The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here

The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here

The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here

The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here

Synopsis

From the popular Bratz dolls to the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib, The Porning of America reveals that porn has become the mainstream-and the mainstream has become porn. Carmine Sarracino and Kevin Scott argue that porn has seeped into and been absorbed by every defining aspect of our culture: language, entertainment, fashion, advertising, sexual behavior, even politics. Cultural absorption is so complete that we no longer have to purchase pornography to get porn because we increasingly live porn on a daily basis.

In tracing porn's transformation-from the Civil War to the golden age of comic books in the 1940s and 1950s to the adult film industry's golden decade of the 1970s and up to today-the authors illustrate that what began in the dark alleys of American life has now emerged as an unapologetic multibillion-dollar industry. In this astonishingly comprehensive book, Sarracino and Scott profile such "porn exemplars"-those who have been pivotal to the mainstreaming of porn-as Russ Meyer, Snoop Dogg, Jenna Jameson, and Paris Hilton; they document how mainstream advertising uses porn culture to sell commercial goods now to an even younger, "tween" audience; and they pose crucial questions: How has porn shaped the way we view our own and others' bodies? Sarracino and Scott examine porned advertising of everything from Clinique to Orbit gum to Old Spice. How has porn influenced our relationships and how do current sexual behaviors, such as the "hookup," mimic porn? The authors look to MySpace and Craigslist for answers. And how does porn shape our identity, as individuals and as a nation? Sarracino and Scott argue that the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib exposed our porned sensibilities.

Not an anti-porn diatribe, The Porning of America is resolutely pro-sex. Sarracino and Scott contend that, to make the most of our hard-won sexual freedom, we must thoughtfully-and honestly-evaluate what might be liberating about porn as well as what might be damaging. Nuanced, timely, and urgent, The Porning of America will change how you see the world around you.

Excerpt

As college professors, we usually write about subjects that we hold at arm's length: objective, intellectual, dispassionate. But not so in this book.

We are very much part of—involved in, living through—the phenomenon we describe as the porning of America. We are American males, husbands, and parents of small children, each of us the father of a girl and a boy. Strolling in the mall last week, one of us came upon something we had before only read about: thong underwear for little girls.

The other recently saw his four-year-old daughter, enrapt, watching a television ad for Bratz dolls, which look remarkably like prostitutes. Our sons, eight and ten, pretend indifference when such ads appear on their cartoon stations, but we have seen them stealing glimpses, and even ogling, eyes riveted, when they didn't know they were being watched.

How can we, as fathers who are ourselves sexual males, blame them? We too appreciate the allure of the female form and of sex. And we are thankful that our children will grow up in an atmosphere of sexual freedom that will spare them most of the ignorance, hypocrisy, and repression of earlier times. If guilt is disappearing from sensuality and sex, along with shame about the human body, we happily wave goodbye to all that. But what is coming in its place?

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