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April 11, 2017

Gail Dines: If MindGeek Disappears, So Does Porn

JESUSLAND—The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly Morality in Media) has something called "The Sexploitation Podcast," and this week's guest is Gail Dines, a professor at Wheelock College in Massachusetts and a real whackadoodle when it comes to porn, which she hates with a passion. The topic of the podcast is "Is Pornography a Big Business?"—a puzzling question since NCOSE has spent millions opposing porn, and Dines has made it her life's work to get rid of it in every form imaginable—because she's a "feminist" and she once saw a slide show and "When I saw those images, I absolutely couldn't believe it. I just could not believe what I was seeing. I couldn't believe that men made those images and I couldn't believe that men found them arousing." Of course, the slide show was created by Andrea Dworkin's group Women Against Pornography, so there's a chance that the images Dines saw weren't exactly representative of mainstream porn. After some blah-blah about how anti-porn groups like NCOSE and Dines' latest group Culture Reframed should work together to get rid of sexually explicit material, the podcast hostess Haley Halverson asked, "You used the phrase, 'pornography industry.' Do you think that this really is an industry? Do you think there's a business model or marketing model behind what's going on, what's being hyped into so many young boys' and girls' homes?" Ooh, ooh; we know this one! People like to watch other people having sex, and some companies have been formed to hire people to have sex on camera so other people can watch! Dines, interestingly, agrees—sort of: "It is absolutely an industry, which is what makes it a problem," she stated. "It's not a group of a few guys in the Valley in L.A. making porn. In fact, the porn production is less industrialized than is the distribution side of the industry. So what we know is, it holds its own trade shows, it interfaces with venture capitalists, it works with all the major corporations all over the world and banks. It's a global industry, not just an industry—and it has a very sophisticated business plan. Um ... Gail? It's true that some porn studios have investors, but "all the major corporations all over the world and banks"? Are you nuts? (Don't answer that.) "For example, the free porn, which is now the only way you get into the porn world for most people, was developed very cleverly," Dines went on to claim, "and one of the reasons was as a way to bring in boys at that developmental stage when their brain is absolutely ready for novelty and risk-taking. It was a brilliant business plan, terrible for the culture, terrible for the boys, terrible for girls, terrible for everybody else, but for the porn industry, it's a massive money-maker, because what you're doing is, it's like giving out free alcohol to 14-year-olds; it's like giving out free cigarettes to 14-year-olds. You've got the time when the brain is especially primed, when they're developing their masculine identity and their sexual templates." Okay; she is nuts. Free (aka tube) porn was invented as a way of getting eyes on a website so the webmaster's advertisers could sell the viewers something—and guess what? Whatever they were selling, 14-year-olds couldn't buy it, so the idea that tube sites were targeting under-18s, who usually don't have credit cards to make such purchases, is simply ludicrous. "Now, that didn't come about by accident," Dines opined beford dropping her "blockbuster," "just as the mobile phone didn't come about by accident. The porn industry put a ton of money into developing the actual screen of the mobile phone because they realized this was how kids would eventually get access to their pornography, and they could do it quietly, away from their parents, because it's mobile; exactly." [Emphasis added.] Okay; she's psychotic. If she can provide any evidence that any adult entertainment company put one thin dime into the development of mobile phone screens, we'll make it the cover story in AVN. It just didn't happen. "So is this an industry? Not only is it an industry, it's an extremely sophisticated industry," she stated, and not as a compliment. "It is what they call in business lingo a 'maturing industry,' which means that it keeps evolving in new ways, and the next thing that we're going to have to deal with is virtual reality. And I was at the porn expo in Las Vegas in January and you should see where they're going with virtual reality. I mean, it's just absolutely astounding, and you're going to have a full-body experience soon, so I mean, I think, if this continues, women are going to become absolutely obsolete in the eyes of men." Y'know, we at AVN like porn as much as the next person, but the idea that most men would prefer a VR porn experience to fucking an actual woman is, again, ludicrous. Halverson, of course, agreed with Dines, adding that porn is helping the development of VR in general—which got Dines off on another tech rant. "[Porn] drove the VCR, it drove the internet, it's driving virtual reality," she agreed. "See, one of the reasons for that is that when a new technology comes out—let's take for example the VCR. It was very expensive. So who are the first people most likely to invest in something expensive? People who want their porn privately. So we know, for example, that for every one regular video that was bought, four were pornographic in the beginning. Then it switched, of course. We also know that in the war between Betamax and VHS, VHS won, and the reason they won is that Betamax wouldn't carry pornography. So when you look back at the history of the technology, pornography is front and center, absolutely. So the two work symbiotically: Porn drives technology, technology drives porn." Dines is probably correct that a lot of people bought their first VCR to watch porn, but the idea that you couldn't buy porn on Beta is simply wrong—it was available widely, and AVN even used to review some porn movies on Beta. The reason the industry went with VHS is simply because you could record more higher quality material on a VHS tape than on a Beta one (2 to 4 hours versus 1 to 2 hours), plus the VHS's loading mechanism was less prone to eating the tape than was the Betamax. On the other hand, it's undeniable that porn does drive technology—and some people who aren't Dines actually think that's a good thing, since it gets that new tech out to the public that much quicker. But considering that pretty much all Boomers and Gen Xers know the correct history, it's tough to understand why Wheelock College keeps letting this obvious ignoramus teach its students. But as the podcast draws to a close, Halverson finally gets to the real point she wanted to discuss. "Do you think that this industry of pornography, is this a multi-headed Hydra, that there are so many pornography businesses out there that it's impossible to really pinpoint who the top dog is?" she asked. "No, it's actually extremely easy," Dines responded. "The top dog, without question, is MindGeek, that is based in Luxembourg with offices in Miami, in Los Angeles, in Montreal—it looks like it's moving its main businesses to Montreal. I would say it distributes anything from 70 to 90 percent of the most viewed pornography in the world." No doubt MindGeek will be happy for the plug, but to say that it distributes 70 to 90 percent of the most viewed porn has to be referring to its PornHub business, which over the past couple of years has tried to reform its rep as a tube site full of pirated content to a business that actually pays for its content, though much of it comes from other MindGeek entities like Brazzers, Reality Kings, etc., as well as licensing from other producers. "So if we're thinking as activists now, about how do we go after the pornography industry, there's no point in going after the hundreds of thousands of producers from the Valley in L.A. right through to eastern Europe, all over the world," Dines prescribed. "First of all, they haven't got much money. Secondly, they make a film and close up shop; you can't find them. So if we want a legal recourse in a civil court, you go after the top dog. The top dog without doubt is MindGeek; was originally called Manwin ... and this is a very good way to think about activism: If we had a thousand producers and a thousand distributors, we'd be like a chicken with our head cut off, right? But we've got one group to go after. You go after MindGeek; we sue them, for example, for violation of civil rights, we sue them for all the injuries that have done to women and men on the porn set; we sue them for the child pornography that's often on their websites, which people don't realize is they do carry—some of it's accidental; I'm not saying they do this purposely, but there is so much content uploaded onto their porn sites, they can't control it all, so some of them are in violation of 2257, which is a law that says you're not allowed to have anyone under 18 on the porn set—they're in violation of that. They also are in violation of the law that says you can't distribute child porn. There's many many ways we could get MindGeek, and that makes our job a lot easier." So much fun stuff there to unpack, like the idea that most producers don't have much money, and do one movie and then disappear (hee-hee), or that the performers working for MindGeek routinely get injured on porn sets—or that they have child porn "often" on their websites, or that people under 18 are ever on a MindGeek set! If we're talking about lawsuits, seems MindGeek is in a great position to sue NCOSE and Dines for defamation! (In fact, we'll send a URL of this article to their attorneys.) But then Halverson gets down to the real meat of the matter. "What do you think would happen to the pornography industry as it exists now if MindGeek were sort of taken down with these civil lawsuits?" she asked. "They would collapse, absolutely collapse," Dines opined, "because ... they set the business model and they are the center of it. I mean, it would take time to regroup, and meanwhile, we'd be coming after every group that was regrouping, so this is the way to do it. That's one way. The other way, which my group Culture Reframed does, is the public health model. What we do is, we're building programs for parents and for professionals in how to build resilience and resistance in youth to the porn culture, so we can help them develop capacity in their children not to get into trouble with pornography. There's many ways to tie the monster down ... you've got to go after it as many ways as you can." Well, you heard them, MindGeek: Better start suing them for defamation before they start suing you for their bullshit delusions! Pictured: The home page for Culture Reframed.

 
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