Teaching Resource on Feminism and Pornography

Those who teach Feminist Legal Theory or other classes in which pornography is a subject of academic discussion might be interested in this recording of an interview by Professor Gail Dines (Wheelock College) with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  Professor Dines is the author Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality. Here is the CBC’s description of the program:

It’s a big business with billions of dollars in revenue, millions of customers, trade fairs, corporate lobbyists and all the usual gang of hangers-on: bankers, lawyers, and investors.

The guys who run it worry about rates of return, market share, product differentiation, and technological innovation. As an industry it brings in more revenue than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Ebay, Yahoo, Apple and Netflix combined. And yet, we collectively spend a lot of time and energy denying that it really exists, that it is much of a problem and dismissing critics with ad hominem labelling and disdain.

We are talking about pornography.

At the beginnings of the 1950s, porn was something boys indulged in behind the barn and creeps enjoyed in dingy little movie theatres. 60 years later, porn is everywhere.

There are 420 million internet porn pages, 4.2 million porn web sites and 68 million search engine requests for porn daily. And the language, imagery and ethos of porn have become the stuff of movies, music, books and advertisements. Our culture, our politics and our economy all have porn laced throughout.

All of this may sound alarmist, but if Gail Dines is correct, it should be alarming; if for no other reason than the effect porn has on how men and women, and especially young men and women have come to define who they are, how they relate and what relationships and intimacy really mean.

Dines goes further. Given that the average boy first sees porn at the age of 11, we are raising a generation of boys who are cruel, bored and desensitized.

The running time is approximately 40 minutes.  The interview (or parts of it) could be helpful for getting classroom conversation started.

H/T Martin Dufresne.

-Bridget Crawford

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