a year industry selling the public "politically correct sexxxism", after all. I can assure that every feminist group in the last forty years, grouped together, haven't made as much money as corporate pimps earn in one year, or, even, in one season. Consider that when you state who has the power to dictate what official sex should be.

    How it is you reason pimps don't dictate what sex should be is a bit beyond me, but I welcome your explanation for how their power doesn't shape anything, while they earn billions, while feminists who earn, what?, thousands if they are lucky, have all this power to shape, direct, and become the censors and officials in charge of "correct sex". How does that happen, in reality? Do the poor also dictate and control capitalism?

  • I like how your arguments automatically asks me to accept your premises about patriarchy and world view, and throws in the gay male if your opinion is now more valid.

    I don't care what you, or Dr. Dines believes about patriarchy, "Pimps", or any of that.

    All I care about is that she is making a slew of unsupported claims about "what porn does to people" with no appeal to actual evidence. That alone is enough to make her not worth listening to by anyone willing to think for a bit.

    It's true i'm sure she wields little if any political power to affect how we view sex, and thank God that is so as I expect her "solutions" to the problems presented by exploitative porn wouldn't be far off from Glenn Beck and his ilk. Taking a look at her anti-porn site gave me the creeps, and told me pretty much everything I need to know about her.

  • You don't have to accept that patriarchy and pimps are central to understanding what pornography, as an industry, is and does. But I've also got a story about Nazi Germany and Jews and Concentration Camps. You might find that one also too depressing to consider to be reality. What porn does to people is evidenced in what the people do who use it and act it out with people around them. Just ask enough people who date the men who consume it compulsively, and please don't pretend that is only a minority of men.

    Given that Dines and I are both Jewish, I'll note that your reference to "solutions" is really insensitive to her and so ungrounded in anything resembling reality that you might want to check yourself about why you think "critique" means "removal". In case you haven't noticed, she criticises capitalism too, but its not going anywhere, nor is her writing offering up a "solution" to the problem of capitalists exploiting workers.

    This knee-jerk reaction that floats around the internet when people criticise institutions that some hold sacred (or whatever) is quite illuminating about the projections of power onto those critics. You wonder about her "solutions"? Why don't you read the interview and tell us all what those are? She shows people pornography. She discusses it in conferences. Now, how many people do you think get "silenced" by her doing that work? Compare that to the work of serial rapists who proliferate the pornography industry, and consider how silencing rape is and put your upset and outrage where it belongs--aimed at people who don't give a damn about human rights. Pimps' speech has far more legal protections that feminists' speech. Given that speech in the U.S. is generally purchased, the people with the most money speak the most and the loudest. That would, again, be the pimps, not the feminists. Pornography: a multi-billion dollar industry, annually. Feminism, on the other hand, costs the activists a lot to try and speak truth to power. Just look at how distorted Dines' message is here by you and so many others, and how Flynt's and Hefner's speech, backed by the best lawyers money can buy, gets a free pass from people like you.

  • politicky 6 hours ago
    Wow. I am amazed at how many commenters read things into this article that I just did not. Even after reading it twice.

  • And i'm amazed how so far everyone who seems somewhat in favor the article has been unable to drum up anything but veiled ad-hominem attacks and juvenile "you must hate women" type remarks

    I have considered myself to be generally on the far left of the political spectrum for some time, but it never ceases to amaze me how close minded so many on the left are regarding's as if some on the left think that their sexuality and experiences are the model for what is healthy behavior.

    Anti-porn crusaders wasting their time on this drivel thinking they 'liberating' wonder the left is in such sorry shape in this country.

  • So, Seboh, do you not attribute the condition of the left in the U.S. to the powers of the Right to control the discourse and define the parameters of what constitutes "the left"? Do you know how many people I know who think moderate liberalism is part of "the left"? Do you know how many people in the U.S. think progressive liberalism is as far left as the dominant euro white male political spectrum gets? That's not due to a failure of the left to articulate their view. That's a success of the Right to silence or distort any voices that are critical of neoConservatism and neoLiberalism. I'm amazed that when people speak of the failures of feminism they neglect to note the power of patriarchy to distort what feminists do and believe. As if institutionalised oppressive power-brokers just sit back and let their critics go on without rebuttal. Not anywhere I know of. From the 1970s forward, pornographers have used their magazines to attack feminists and feminism. Feminists haven't had publications generating billions in which to respond. So whose speech do you think has more impact on society? Might this explain why Hugh Hefner can be reported in dominant mainstream media to be a civil rights activist and feminists like Gail Dines are perceived as domineering oppressors?

  • denhickey 6 hours ago
    Well, the question is... where is the evidence that all these problems are actually happening?


    Take a read of this article, look at what prosecutions argument was..and see if it doesn't bear a startling resemblance to the "research" and "journalism" (yep, the quotes are there for a reason) presented in this article.

    Some of the arguments are those made by Dr. Dines to a tee..the exact same arguments made for years about cultural products other than porn too, I might add.

    Here's another:

    Now, notice the similarity..not even similarity, but almost identical structure of the arguments against porn to Dr. Dines piece, and coincidentally.also in her piece there is a total lack of actual empirical data on "what porn does", just her opinions labeled as research.

  • hekate_darkness 3 hours ago
    Americans are finally getting that capitalism is about bullying? And it took something as extreme as gonzo porn to get that across? Talk about thick skulls! I think I'd better make use of my Canadian citizenship and hurry on up there. Hey America, have fun gorging yourselves on your preferred diet of toxic corporate swill ;) And you are swallowing it whole - pun intended.

  • murpcam 1 hour ago
    "Pornland" delivers a hard hitting radical-feminist analysis of pornography (pornography as industry, institution, and ideology). One of the first criticisms I hear of the book is that Dines fails to take the experiences of women into account, a sure indication that the critic has not actually read the book itself. The work is impressive in its success of bringing together the entire gamut of radical analyses: pornography as an industry caught up within the tortuous workings of global-industrial capitalism; pornography as ideological sexist apparatus; pornography as the documentation and commercialization of poor women's suffering (and in obviation of the usual complaint to this point, learning of a scant minority population of upper-class female actors in the industry does not wash its hands of oppressed base). Set aside the usual liberal dogma and dip into what it means to be a radical.

    JENNIFER DREW said...

    Gail Dines is absolutely correct feminism has been depoliticised and apparently feminism is all about a woman's choice. Apparently all women are free to make informed choices and if as often happens these 'choices' are not as 'free' as is claimed - why then the individual woman is at fault - never our white male supremacist society.

    It's a case of 'if I'm fine as a woman then all women must be "fine" and doing well.' Well feminism is not about individual choice it is a political idea, namely that women as a group are oppressed by male domination and male control. We do not live on individual islands wherein we are not subjected to socio-economic constraints which are always male-centric.

    Ah those old, old claims - that Gail Dines is not an 'expert' etc. because she has not interviewed every woman living on this planet.

    What I find most interesting is the virulence those predominantly male commentators engaged in. They believe any criticism by real feminists - those who oppose porn because it promotes the lie that women are not human, are somehow curbing their pseudo right to watch images of men systematically sexually torturing women and girls.

    What it tells me is that male domination is never 100% total over women because there will always be one woman or more who will not be silenced by these misogynists.

    However it is very depressing reading the outright male hatred and male contempt for women contained in those commentators responses. Certainly some of the commentators are women but they too are imitating the male hatred and refusal to accept that porn is never 'fantasy' but always filmed prostitution.

    There are no imaginary penises being forced into women's bodies - but there certainly is immense male sexual violence being inflicted on women and girls in these images, just so that innumerable males can reinforce their pseudo belief they are superior and women are what?? Dehumanised sexual service stations and nothing else.

    Has our male supremacist society become more civilised - read Gail Dines' book or take a look at some of the mainstream porn and you will see our male supremacist society is not remotely civilised. It is just as women-hating as it has always been and that is what feminists are challenging - male hatred and male contempt for women. Dehumanise a group (women) and this makes it so much easier for sadistic (male) cruelty to be carried out because 'no humans were harmed!'

    Julian Real said...

    Yes, Jennifer!

    The contempt expressed directly to Gail for her interview--an excellent one, I thought, on a progressive site like AlterNet is especially grievous, not that I expect anything different.

    But at least AlterNet has enough of a feminist presence to take a stand against pornography as an industry of racist/misogynist social-political harm to and sexual violence against women--much to the dismay of all the male supremacists on AlterNet.

    Patti said...

    My comment is too long for one posting, so here is Part One...

    I see one of the commenters on that article trots out the old chestnut of "Porn is about fantasy". And yet another says, "...this ("this" being the prevalence of rape and misogyny in the porn world and in the world in general) fails to bring a nuanced view to the problem, paints the industry with too broad a brush, and makes altogether too many assumptions about sexual development,the sexual preferences of both women and men,..."

    Actually, it's porn itself that makes altogether too many assumptions....or, rather, it makes specific demands..... about sexual development and the sexual preferences of both women and men.
    Although I won't deny that porn is about fantasy, what porn is actually doing is telling (mostly) men what their sexual fantasies SHOULD BE! And because, according to porn-scripted fantasy, ALL women LOVE EVERYTHING that a man could either do to them or have them do to him, there is no room for her to have any sexual preference other than doing what it is that he wants her to do or wants to do TO her. And then somewhere along the way....possibly because sex, one way or another (i.e., having it, wishing you were having it, not having it, wishing you were not having it, etc.) is such an integral part of most everyone's life..... the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. And when he (generic male viewer) has been fully hijacked and decides to "bring it on home", there is no line of "open communication" for her (his partner), no matter what that one poster (Uriah) seems to think. He (back to the generic male viewer) KNOWS what she wants and what she needs, because porn has told him so! How could sooooooooooooo many women possibly be wrong about what it is that she wants and needs!! HE's the man.......HE's the sexual maestro!
    And he'll blame her, cold fish that she's become, when their relationship becomes increasingly devoid of enthusiastic sex or of sex altogether. But it's he that will not listen (at best) or become outraged or even abusive (at worst) when she tries to tell him that his newly acquired "preferences" aren't hers or that his newly acquired "techniques" aren't bringing about the desired outcome.
    I think that this wanting to bring porn techniques into the boudoir combined with the refusal to hear or believe that those techniques aren't pleasing to one's partner is quite high on the list of why women resent the existence and usage of porn.

    Nor will men listen when women try to explain to them why it is that women tend to not critique or steer their male intimate partner in the right direction as far as pleasing them is concerned when it is apparent that their porn moves just aren't doing the trick. No, they'd rather continue criticizing the woman who had a less-than-pleasing episode with a partner.
    Having read a few more articles and comments at alternet, after having read this particular article posted here at this blog, I followed a link within a comment to read this:
    How not to make love like a porn star
    'subtitle: Hey, guys: Are adult films making you bad at sex?'

    Patti said...

    Part Two....

    In the 35 pages of comments, one commenter, Svutlov, kept insisting that the author of the article take on some of the blame, rather than blaming porn, for the bad sex that she had with the unnamed subject of her article, even after another commenter, Anonymous_Too, stated that, "Those extolling the virtues of communication in such situations clearly haven't attempted it. The reaction can run the gamut between enthusiastic participation to violent outrage, and if there's any whiff that a guy is the outrage type, it's best to just deal with the bad sex, which isn't going to kill you, and run far and fast at the first opportunity", and a couple of other commenters related stories of what had happened either to them or to someone they knew when they told their male partner that something wasn't quite as pleasing as he thought it might or should be. Anonymous_Too finally spelled it out for Svutlov, on page 33, after he commented, "Women, if you want the sexual norms and discussions to turn in your favor, then you need to talk more about the good sex that you are having. Don't let men control the norms and discussions about what is pleasant sexually, Take Control!" (yes, clearly he is not living in reality). She replied:
    "You are currently demonstrating why trying to communicate on these issues with one's partner is often
    a waste of time. Examples:

    Not listening to what people tell you about their own experiences of these situations:
    [here she includes a couple of quotations from Svutlov]
    All this does is demonstrate that you're not paying attention to what women are telling you about what their attempts at communication got them. Not always, but often enough to make them leery of trying it again. [further examples of quotes] We keep trying to tell you that bad things happen when we try. You keep ignoring that, and blaming the situation on us for not doing what we already know works inconsistently and can backfire unpleasantly when it doesn't work."

    Julian Real said...

    Hi Patti,

    This phenomenon of men not listening and then telling women they need to speak up, or say it differently, or say something else, or not speak at all, is really annoying and infuriating.

    Over to Hugo Schwyzer's blog, he posted something referencing me, and I've been responding to him, noting the sexism in the discussion as it has unfolded thus far. I have not been alone, and in fact have been following the lead of a woman who has rather clearly and directly noted what is male privileged about his responses or non-responses.

    She left when his reply to her was "I've got a lot on my plate right now, due to having a wife and a child, teaching five classes, volunteering, and [so on]. Yet he has time to write new posts and new comments. Now some anti-feminist guy named Id is claiming that I'm calling Hugo out too much and to cut the guy some slack. I think he even uses the term "Geesh". He's exasperated that I'm systematically calling out the misogyny over there. HE'S exasperated. Meanwhile at least one feminist woman was driven away out of exasperation.

    It becomes readily apparent whose feelings most matter when men take control of conversations. The answer is "not women's".

    I'm basically waiting for Hugo to respond, and have spelled out carefully what the sexist non-responses look like, so he might avoid using them.

    It just seems like so many men want to pretend to be masters of logic but will readily make exceptions for anything at all that they do or say that a woman experiences as sexist, misogynistic, male supremacist, dominating, or hurtful. Suddenly all their logic-talk about ethical behavior and fairness and humanistic values scurries away and we are left with rather bumbling unethical guys who just roam around doing more of all that pro-patriarchal stuff.

    One could conclude, without stretching the imagination hardly at all, that most men just don't really care enough about women's humanity or feelings or thoughts to "get it" about when to listen more and when to speak less. And there really don't seem to be whole groups of men out there that choose to be accountable precisely when they are challenged on these matters; they want to be accountable when they feel like it, if they want to be accountable at all. Male privileges all over the place. Watch where you step.

    Patti said...

    "This phenomenon of men not listening and then telling women they need to speak up, or say it differently, or say something else, or not speak at all, is really annoying and infuriating."
    I know, and as I was writing out that long post, I kept thinking to myself, "Posting all this at Julian's site is kinda like 'preaching to the choir' ", and I almost didn't post it. Unfortunately, commenting is now closed on that site for which I posted the link, or else I probably would have registered and let loose there. Sure, men would love for women to speak long as they're parroting what he is thinking or saying. And if she doesn't necessarily agree with him, well, she'd better couch it in terms that don't emasculate him (now THERE'S a term that I'm rapidly starting to loathe), while he remains free to dehumanize her, starting with not listening to her because she has nothing of any value to say if it conflicts with the preconceived notions that he brings to the table. Or, like the gentleman that you referenced, Hugo Schwyzer, blows her off because all of his manly responsibilities [and here, let me list them all out for you] don't afford him the time to respond to her, yet he seems to have plenty of time to spare to pontificate on other matters.....I guess her concerns aren't his and don't affect him, so why bother to continue to respond to them.

    "It becomes readily apparent whose feelings most matter when men take control of conversations. The answer is "not women's"."
    OMG, you've reminded me of this one woman's blog (she is a Christian who is coming to terms with the decline of her marriage to a pastor/preacher and seeking to understand what scripture is really saying, specifically in regards to male/female relationships and family) where a man (PT) entered and tried to take control of the conversation, chastising her (and the other women posting their comments there) for being disobedient and trying to usurp rather than respect a husband's God-given authority over the wife (the entire household, actually). If you have some time on your hands, have a look at these two blog postings, and especially at the commenter named Jane who just rips right into him (she starts in on him about 1/2 way down the page in the first link)....I think that you might find interesting (perhaps even amusing, in a dark kind of way) what she says to him.
    wives … enjoined to live in ‘fear’ of (the wrath of) their husbands

    I confess: I usurped his God ordained position in the marriage!

    "One could conclude, without stretching the imagination hardly at all, that most men just don't really care enough about women's humanity or feelings or thoughts to "get it" about when to listen more and when to speak less."
    I don't have to stretch my imagination at all to conclude that most men just don't really care about women's humanity, period. How many times throughout history and even today do you hear/see men speak about what to do about "The Woman Problem", you know, the fact that men are forced to have to share the earth with these creatures.

    "they want to be accountable when they feel like it, if they want to be accountable at all."
    Oh they want to be accountable, alright....when they're being hailed as heroes.

    But I see that I have once again digressed from the actual blog topic... sorry about that. I guess that I have seen/heard/read so many ways that a lot of men dehumanize women that it's difficult for me to confine my thoughts to just one area.

    Julian Real said...

    No worries about digression, Patti.

    It all fits together in one rather ugly portrait of patriarchal atrocities.

    Here's an excellent piece related to some of this. I've asked the author for permission to cross post it, but for now, here's the link.

    Words are Not Fists: On Male Strategies to Diffuse Feminist Anger", by Hugo Schwyzer, from his blog

    Julian Real said...

    And thanks for those links, Patti!

    Patti said...

    You're welcome for the links and for the "okay" to digress at times, as that's just it, there are so many facets of patriarchal abuse that are intricately woven together that it's difficult sometimes to take just one facet and adhere strictly to it. I do hope that someday you get a chance to look over the content at those links, and especially at Jane's comments, as I think that what she says in many ways (other than some of her core beliefs as a Christian, which you and/or many others may not necessarily agree with totally, but she doesn't twist those beliefs to browbeat others into subhuman/subordinate status) mirrors some of the things that you have said.

    And thank YOU for that link, and I'm glad to see that you received the "green light" to cross-post it on your blog here! I have bookmarked his site and will probably look at some of the other articles he has written (and the subsequent comments) as time permits. LOL! That's probably why my posts here are few and far between at times, because I check out your provided links and then check out other links that appear within those articles, and so forth and so on. It makes my heart glad to see that there are indeed many men out there who don't adhere to the patriarchal party line!!

    Julian Real said...

    Hi Patti,

    I will check out Jane's comments and her being Christian isn't an issue for me unless she's a missionary about it. Some of my best friends are Christian! ;)

    And I know what you mean about getting into clicking on other links and their links and their links. Been there, done that, will do that again.

    Patti said...

    LOL!! Just as some of my best friends are Jewish...and some are even Roman Catholic (one of the Christian religions that I absolutely abhor).
    I don't think that she's missionary about it, but she is speaking on a Christian blog, so she does state some core beliefs matter-of-factly is all.
    I recall reading in one of your articles here (or in the comment section for it) that the man Jesus is one of your heroes. I truly wish that many/most so-called Christians felt the same way, rather than expound on how Jesus is Lord and then act completely contrary to what he taught and how he carried himself in the world (i.e., without ego)

    Now, off to get lost in a world of links, I go!! :-)