I took a break from job hunting this afternoon to peruse the news sites and stumbled upon a quote from Dr. Gail Dines, a self-proclaimed radical feminist scholar who researches how the corporate (mainstream) pornography industry affects society at large. The quote intrigued me and I did some research of my own which led me to Dr. Dines new documentary Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.
I was curious to uncover Dr. Dines stance on pornography, which is a rather divisive topic among feminists. In my limited study I have found that feminists tend towards one of two extremes: all porn good or all porn evil, and every little room for moderate thinkers.
Dr. Dines does not clearly position herself in either the documentary or the TED talk that proceeded it. But she does specifically target the mainstream porn industry in her film and this is what makes Pornland a helpful tool in educating the public about pornography. Dr. Dines analyzes the live action pornography produced by corporate pornographers (the guys with lots of cash and access to lobbyists, marketing teams, and other expensive business tools) that always appears at the top of the list of any internet search for pornography.
Before watching Pornland, I always assumed that researchers were lumping any kind of hardcore sex media into the same category (which I now realize is a terribly unfortunate and embarrassing assumption). Now I know that I need to pay closer attention to each scholar/researcher’s choice of porn titles when determining their stance on depictions of the sex act in media (and also for analyzing how/if/why watching sex on film affects our perceptions).
While Pornland did not expressly answer my question: Is Dr. Dines rabidly anti-porn or just concerned about select types of pornography, it did make me feel much more concerned about the state of the pornography industry today and the long-term detriment this will have on women and men alike. I admit, part of this feeling stems from the mildly manipulative music and tone of the documentary, but Dr. Dines ultimately relies on solid rhetoric and research to make her point.
Check back later for an update on Dr. Dines position on pornography -all good or all bad- after I complete my research on her website and publications.