Gail Dines doesn't pull any punches in this piece for Counterpunch about Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the hotel maid who accused him of raping her:
I have a great idea for a movie. Here’s the pitch: A poor, slutty immigrant takes a job as a chambermaid so she can have great sex with the hotel guests. One day she hits the jackpot. She walks into a room only to be met by an irresistible stud old enough to be her father. Known in his home country as “The Seducer” he offers her a full view of his impressive manhood.
Overcome with lust, she falls to her knees and the two have great consensual sex. But being a woman and all, she is a lying, scheming whore and accuses the seducer of rape. The poor seducer becomes one more victim of “sex offender hysteria,” as one caller to National Public Radio named it, and now he must defend his good name.
From excerpts to interviews, blog posts to online forums… Here are just a few updates from this week.
Gail Dines, author of Pornland, appeared on CNN News and in the Boston Globe this week, discussing "gonzo" pornography's grip on the young minds of an entire generation. Dines was also mentioned in a recent article on the website Independent Woman which discussed how porn addiction can ruin a marriage.
Dylan Edwards, who is at work on a graphic book about genderqueers and FTM transsexuals, had his picture snapped at Comic-Con and is part of this great roundup of LGBT comics folks at the Prism Comics blog.
While many see July as a time for extra vacation days, our authors are hard at work promoting their books both across the country and here in Boston. With topics ranging from controversy over pornography to violence in our prison systems, here is a look at our authors' achievements this week:
In her new book, Pornland, Gail Dines analyzes how the lucrative pornography industry has-- through violence, racism, and sexism—destroyed how the public views sexuality. (The twoexcerpts available on Scribd have been very popular.) At the Huffington Post, Dines discusses the research process for such a controversial subject. The blog at Ms. Magazine has posted the firsttwo parts of a three part interview. At the Guardian, Dines's work sparked debate in the comments stream. Her interview at Pulse was picked up by Andrew Sullivan and moredebate ensued.
In Wealth and Our Commonwealth, Chuck Collins warns about the possibility of a permanent aristocracy in America. In an article for The Nation, Collins makes a connection to Teddy Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" speech and the dangers that accompany giving too much money and power to a select few.
California Lawyer praises Carlos Ball's From the Closet to the Courtroom, saying "[Ball] offers lawyers an enlightening shift of focus, enabling us to understand who 'makes law' in this country, and what motivates them to do so." The book examines five of the most groundbreaking cases that have shaped LGBT rights in the United States; in the Huffington Post, Ball looks at a recent victory.
In response to youth violence in the city of Boston, officials have created 400 jobs for at-risk teenagers according to Boston.com. Ninth graders in the program will receive a copy of Michael Patrick MacDonald's memoir All Souls, which recounts his childhood growing up Irish Catholic in the violence of South Boston.
As current events continue to shape world on a daily basis, our authors have become prominent voices in speaking for topics that that range from human rights to environmental conservation. Take a look at some of the attention our authors have been getting this past week:
In his book To Uphold the World,author Bruce Rich writes about the Indian emperor Ashoka and his principles of peace and non-violence. In a recent response to the BP oil spill, Rich has published a piece for the Washington Post's blog, Political Bookworm, questioning the possibility of a universal code of ethics.
Carlos Ball, author of From the Closet to the Courtroom, describes in detail five of the most influential court cases in the realm of LGBT rights. In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Ball describes how the election of President Obama was a turning point in LGBT rights; however, in retrospect, little has actually been accomplished.
Gail Dines, author of Pornland, is a prominent voice on how porn has become a sexist, racist, and violent industry. In an article for Mother Jones, Dines (in Washington D.C. with other anti-porn activists) is quoted for her position against porn when she says, "The days of women wearing a coy smile and not much else are long gone."
In keeping with the realm of the psychological, The Lonely American, by Jacqueline Olds MD and Richard S. Schwartz MD, looks at the overwhelming evidence that more Americans are living alone today, affecting not only their physical and mental health, but also the personal interactions within the society as a whole. In a wonderful review looking deeper into this research, the Greater Good, concludes: "turn off your computers, go knock on your neighbor's door, and don't take 'no' for an answer."
From science to sports, from nature to population studies, our authors cover a wide range of subject matter. But at the root of their discussions are the interweaving strands of human rights, racial and gender equality, and a shared interest in the betterment of society. Our authors have been receiving a great deal of attention this week. Here are a few highlights:
Fred Pearce has become a strong voice in the counteracting of overpopulation theories. In his book The Coming Population Crash, Pearce describes a "reproductive revolution," one in which women have been celebrating their rights and ultimately changing the face of the planet. An excerpt from the book can be found on Scientific American. This excerpt also includes two video links (found in the highlighted words "liberation" and "baby bust") on the impact of women's rights on birthrates. Pearce was also quoted in Seed Magazine for his more positive outlook on "defusing the population bomb."
In her book The Match, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Beth Whitehouse, documents a family as they struggles to keep their child alive through the help of a newborn sibling. In an hour-long interview for Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning program, Whitehouse discusses the ethics behind "savior siblings" with Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Center for Bioethics and professor in the department of medicine at the University of Minnesota.
For fans of soccer and the World Cup, The Boys from Little Mexico, by Steve Wilson, documents the struggles and successes of an all-boys' Hispanic soccer team as they lead the way to victory at the Oregon state championship. Wilson's book received a nice write-up from a pretty move, a popular soccer blog that is scheduled to post an interview with Wilson post-cup. Enter to win one of the twenty-five copies of Wilson's book through the Good Reads Giveaway.
With Red Sox season in full-swing, Howard Bryant chronicles the history of racial integration of this historic baseball team in his book, Shut Out. Bryant will be joining a panel discussion on June 22 at the Loeb Drama Center (64 Brattle Street, Cambridge) following the performance of Johnny Baseball, a new musical about the iconic Boston Red Sox. For tickets to the event, visit the American Repertory Theatre. Bryant's new book, The Last Hero, documents the life of African-American baseball legend, Henry Aaron. Having just been released, it is a must read for all baseball fans.
In Write These Laws on Your Children, author Robert Kunzman looks into the economic, social, religious, and personal reasons behind the growing trend of homeschooling. In a recent essay for Religion Dispatches, Kunzman further examines Generation Joshua, the civic education program for homeschoolers that combines social interaction with political engagement.
Looking at a different spectrum of children's interactions with the law, I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine documents how juveniles are actively being placed into adult prisons. Author David Chura has devoted his life to the education of at-risk teenagers, particularly during his time teaching at a New York county penitentiary. Chura's book was spotlighted on the blog Juvenile Prison Watch this week. Democrat Unity recently posted an article by Chura on the harsh reality behind solitary confinement. In his second radio interview for WHMP's Bill Dwight Show, Chura discusses this article along with the recent decision by the Supreme Court to ban life sentences for juveniles who have not committed murder.
Since the advent of the Internet, the world of pornography drastically changed for the worse. Gail Dines, author of Pornland, describes this evolution as one that actively accepts violence, racism, and sexism. Dines was recently quoted in the Daily Beast for her views on the mainstreaming of violence against women in these videos. Dines was also quoted inThe Boston Herald for her interpretation of porn, an opposing voice as pro-pornography feminists protested at a conference at Wheelock College here in Boston.
Chuck Collins, economic inequality expert and coauthor ofWealth and Our Commonwealth, describes how society's investment into healthcare, education, and economic development promotes individual success. In a recent article on the estate tax, Collins is quoted in The New York Timesfor his opinions on the changing face of the middle class and the creation of a "generation of dilettantes."
In a special announcement, a reading of Flashback, by Penny Coleman, will take place on Friday, June 25, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 26, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at The Clockwork Theatre in New York City. A part of their 2010 Reading Series, Flashback is a look into the history of posttraumatic stress disorder in soldiers returning home from war proving that their battles are hardly over. To reserve your seat, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From economic inequality to economic giants, Stacy Mitchell's book, Big-Box Swindle, examines the negative contributions that large retailers inflict upon the American economy and environment; she also addresses the positive future in store for us all should the economy lean in favor of smaller, independent businesses. In a recent article for The New York Times, Mitchell was quoted for her concerns for independent companies and their direct competition with these corporate giants.
This week, our authors' words have been quoted, posted, and commented on throughout the online community on a wide range of urgent topics. They're going viral and we invite you to continue the conversation. Here are a few highlights:
Mark Hyman's book, Until It Hurts, is a central topic for Jane Brody's recent article in the New York Times. Documenting the history and facts of overworked young athletes, Brody's piece delves into the Phelps family and other fascinating examples of the
abuses of our obsession with youth sports.
From its highly lucrative revenue to its inherent racial biases, the adult film industry continues to thrive and affect many. Marie Claire addresses five shocking facts from Gail Dines's book, Pornland, set to release this July.
In an interview with WBUR, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner is described as "push[ing] for better science, better evidence and convictions that she can have more faith in." Gertner's new book, In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate, is due spring 2011.
In an article on Grist correlating falling birthrates to sexism, Fred Pearce author of The Coming Population Crash, is quoted for his research on the conservative ideals of Italy and the Vatican versus the flexibility of Swedish gender roles.
Finally, we close honoring a writer whose teachings still inspire conversation today. In a 1972 lecture titled "Why to Believe in Others" (recently posted on Ted.com), Viktor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning, expresses the psychiatry behind reaching human potential through his use of insight and humor. Frankl states with zeal: "If we take man as he is, we make him worse; but if we take man as he should be, we make him capable of becoming what he can be!"
Today's post is from Gail Dines, author of the forthcoming book Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality. Dines has written and lectured on the porn industry for over two decades. She is professor of sociology and women's studies at Wheelock College.
For all those women who think men are interested only in sex and not conversation or intimacy, think again. A New Jersey based company, ironically called True Companion, has come out with what it calls the "the world's first sex robot". This is, according to news reports, a life-size rubber doll that has all the "necessary" orifices. Why the big news? After all, this is not the first time that the porn industry has come out with a sex doll. The company Real Doll has been around since 1996 and offers "an extensive list of options, including 10 female body types and 16 interchangeable female faces." Offering to customize the doll to the desires of the particular consumer – color and shape of pubic hair, fingernail colors, hairstyle, ethnic features etc., -- the company boasts that "If you've ever dreamed of creating your ideal partner, then you have come to the right place."
True Companion is trying to build a business on the deep insight that some men want more from their ideal partner than silent beauty. For about $8,000 True Companion offers a doll that actually talks in response to various stimuli, generating nuanced and complex sentences such as "I love holding hands with you." Douglas Hines, the owner of True Companion, wants the customer to be able to "talk and relate to" the doll because he has come to the great realization that "Sex only goes so far -- then you want to be able to talk to the person." At last, men have discovered that for most women -- and perhaps a few dolls -- conversation matters! Well, it's a start.
As ridiculous as this robot may seem to many of us, it actually makes perfect sense in a society saturated by porn, where the average age boys first view porn is 11 years. Boys and men are socialized by porn to see sex as lacking in connection, intimacy and emotion. Sex in porn is all about penetration; as chrisfjohn, commenting on the robot on the Huffington Post, said, "the great part about porn is that you don't have to deal with all of the emotions and drama of a relationship." For chrisfJohn the robot is a bit too emotionally connected -- he doesn't want to "have to listen to it talk." For Don E Chute, on the other hand, the price is a bit steep because, he calculates, for that amount he could buy "roughly, 80, $100 hookers." To be fair, many of the comments do see the problem with the robot-as-partner idea, but the misogyny still drips from their posts, as in the case of AZ85283, when he asks "Mothers, what the hell are you raising?"
Of course, it's not the mothers but the pornographic culture that is raising men who are increasingly seeing women as interchangeable with sex dolls. If a doll with three orifices can stand in for a woman, then it doesn't bode well for women who want to be seen as equal to men and deserving of full human rights. To see just how gender specific this is, can you imagine women shelling out thousands of dollars for a male doll, no matter what size his manhood, even if it did say, "can I make dinner for you"?