Pornography The Production and Consumption of Inequality
First published in 1998. No other issue has divided the feminist movement in the past two decades quite like pornography. By providing the first book to engage in an empirical investigation of the pornography industry itself, the authors--each grounded in the radical feminist anti-pornography movement--move beyond the rhetorical bomb-tossing of an often polarized debate.
The authors engage in a systematic examination of the politics, production, content, and consumption of contemporary mass-market heterosexual pornography, thereby contributing to a fuller understanding of pornography's role in the cultural construction of gender, racial and sexual identities, and relations. They begin with an overview of the social and political history of the feminist anti-pornography movement and the debate over pornography within feminism. Then they address the various rhetorical dodges--definitional, legal, and causal--used to distort the fact that institutionalized pornography helps maintain the sexual and social oppression of women within a patriarchal system.
Exploring the beginnings of the commercial pornography industry, the book focuses in part on the history of Playboy magazine. It also analyzes the content of contemporary mass-market videos. Dines, Jensen, and Russo argue that the sexual ideology of patriarchy eroticizes domination and submission, with pornography playing a significant role in how these values are mediated and normalized in American society. They discuss the effects of pornography on the lives of those who use it and those against whom it is used. In so doing, the authors hope to contribute to creating a world in which sex is not a site of oppression but of liberation.
"Finally a sophisticated analysis that sorts out the sclerotic from the erotic, the selling from the telling, and pseudo-liberal from the liberating. Recommended for scholars, students, and advocates of gender equity." -- George Gerbner, University of Pennsylvania
"Crisply written yet authoritative, Pornography opens a window onto a seamy world. The chapters on the pornography industry are worth the price of admission alone. Essential reading for everyone interested in how our society commodifies sex." -- Richard Delgado, University of Colorado, Boulder
"Read this book for its incisive analysis of the pornography industry and its honest examination of the male users." -- Janice G. Raymond, University of Massachusetts, Amherst