Gail Dines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gail Dines
Gail Dines.jpg
Dines speaking in Westmount, Quebec, in October 2013.
Born (1958-07-29) 29 July 1958 (age 57)
Manchester, England
Institutions Wheelock College
Alma mater Salford University, UK
Thesis Towards a sociology of cartoons: a framework for sociological investigation with special reference to "Playboy" sex cartoons (1990)
Main interests
Anti-pornography campaigner
Notable awards
Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America
Married, with a son, to David Levy (m. 1980).

Gail Dines is an English–American feminist anti-pornography activist, author, professor and lecturer. An academic,[1] she has also been described as "The world's leading anti-pornography campaigner".[1]


Dines was born on 29 July 1958,[2] in Manchester, England[1] and studied for a B.Sc degree at Salford University, and then a Ph.D in Sociology at the same institution.[3] Her Ph.D thesis was titled, Towards a Sociology of Cartoons: A Framework for Sociological Investigation with Special Reference to "Playboy" Sex Cartoons.[4]

She moved to Israel in 1980 at the age of 22, where she married and became a feminist, and then moved to the United States in 1986.[1] Since 1986, she has been at Wheelock College in Boston, where she is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies[5] and Chair of the American Studies Department.[6]


Dines is the author of three books including Pornland, published in 2010. Her articles have appeared in the New Left Project, Violence Against Women, CounterPunch, and the International Encyclopedia of Communication,[7] and also in popular general-interest publications including Newsweek, Time, Working Woman, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Huffington Post, and the Daily Mail.[5] Dines is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture[5] and co-founder of the National Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement.[6] She has given lectures and participated in formal debates regarding pornography's effect on society at universities.[citation needed]

In 2011, Dines was invited alongside fellow anti-pornography activist Shelley Lubben to debate against Anna Span at the University of Cambridge when it proposed the motion "This house believes that pornography does a good public service."[8][9] Dines did not sway the house, which decided 231 in favour to 187 against with 197 abstentions.[10][11] Dines said her opponents won because the chamber consisted mostly of "18-22 year old males who are using pornography on a regular basis."[12]

Advocacy and views[edit]

Dines's view is that pornography distorts the user's view of sexuality[13] and makes more difficult the establishment of real-life intimate relationships with women.[1] Dines maintains that modern pornography is cruel and violent[1] unlike earlier forms of pornography with which the general public may be familiar,[13] and has the effect of tending to generally degrade the position of women in society.[1] She also advances the position that the prevalence of hardcore pornography is a contributing factor in increasing "demand" for sex trafficking.[14]

Dines believes that pornography is a public health issue, and therefore legal measures are needed to prevent access to pornography. Dines takes a pro-censorship position, and supported recent moves to implement censorship in Iceland. In an Icelandic television interview in 2012, the presenter told Dines that the minister of welfare in Iceland, Guðbjartur Hannesson, was opposed to legislation and he had suggested that it was better to "rely on a change of thought." Dines replied, "I would say, you absolutely need to change the way people think about it, but I would argue we are at such a crisis level that you need a public health approach. So, one way would certainly be education and the way people think, but I would absolutely argue for legislation as well. If you want to stop this then you have to figure out a way for Icelandic men to not have access to hardcore pornography".[15] Later in the same interview she goes on to say, "If you really want women and girls to have gender equality in Iceland then you cannot be feeding your boys and men a steady diet of pornography. The two don't go together. So I would agree, yes you need to change thought but you need to think about legislative activity as well."

Reception and criticism[edit]

Dines' recent work, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality has met with mixed reviews, with some critics citing what they see as her use of inflammatory language.[16]

Dines has also been criticized by some feminists of attempting to foment moral panic, particularly in opposition to sex work and sex workers' rights, rather than advancing an academically rigorous position.[17][18] Dines dismisses the claim, stating, "To suggest feminists who oppose the pornification of society are stirring up a moral panic is to confuse a politically progressive movement with rightwing attempts to police sexual behaviour."[19]

In 2007 Dines wrote an article on the Duke lacrosse case in which she suggested "we should put some of the focus back on the men in this case," and their behavior because, "as we know much about their behavior that night that is not under dispute. They saw the hiring of two black women to strip as a legitimate form of male entertainment. They didn't see the commodifying and sexualizing of black women's bodies as problematic in a country that has a long and ugly history of racism."[20] Writer Cathy Young criticised what she saw as Dines' double-standards, stating "the same feminists who rightly tell us that a rape victim should not have to be an angel to deserve support apply such a different standard to men who may be falsely accused of rape."[21]

Dines' writing and positions have come under fire from other academics, including Ronald Weitzer of George Washington University, whose essay "Pornography: the need for solid evidence" critiques Dines' writing (specifically Pornland) for being poorly researched and in strong opposition to the existing body of legitimate research on pornography.[22] Dines later wrote, "A Feminist Response to Weitzer", in the same journal stating that her book had used theories and methods of cultural studies developed by, amongst others, Stuart Hall and Antonio Gramsci.[23]

On 30 January 2013, Dines published an article in CounterPunch in which she accused the BDSM website of being in violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, "This is not a fun, fantasy place run by a charming band of outsiders, but a group of savvy businessmen who missed their calling at Abu Ghraib."[24] The statements resulted in criticism from Mark Kernes of Adult Video News who said that a "55-year-old college professor" should "know the difference between what goes on in real life and what happens in movies".[25]


Personal life[edit]

Dines is married to David Levy, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston,[27] they have a son.[28]



Chapters in books[edit]

  • Dines, Gail (2004), "King Kong and the white woman: Hustler magazine and the demonization of black masculinity", in Whisnant, Rebecca; Stark, Christine, Not for sale: feminists resisting prostitution and pornography, North Melbourne, Victoria: Spinifex Press, pp. 89–101, ISBN 9781876756499. 
  • Dines, Gail; Whisnant, Rebecca; Thompson, Linda (2010), "Arresting images: anti-pornography slide shows, activism and the academy", in Boyle, Karen, Everyday pornography, London New York: Routledge, pp. 17–33, ISBN 9780415543781.  (With Karen Boyle.)
  • Dines, Gail (2013), "Grooming our girls: hypersexualization of the culture as child sexual abuse", in Wild, Jim, Exploiting childhood: how fast food, material obsession and porn culture are creating new forms of child abuse, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp. 116–129, ISBN 9780857007421. 

Selected articles[edit]

See also: Weitzer, Ronald (May 2011). "Pornography’s effects: the need for solid evidence: A review essay of "Everyday pornography", edited by Karen Boyle (New York: Routledge, 2010) and "Pornland: how porn has hijacked our sexuality", by Gail Dines (Boston: Beacon, 2010)". Violence Against Women (Sage) 17 (5): 666–675. doi:10.1177/1077801211407478. 



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bindel, Julie (2 July 2010). "The truth about the porn industry". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Dines, Gail". Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 July 2014. CIP t.p. (Gail Dines) data sheet (b. July 29, 1958) 
  3. ^ "Faculty Member Gail Dines | Wheelock College, Boston MA". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Dines-Levy, Gail (1990). Towards a sociology of cartoons: a framework for sociological investigation with special reference to "Playboy" sex cartoons (Ph.D. thesis). Salford University, UK. OCLC 53564519.  Pdf.
  5. ^ a b c "Gail Dines, Ph.D". RCL website. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Faculty Profile - Gail Dines". Wheelock College website. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Gail Dines. "Gail Dines". Gail Dines website. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  8. ^ For the proposition: Anna Span, Jessi Fischer and Johnny Anglais. Against the proposition: Dr. Gail Dines, Dr. Richard Woolfson and Shelley Lubben. The Cambridge Union Society (17 February 2011). This house believes that pornography does a good public service, The Cambridge Union Society (Video). Cambridge: The Cambridge Union Society via YouTube. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Porn debate to spice up Cambridge Union". Cambridge News. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Walch, Tad (18 February 2011). "Cambridge University Union Society decides porn is a 'good public service'". Deseret News. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Span, Anna (21 February 2011). "Historic win for the porn industry at Cambridge debate". Adult Video Network (AVN). Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Damon, Dan (18 February 2011). "Debate: Does pornography provide 'a good public service'?". BBC. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Avard, Christian (29 June 2010). "Gail Dines: How "Pornland" destroys intimacy and hijacks sexuality". PULSE. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "Gail Dines: "Intersection between human trafficking and pornography" (book signing event)". 28 February 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  15. ^ Pornography in Iceland. Interview with Unknown. 15 October 2012. Kastljós. Reykjavik, Iceland. 
  16. ^ "Nonfiction Reviews". Publishers Weekly. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  17. ^ Shores, Monica (18 February 2011). "Anti-Porn Activist's Ugly Attempts To Provoke Outrage". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  18. ^ Comella, Lynn (2 February 2011). "Feminists Gone Wild! A response to porn critic Gail Dines". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  19. ^ Dines, Gail; Long, Julia (1 December 2011). "Moral panic? No. We are resisting the pornification of women". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  20. ^ Dines, Gail (19 January 2007). "CNN’s "Journalism" is a fool’s paradise". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  21. ^ Young, Cathy (16 April 2007). "Last call for "rape-crisis" feminism?". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  22. ^ Weitzer, Ronald (May 2011). "Pornography’s effects: the need for solid evidence: A review essay of "Everyday pornography", edited by Karen Boyle (New York: Routledge, 2010) and "Pornland: how porn has hijacked our sexuality", by Gail Dines (Boston: Beacon, 2010)". Violence Against Women (Sage) 17 (5): 666–675. doi:10.1177/1077801211407478. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Dines, Gail (April 2012). "A feminist response to Weitzer". Violence Against Women (Sage) 18 (4): 512–520. doi:10.1177/1077801212452550. 
  24. ^ Dines, Gail (30 January 2013). "Where are the protests against James Franco’s "Feel-good" torture porn?". CounterPunch. CounterPunch. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "AVN - Quick! Someone tell Gail Dines that porn is actually fantasy!". 31 January 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013. Wouldn't one expect a college professor to know all this? And wouldn't one think that Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott would want to know what kind of ignoramus she has teaching sociology and women's studies for her? 
  26. ^ Wild, Jim (2013), "List of contributors: Gail Dines", in Wild, Jim, Exploiting childhood: how fast food, material obsession and porn culture are creating new forms of child abuse, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp. 116–129, ISBN 9780857007421. 
  27. ^ "The Shaping Of Things". Boston Globe | Living Arts. 27 July 2010. p. G.12. 
  28. ^ Tozer, Joel (20 May 2011). "Demonising porn use unleashes more evil". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  29. ^ "Library Resource Finder: Table of Contents for: Sisterhood is forever : the women's anthology for a new millennium". Retrieved 2015-10-15. 

External links[edit]