Dr. Gail Dines is a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, an internationally acclaimed speaker and author, and a feminist activist. Her writing and lectures focus on the hypersexualization of the culture and the ways that porn images filter down into mainstream pop culture.
Gail’s work on media and pornography has appeared in academic journals, magazines such as Time and Newsweek, and newspapers across the country. She is a frequent guest on radio and television and is a recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights.
Gail is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture – an educational and activist group made up of academics, anti-violence experts, community organizers and anyone who is concerned about the increasing pornification of the culture.( http://stoppornculture.org/)
Dr. Dines appeared on a recent edition of On Point with Tom Ashbrook, from NPR in Boston. The program focused on the increasing numbers of aggressive sexual incidents including rape, on American college campuses where the evidence suggests that one in five women have been victims of sexual assault or rape. According to Dr. Dines, boys are being educated in sexuality almost exclusively through pornography, and they begin at around 11 years of age in both their education and their first sexual experience.
Also according to Dr. Dines, the American culture teaches young girls to dress in an extremely provocative manner, in order to be noticed.Her research also suggests that in common rooms on many if not all U.S. campuses, male students are using the internet to access porn websites and that dating as a form of respectful relationship development has been replaced by "hook-up's" or what another generation called "one-night-stands".
Naturally, in any "hook-up" neither party assumes the other wants a more premanent relationship.
So from the perspective of this scribe, it appears that, at least from this researcher, the American culture has been extremely successful in commodifying both male and female genders, at a very early age, in a reduction to "bare essentials" of the encounter between male and female when the biology of both is exploding.
When the society exists for the profit of those generating the business models, and
when that same society depends, for 70% of its economic activity, on the purchases made by consumers
and when the engine drving those consumer sales of both products and services is sexuality (blatant and somewhat less so)
and when the offspring of that society find themselves alone with their laptops and blackberries, I-pads and Ipods, surfing the porn sites that excite them
and when those same offspring "party" with excessive binge drinking, to the point where students are dying from alcohol poisoning
and those same students, both male and female now intoxicated, fall into some form of "bed" together,
on the "morning after" there are bound to be deep and profound regrets...
and the officials, administration, dorm proctors who are charged with the responsibility of "protecting" students from such tragedies are in a quandry about their appropriate and fair rulings (who wouldn't be?)...
this is another pot of a perfect storm boiling without adequate control measures, guidelines and punishments.
As the other guest on the On Point program pointed out, however, if one in five laptop computers were being stolen on every campus, the President of the University and the Chief of Police of the city or town where the university is located would be holding a press conference to announce stern measures to stop the theft and to return the computers to their rightful owners and to punish the offenders. Also the parents would be demanding action.
Unfortunately, a young woman's chastity and virginity are not as easily or as clearly "recoverable"...and her life may be dramatically and negatively impacted for the rest of her life.
However, the universities themselves, have permitted their own programs to suffer a reduction from the original template of liberal arts courses for those seeking to explore new and challenging and challengeable ideas to a virtual technical school for the training of job-fillers. This is another of the many reductionisms that education has undergone, as another of the many ways by which the commercial, corporate, consumer culture has conquered the landscape, including the university campuses.
So long as the only thing that matters is the "brand" of the university education our sons and daughters are receiving (obviously only available from the "best" names like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, etc.) so that the corporations who are hiring their graduates can boast of the pedigree in their staff stable, so that they can generate the most dividends for their investors, all participants will be pawns to the Kings and Queens of corporate design and control.
We need to take back not only the curricula in our universities, but also the flow of cash, and the idolatry of cash and profit that reduces human beings to serfs in a master-slave relationship to money, power and the idolatry of those with the biggest bank accounts, as the end goal of the university education....and then, perhaps both men and women will be able to see more than sex and orgasms and conquest and notches on a belt as the purpose and the gift and the blessing and grace of the relationships to which we all aspire.
And then, perhaps, both men and women will re-occupy the appropriate terrain of healthy respectful and mutually committed relationship(s), with the support of their mentors, their universities and the culture in which those institutions reclaim their original role and purpose.
And that will take a radical renovation of the existing landscape by all of us!