Towson University Women's Studies

Feminist Porn?
August 2, 2010, 12:38 pm
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Our Porn, Ourselves ( is a pro-porn blog that we recently discovered. The authors of this site argue that women watch and enjoy porn, and we shouldn’t feel shamed or guilty about it. They argue that identification as a feminist does not require one to be anti-porn. Our Porn, Ourselves‘ pro-porn perspective is a welcome addition to the obscenity/porn debates. They give readers current news, economic analyses, and access to activism opportunities.

Gail Dines is one of Our Porn, Ourselves‘ main targets. Dines is perhaps the most well-known anti-porn feminist, and has led the way in anti-porn activism. Dines will be coming to Towson next spring to talk about her new book, Pornland: How Porn Has Highjacked Our Sexuality. In Pornland, Dines claims that “rather than sexually liberating or empowering us, porn offers us a plasticized, formulaic, generic version of sex that is boring, lacking in creativity and disconnected from emotion and intimacy” (

The bloggers at Our Porn, Ourselves differentiate between anti-porn and anti-sex and give readers excellent counters to Dines’ critiques of porn culture. Sex educator Charlie Glickman is quoted on the blog. Glickman writes about the differences between anti-porn and anti-sex, arguing that although these two perspectives are often conflated, they do not have to be one and the same:

So why do I think that Dines’ strategies are sex-negative? Because she deliberately works to trigger disgust about a sexual practice in order to manipulate people into rallying to her call. Rather than opening up a dialogue about the real reasons that some porn is problematic or asking how the performers on the site feel about their experiences, she uses tactics that depend on and deepen sexual shame in order to sway people to her point of view. And that makes them sex-negative. Facefucking is not inherently abusive, violent, or misogynistic any more than intercourse is inherently respectful, pleasurable, or egalitarian. As with any sexual act, it’s a question of whether you want to do it, how you do it, and how you feel about it during it and afterward. When Dines makes it sound otherwise, she reinforces sex-negativity. It doesn’t really matter whether she deliberately chose this strategy or happened to discover its effectiveness by accident. (emphasis added)

I believe that Our Porn, Ourselves is a great challenge to Dines’ arguments, and gives readers access to an alternative viewpoint. As we prepare for Dines’ visit to Towson next March, we’ll be keeping you posted from both sides of the porn wars, and hope to encourage some  discussion around the issue.


Gail Dines article
July 27, 2010, 12:30 pm
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via WMST-L:

There is a new article in the Boston Globe about Gail Dines’ new book. This article, according to Dines, “shows just how divisive the [porm] issue is.”

Dines will be speaking at Towson in the spring of 2011

Young feminists online
July 20, 2010, 12:31 pm
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Here is a link to a piece written by Stephanie Herald about young feminists’ use of technology and the internet.

young feminists online

The Gender Pay Gap
July 14, 2010, 12:41 pm
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Here is the link for an article about the gender pay gap. According to the article,

“The pay gap is much more than an abstract number: it has very real consequences for the women it affects. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, a female college graduate will lose $1.2 million over the course of her working life as a result of the gender wage gap (and the total jumps to $2 million for professional school graduates) (2009). Women invest in higher education in part to avoid such shortfalls (and to build the closely related capital of skills, intellect, and experience). Just imagine what their investments could be with $1.2 million more to spare. Higher education should invest in turn in making sure women’s equity exists within and beyond its gates.

Any comments/discussion about higher education and the pay gap? The author suggests that “higher education should invest…in making sure women’s equity exits within and beyond its gates.” How can higher education do that? How can institutions work to end the gender pay gap, aside from practicing equity “within…its gates”?

The Price of Pleasure?
July 8, 2010, 8:50 am
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Scholar Gail Dines will be coming to Towson University during the Spring semester to talk about her new book, Pornland. Her talk will be part of larger programming from the Women’s Studies Department on sex and sexuality. Below is the link to an interview she did talking about that book, as well as responses from women who perform in porn films. Please feel free to comment below!!

Ms. Magazine Interview