Article: Porn, not just a little harmless fun

Today in the Australian, an edited extract from Gail Dine's book Pornland: how porn has hijacked our sexuality. Gail provides an excellent summary of the impact of pornography and how porn culture has seeped into the mainstream. *Trigger warning* for survivors of sexual abuse.

Its defenders claim it provides an innocent trip to fantasy land but pornography is having a profound effect on society

OVER the years I have come to understand how and why my lectures to students on pornography stir up extreme emotions in men.

What I do in my presentations is take the very images that users have viewed privately and with pleasure, and I project them on to a screen in a public forum.

In the decidedly nonsexual arena of a US university auditorium, men are asked to think critically about what the images say about women, men and sexuality. Stripped of an erection, men are invited to examine their porn use in a reflective manner while thinking seriously about how images seep into their lives.

In one college, my questioning the real-world implications of such fantasy elicited neither interest nor curiosity but a kind of consuming rage that closed down the possibility of reflection, analysis and reason. The rage was directed at two places, both female -- either the women in the industry or me -- and it certainly conveyed to all women in the room what happens to those of us who don't follow the porn party line. Read more

More about Gail Dines from her website

Dr. Gail Dines is a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, an internationally acclaimed speaker and author, and a feminist activist. Her writing and lectures focus on the hypersexualization of the culture and the ways that porn images filter down into mainstream pop culture.

Gail’s work on media and pornography has appeared in academic journals, magazines such as Time and Newsweek, and newspapers across the country. She is a frequent guest on radio and television and is a recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights.

Gail is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture – an educational and activist group made up of academics, anti-violence experts, community organizers and anyone who is concerned about the increasing pornification of the culture.

Collective Shout co-founder Melinda Tankard Reist attended Gail's Stop Porn Culture conference earlier this year. This is what she had to say.

It was great to be with like-minded activists at the Stop Porn Cultures conference and to be strengthened by each other in our activism against this monolithic and destructive global industry. The conference was a take-no-prisoners confrontation with the realities of Global Porn Inc. There was much that was distressing, especially the rise of porn featuring the extreme torture, degradation and abuse of women, and the use of realistic animated children in pornography (protected as free speech in the US). We learnt about specific tactics internet porn companies use to get men hooked on porn and about how racism and racist stereotypes flourish in pornography. Gail's book was launched at the conference. I can't recommend it more highly to anyone who wants to know more about the true nature of the porn industry and its harmful impacts. It is a harrowing read, but a book that will hopefully propel people into action.

Pornland: how porn culture has hijacked our sexuality can be purchased here

Hear interviews with Gail Dines on Lateline here, on The World Today here, and on CBC radio here.

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