Gail Dines (born 29 July 1958) is professor emerita of sociology and women's studies at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts.[2]

Gail Dines
Gail Dines, Cambridge Union, 17 February 2011.jpg
Dines addressing the Cambridge Union, February 2011
Born (1958-07-29) 29 July 1958 (age 64)[1]
Manchester, England
Known for
TitleProfessor emerita of sociology and women's studies, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
SpouseDavid Levy
AwardsMyers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America
Academic background
EducationBSc and PhD in sociology, University of Salford
ThesisTowards a Sociology of Cartoons: A Framework for Sociological Investigation with Special Reference to Playboy Sex Cartoons (1990)
Academic work
Notable worksPornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality (2010)

A radical feminist, Dines specializes in the study of pornography.[2] Described in 2010 as the world's leading anti-pornography campaigner,[3] she is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture and founder of Culture Reframed, created to address pornography as a public-health crisis.[2][4] Dines is co-author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality (1997) and author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality (2010).

Dines writes that boys and men who are exposed online to pornography that is increasingly cruel and violent toward women; she argues that pornography is "the perfect propaganda piece for patriarchy". The exposure of teenage girls to the images affects their sense of sexual identity,[3] with the result, Dines writes, that women are "held captive" by images that lie about them, and that femininity is reduced to the "hypersexualized, young, thin, toned, hairless, and, in many cases, surgically enhanced woman with a come-hither look on her face".[5]

Early life and educationEdit

Dines was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Manchester, England,[6] and attended King David School.[7] When she was 18, after reading Robin Morgan's book Sisterhood is Powerful (1970), she abandoned Orthodox Judaism and became a radical feminist, later calling her relationship to feminism "a passionate love affair".[6] She spoke in 2011 about the appeal of radical feminism: "After teaching women for 20-odd years, if I go in and I teach liberal feminism, I get looked [at] blank ... I go in and teach radical feminism, bang, the room explodes. ... I remember what happened to me the first time I read radical feminism. I remember thinking: 'I have been waiting for this my entire life, and I didn't even know I was waiting for it."[8][9]

She obtained her BSc from Salford University, where she met her husband, David Levy, who was studying at the University of Manchester.[10] She embraced Marxism but became disillusioned with the British left when the students' unions voted to support that Zionism is racism, following United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, which meant Jewish student groups were denied funding. The atmosphere in the UK led to increased antisemitism. Swastikas were painted on Jewish homes; in a pub with Jewish friends, Dines heard a nearby group say they could "smell gas".[6]

As a result, in 1980 when she was 22, Dines and Levy moved to Israel.[6][10] While there she co-founded a feminist group, Isha L'isha ("Woman to Woman"), which described itself in 2018 as "the oldest grassroots feminist organization in Israel",[6][11] and engaged in research at the University of Haifa into violence against women.[6] She started her PhD thesis while volunteering in a rape crisis centre, after encountering pornography during a meeting in Haifa arranged by Women Against Pornography.[3] The following day, she told her thesis advisor she wanted to write her dissertation on pornography: "I literally couldn't believe the images. I couldn't believe that men created such images, and that other men wanted to watch them."[10]

The couple had a son, who was born while Levy was in Lebanon with the Israel Defence Forces, although both he and Dines opposed the war in Lebanon.[7] Dines joined the Israeli peace movement and has continued to be critical of the expansion of Israeli settlements and the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.[12] Finding it increasingly difficult to live with the hyper-masculinity of Israeli culture,[6] the family moved to the United States in 1986, where Levy began studying at Harvard Business School.[7] Dines obtained her PhD in 1990, again from Salford, for a thesis entitled Towards a Sociology of Cartoons: A Framework for Sociological Investigation with Special Reference to "Playboy" Sex Cartoons.[13]

Career and researchEdit

External video
TEDx talk by Gail Dines
  "Growing Up in a Pornified Culture", TEDx Talks on YouTube, 28 April 2015[14]

Dines worked at Wheelock College in Boston from 1986 for around 30 years; she became professor of sociology and women's studies there and chair of its American studies department.[3] Levy became professor of management at the University of Massachusetts Boston.[10][15][16]

The author of two books, including Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality (2010), Dines has also written for a variety of journals and newspapers, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, and The Guardian.[17][18] She is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture,[17] co-founder of the National Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, and founder of Culture Reframed, which aims to have pornography recognized as a public health crisis.[4][2]

Dines's view of pornography is that it distorts men's view of sexuality,[19] and makes it more difficult for them to establish intimate relationships with women. The violence and cruelty found in modern pornography is unlike earlier forms of soft-core pornography with which the general public may be familiar, Dines writes, and it degrades the position of women in society.[3][19] She also views the prevalence of hardcore pornography as a contributing factor in increasing "demand" for sex trafficking.[20]

Dines speaking at the Cambridge Union, 2 February 2011, from 00:11:57.

In February 2011, Dines was invited, with fellow anti-pornography activist Shelley Lubben, to debate Anna Span, a pornographic film director, at the Cambridge Union, when it proposed the motion: "This house believes that pornography does a good public service."[21] Dines did not sway the house, which decided 231 in favour to 187 against, with 197 abstentions.[22] Dines said her opponents won because the chamber consisted mostly of "18–22 year old males who are using pornography on a regular basis".[23]

Dines expressed opposition to the academic journal Porn Studies when it was founded, arguing that the "editors come from a pro-porn background where they deny the tons and tons of research that has been done into the negative effects of porn," and that they're "cheerleaders" for the porn industry.[24]


Dines' book Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality (2010) received mixed reviews, with some critics citing what they saw as her use of inflammatory language.[25] Her writing has been criticized by other academics, including Ronald Weitzer of George Washington University. In an essay, "Pornography: the need for solid evidence" (2011), Weitzer alleged that Dines' work (specifically Pornland) is poorly researched and in strong opposition to the existing body of research on pornography.[26] In "A Feminist Response to Weitzer" in the same journal, Dines wrote that her book had used theories and methods of cultural studies developed by, among others, Stuart Hall and Antonio Gramsci.[27] Also in 2011, after Dines wrote about the porn industry in The Guardian,[28] Lynn Comella, women's studies professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, accused her of failing "to address counterevidence".[29]

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".[30] Writer Cathy Young criticised what she saw as Dines' double standard, 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".[31]


In 2016, Dines and two other Jewish professors filed discrimination complaints against Wheelock College with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in relation to claims that the college's diversity efforts were not inclusive enough of Jewish students.[32] One of their objections was that there was no appropriate food in the dining hall for Jewish students on Jewish holidays. After writing a letter in 2014 in pursuit of Jewish students' interests, the professors said their lives were made miserable, and they became the focus of antisemitic attacks.[33][34] The college said the complaints were "without merit".[32]



  • Dines, Gail; Humez, Jean, eds. (2011) [1995]. Gender, Race and Class in Media: A Critical Reader (3rd ed.). California: Sage publications. ISBN 9781412974417.
  • Dines, Gail (2010). Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 9780807044520.
  • Dines, Gail (2020). Pornland: Comment le porno envahi nos vies. Paris: Editions LIBRE. ISBN 9782490403165.
  • Dines, Gail; Jensen, Robert; Russo, Ann (1997). Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415918138.
  • 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. OCLC 53564519. Pdf.


  • Dines, Gail (2013). "Grooming our girls: hypersexualization of the culture as child sexual abuse". In Wild, Jim (ed.). 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.
  • Dines, Gail (2011). "Stop porn culture!". In Tankard Reist, Melinda; Bray, Abigail (eds.). Big Porn Inc.: exposing the harms of the global pornography industry. North Melbourne, Victoria: Spinifex Press. pp. 266–267. ISBN 9781876756895.
  • Dines, Gail (2011). "The new Lolita: pornography and the sexualization of childhood". In Tankard Reist, Melinda; Bray, Abigail (eds.). Big Porn Inc.: exposing the harms of the global pornography industry. North Melbourne, Victoria: Spinifex Press. pp. 3–8. ISBN 9781876756895.
  • Dines, Gail; Whisnant, Rebecca; Thompson, Linda (2010). "Arresting images: anti-pornography slide shows, activism and the academy". In Boyle, Karen (ed.). Everyday pornography. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 17–33. ISBN 9780415543781. (With Karen Boyle.)
  • Dines, Gail (2004). "King Kong and the white woman: Hustler magazine and the demonization of black masculinity". In Whisnant, Rebecca; Stark, Christine (eds.). Not for sale: feminists resisting prostitution and pornography. North Melbourne, Victoria: Spinifex Press. pp. 89–101. ISBN 9781876756499.
  • Dines, Gail (2003). "From fantasy to reality: unmasking the pornography industry". In Morgan, Robin (ed.). Sisterhood is forever: the women's anthology for a new millennium. New York: Washington Square Press. pp. 306–314. ISBN 9780743466271.


  1. ^ "Dines, Gail". Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Gail Dines". Wheelock College. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bindel, Julie (2 July 2010). "The truth about the porn industry". The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b "About us". Culture Reframed. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  5. ^ Dines, Gail (2010). Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, Boston: Beacon Press, p. 102.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Dines, Gail (2005). "This Sisterhood is Powerful". The Workmen's Circle.
  7. ^ a b c Yaffe, Simon (2011). "Feminist Gail is No 1 campaigner against 'cruel' porn industry". Jewish Telegraph.
  8. ^ Dines, Gail (29 June 2011). "Gail Dines on radical feminism". Melbourne: Wheeler Centre, Sydney Writers' Festival. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  9. ^ Also see Dines, Gail (27 January 2017). "Gail Dines: Putting the Radical back in Feminism". London: The Institute of Education. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d Aucoin, Don (27 July 2010). "The Shaping of Things", The Boston Globe.
  11. ^ "Isha L’Isha—Haifa Feminist Center",
  12. ^ "Transcript: Q&A", Sydney Writers' Festival, 23 May 2011.
  13. ^ Gail Dines, Towards a Sociology of Cartoons: A Framework for Sociological Investigation with Special Reference to Playboy Sex Cartoons, University of Salford, 1990.
  14. ^ Gail Dines (28 April 2015). Growing Up in a Pornified Culture (Video). TEDx Talks, via YouTube.
  15. ^ "David Levy, DBA", University of Massachusetts Boston.
  16. ^ Tozer, Joel (20 May 2011). "Demonising porn use unleashes more evil". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  17. ^ a b "Gail Dines, Ph.D". RCN. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  18. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  19. ^ a b Avard, Christian (29 June 2010). "Gail Dines: How "Pornland" destroys intimacy and hijacks sexuality". PULSE. Archived from the original on 29 June 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  20. ^ ""Intersection between human trafficking and pornography": a conversation with Gail Dines". Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. 28 February 2011. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  21. ^ 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 (Video). Cambridge: The Cambridge Union Society, via YouTube.

    "Porn debate to spice up Cambridge Union". Cambridge News. 11 January 2011. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011.

  22. ^ Walch, Tad (18 February 2011). "Cambridge University Union Society decides porn is a 'good public service'". Deseret News.
  23. ^ Damon, Dan (18 February 2011). "Debate: Does pornography provide 'a good public service'?". BBC News.
  24. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (15 June 2013). "Porn wars: the debate that's dividing academia". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  25. ^ "Nonfiction Reviews". Publishers Weekly. 5 April 2010.
  26. ^ Weitzer, Ronald (May 2011). "Review Essay: Pornography's Effects: The Need for Solid Evidence". Violence Against Women. 17 (5): 666–675. doi:10.1177/1077801211407478. PMID 21511821. S2CID 220342944.
  27. ^ Dines, Gail (April 2012). "A Feminist Response to Weitzer". Violence Against Women. 18 (4): 512–520. doi:10.1177/1077801212452550. PMID 22865620. S2CID 1122327.
  28. ^ Dines, Gail (4 January 2011). "Porn: a multibillion-dollar industry that renders all authentic desire plastic". The Guardian.
  29. ^ Comella, Lynn (2 February 2011). "Feminists Gone Wild! A response to porn critic Gail Dines". Las Vegas Weekly.
  30. ^ Dines, Gail (19 January 2007). "CNN's "Journalism" is a fool's paradise". Archived from the original on 18 June 2013.
  31. ^ Young, Cathy (16 April 2007). "Last call for "rape-crisis" feminism?".
  32. ^ a b Krantz, Laura (15 February 2016). "Professors file complaints claiming bias at Wheelock". The Boston Globe.
  33. ^ Flaherty, Colleen (5 October 2016). "Locked Out of the Conversation". Inside Higher Ed.
  34. ^ "Two Jewish Professors Sue Boston's Wheelock College Over Alleged anti-Semitism". Haaretz, 16 February 2016.
  35. ^ Wild, Jim (2013), "List of contributors: Gail Dines", in Wild, Jim (ed.), 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.

External linksEdit