Dr. Gail Dines is a widely published author and scholar. Her book “Gender, Race and Class in Media” is one of Sage Publications’ top-selling books. She has published articles in a wide variety of media, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Conversation, CounterPunch, and many others. She has also been cited in numerous articles and books.
- Gender, Race and Class in Media (co-edited with Jean McMahon Humez, Bill Yousman, and Lori Bindig Yousman). 5th Edition Calif.: Sage Publications. 2017.
- PornLand: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality Boston: Beacon Press. 2010.
- Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality (co-authored with Robert Jensen and Ann Russo). New York: Routledge. 1998.
SELECTED ARTICLES BY AND ABOUT DR. GAIL DINES
- The fatal, hateful rise of choking during sex The Guardian, July 25, 2019
- The birds and the bees — and porn — in the Internet age NPR’s “On Point,” June 17, 2019
- What kids aren’t telling parents about porn on social media Boston Globe Magazine, Jan. 29, 2019
- Child pornography may make a comeback after court ruling guts regulations protecting minors By Gail Dines with David L. Levy. The Conversation, Aug. 23, 2018.
- Choking women is all the rage. It’s branded as fun, sexy ‘breath play’ The Guardian. May 13, 2018.
- Parents should talk to their tweens about the risks of porn Salon.com, Feb. 22, 2018.
- Parents need to start talking to their tweens about the risks of porn The Conversation, Feb. 20, 2018.
- The Handmaid’s Tale offers a terrifying warning, but the hijacking of feminism is just as dangerous Feminist Current, May 1, 2017.
- Is porn immoral? That doesn’t matter: It’s a public health crisis Washington Post. April 8, 2016.
- Why Your Father’s Playboy Can’t Compete in Today’s World of Hard-Core Porn The Conversation, Oct. 22, 2015.
- Book Review of Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution by Rachel Moran. Truthdig, Sept. 18, 2015.
- Telling Women they Should Enjoy Hookups isn’t Liberating Verilymag.com, Aug 19, 2015.
- Don’t Let Fifty Shades of Grey Ruin Your Valentine’s Weekend Verilymag.com, Feb. 11, 2015.
- Ghomeshi played the role of a feminist ally, but in private he was fully enmeshed in porn culture. Feminist Current, Nov. 7, 2014.
- Nicki Minaj: Little More Than a Big Butt? Huffington Post (UK), July 28, 2014.
- Fifty Shades of Grey’ Trailer: First Prize for False Advertising Huffington Post (UK), July 25, 2014.
- UCSB, Feminism and Porn Huffington Post (UK), June 2, 2014.
- The Porn Industry and the Tea Party Playbook CounterPunch, March 10, 2014.
- Don’t be fooled by Fifty Shades of Grey- Christian Grey is no Heartthrob The Guardian. Oct. 25, 2013.
- The HIV Crisis in the Porn Industry CounterPunch, Sept. 27-29, 2013.
- You know you have lived here too long when... CounterPunch, Feb. 15, 2013.
- LA County’s Measure B is a major win for safe sex in adult entertainment The Guardian, Nov. 12, 2012.
- Vagina Gazing at the New York Times CounterPunch, Sept. 21, 2012.
- Porn, syphilis, and the politics of the money shot The Guardian, Aug. 28, 2012.
- Cosmopolitan and the False Promise of an ‘Awesome Life’ The Guardian, Aug. 7, 2012.
- Why are Women Devouring Fifty Shades of Grey CounterPunch, July 27, 2012.
- When a Feminist Gets Bumped for a Pornographer CounterPunch, July 10, 2012.
- ‘Having it all’ looks very different for women stuck in low-paid jobs The Guardian, June 25, 2012.
- Porn is in rude health The Guardian, June 7, 2012.
- A Feminist Response to Weitzer Violence Against Women, Vol. 18 (4): 512-520, April 2012.
- The Help at Downton Abbey CounterPunch, Jan. 13, 2012.
- Moral panic? No. We are resisting the pornification of women The Guardian, Dec. 1, 2011.
- DSK and the Meaning of Consent CounterPunch, July 12, 2011.
- Hugh Hefner Falls for Matrimony The Guardian, June 12, 2011.
- SlutWalk is not sexual liberation The Guardian, May 8, 2011.
- Porn: A multibillion-dollar industry that renders all authentic desire plastic The Guardian, January 4, 2011.
- Should We Worry Whether Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality? Uprising Radio, Sept. 11, 2010.
- How porn is warping a generation of men New York Post, July 11, 2010.
- The truth about the porn industry By Julie Bindel. The Guardian. July 2, 2010.
- 3-D Nude Centerfolds? Playboy Tries to Survive in World Filled With Hard-Core Gonzo Porn CounterPunch, May 19, 2010.
- Living in a Porn Culture New Left Project, April 15, 2010.
- The Ideal Partner? CounterPunch, Jan. 20, 2010.
- Yale Sex Week Hartford Courant, Feb. 11, 2008.
- The Anti-Feminist Politics Behind the Pornography that “Empowers” Women (with Robert Jensen). ZNet and Atlantic Free Press, Feb. 2, 2008.
- Feminist Debates on Pornography (with Robert Jensen). In Wolfgang Donsbach, ed., International Encyclopedia of Communication, Vol. 8 (Oxford, UK and Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell), pp. 3807-3811, 2008.
- The White Man’s Burden: Gonzo Pornography and the Construction of Black Masculinity Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, V. 14 Spring, 2006.
Visible or Invisible: Growing up Female in a Porn Culture
(From Pornland, Chapter 6)
At a lecture I was giving in a large West Coast university…the female students talked extensively about how much they preferred to have a completely waxed pubic area as it made them feel “clean,” “hot” and “well groomed.” As they excitedly insisted that they themselves chose to have a Brazilian wax, one student let slip that her boyfriend had complained when she decided to give up on waxing. Then there was silence. I asked the student to say more about her boyfriend’s preferences and how she felt about his criticism. As she started to speak other students joined in, only now the conversation took a very different turn. The excitement in the room gave way to a subdued discussion on how some boyfriends had even refused to have sex with non-waxed girlfriends as they “looked gross.” One student told the group how her boyfriend bought her a waxing kit for Valentine’s Day, while yet another sent out an email to his friends joking about his girlfriend’s “hairy beaver.” No, she did not break up with him, she got waxed instead.
Two weeks after the waxing discussion, I was at an East Coast Ivy League school where some female students became increasingly angry. They accused me of denying them free choice in their embrace of our hypersexualized porn culture. As the next generation’s elite women, this idea was especially repugnant because they saw no limits or constraints on them as women. Literally two minutes later, one of the students made a joke about the “trick” that many of them employ as a way to avoid hookup sex. What is this trick? These women purposely don’t shave or wax as they are getting ready to go out that night, so they will feel too embarrassed to participate in hookup sex. As she spoke, I watched as others nodded their heads in agreement. When I asked why they couldn’t just say no to sex, they informed me that once you have a few drinks in you, and are at a party or a bar, it is too hard to say no. I was speechless, not least because they had just been arguing that I had denied them agency in my discussion of porn culture, and yet they saw no contradiction in telling me that they didn’t have the agency to say no to sex. The next day I flew to Utah to give a lecture in a small college, which although not a religious college, had a good percentage of Mormons and Catholics. I told them about the lecture the previous night and asked them if they knew what the trick was. It turns out that trick is everywhere, including Utah.
I tell this story because, on many levels, it neatly captures how the porn culture is affecting young women’s lives. The reality is that women don’t need to look at porn to be profoundly affected by it because images, representations, and messages of porn are now delivered to women via pop culture. Women today are still not major consumers of hard-core porn; they are, however, whether they know or it or not, internalizing porn ideology, an ideology that often masquerades as advice on how to be hot, rebellious, and cool in order to attract and keep a man. An excellent example is genital waxing, which first became popular in porn (not least because it makes the women look pre-pubescent) and then filtered down into women’s media such as Cosmopolitan, a magazine that regularly features stories and tips on what “grooming” methods women should adopt to attract a man. Sex and the City, that hugely successful show with an almost cult following, also used waxing as a storyline. For instance, in the movie, Miranda is chastised by Samantha for “letting herself go” by having pubic hair.
… People not immersed in pop culture tend to assume that what we see today is just more of the same stuff that previous generations grew up on. After all, every generation has had its hot and sultry stars who led expensive and wild lives compared to the rest of us. But what is different about today is not only the hypersexualization of the image, but also the degree to which such images have overwhelmed and crowded out any alternative images of being female. Today’s tidal wave of soft-core porn images has normalized the porn star look in everyday culture to such a degree that anything less looks dowdy, prim and downright boring. Today a girl or young woman looking for an alternative to the Britney, Paris, Lindsay look will soon come to the grim realization that the only alternative to looking fuckable is to be invisible.