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.
Seven contributions offer analysis of contemporary, mass-marketed, heterosexual pornography. The authors operate on the assumption that an understanding of the phenomenon requires a consideration of three key elements: production, text, and consumption, each of which should be examined in a social, economic, and political context. Topics include the social and political history of the anti-pornography movement, narratives as a means of examining the effects of pornography use, and subordinating practices in pornographic films. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.