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Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity
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Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  457 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
In our culture, porn makes the man. So argues Robert Jensen in Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Jensen’s treatise begins with a simple demand: “Be a man.” It ends with a defiant response: “I chose to struggle to be a human being.” The journey from masculinity to humanity is found in the candid and intelligent exploration of porn’s devastating role in de ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by South End Press
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Mar 31, 2008 Heron rated it really liked it
This book destroyed me. Jensen does say that these ideas will hurt women - namely that mainstream heterosexual pornography facilitates American rape culture and misogyny. I cried the first night I began reading. But I kept reading because, as a radical feminist, I want to know - I want to know the arguments against porn, something which as a liberal I have often felt obligated to defend. No more. Mainstream heterosexual pornography is a visual, pervasive symbol of the patriarchal cancer that eat ...more
Sep 28, 2008 Martha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Excellent. Thoughtful, provocative, sensitive. The only other male I've known who writes and speaks out on this issue with such thoroughness and sensitivity is John Stoltenberg. I find so few men who take on pornography, not to mention the whole idea of the need for an "end to masculinity," (in favor of "humanity") that it moves me to hear a man delving into this. It is encouraging. Robert Jensen also takes on the racism involved in pornography.

Jensen did a study of the type of pornography that
Oct 17, 2010 Jennie rated it it was ok
This book deeply disturbed me. In fact, it upset me so much I had to stop reading it and made my partner get rid of it. Because as much as I was horrified by it, I couldn't put it down. Ultimately, however, I didn't finish it. I couldn't. It was wrecking my ability to look at or talk to my man.

That being said, Jensen brought out a lot of things that I keep in a small closet in my brain. The things that I don't want to take out and look at. Jensen's analysis of porn is that it is violently anti-
Dec 14, 2007 Rachele rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone who needs a wake-up call
Recommended to Rachele by: Ms. magazine
This book was at times deeply, deeply disturbing to me - parts of it were so sick I could barely get through it - but also oddly funny sometimes and certainly very interesting overall. I would recommend it only to people who are prepared to think very hard about feminism and gender equality ... you can't just skim it and go back to your happy flirting-with-drunk-strangers-at-the-bar life. Jensen's thesis is essentially that the conception of masculinity in our culture is one of dominance and agg ...more
Jul 12, 2010 Jasmine rated it did not like it
Shelves: american
I really, really want to give this book a second star but there is no justification.

The author says that men in the feminist movement (by the way you only have to call yourself a feminist once I got it the first time, I don't need to be reminded three times a page how you are with the ladies, and the multiple reminders that you are bi, while interesting are not terribly relevant to the content) try to be white knights and shouldn't. You know what is highly victimizing to women never mentioning
Brad keil
Feb 01, 2008 Brad keil rated it really liked it
If you like porn, read this and see why it is that you shouldn't
Rebekka Steg
I've read Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen over the past couple of weeks. The book isn't long (just under 200 pages), but it isn't easy reading and I couldn't really stomach reading more than 15-25 pages at a time.

*Trigger Warning* This post will discuss issues of pornography and violence, questions that are important, but might be difficult to handle.

From the back cover:

"Pornography is a big business, a multi-billion dollar industry. It also makes for complic
Sep 23, 2007 Bart rated it it was ok
Robert Jensen recycles arguments from anti-porn feminists against mainstream heterosexual porn with a few twists. Jensen argues for male self-censorship of porn rather than making it illegal. He also argues that deconstructing and ridding culture of masculinity will help in this process (while taking in account the reality of masculinity). Getting Off was refreshing in that Jensen admits to uses of male privilige and challenges male feminists (who decry other males for using male privilige but a ...more
Cole J. Banning
Dec 10, 2010 Cole J. Banning rated it it was ok
Jensen has written a wonderful 1970's-style second-wave feminist tract . . . in 2007. One might think some type of grappling with third-wave feminism (and I have to add my standard disclaimer whenever I use the wave metaphor that feminist theorizing and activism is a constant process that can't really be cut up into discreet waves as if nothing happened in between them) might be called for. Indeed, the back of the book even manages to promise something of the sort (and the same text appears on t ...more
Jan 15, 2009 Angela rated it did not like it
Shelves: sd-fem-bookclub
I found "Getting Off" profoundly unconvincing. I went into this book with an open mind, but the author makes his argument with huge logical leaps, a lot of gender stereotypes (!), and a general lack of information. He totally ignores gay pornography, which I think would provide some interesting insights with its own treatment of masculinity and femininity. I still have high hopes for an interesting book club discussion out of it, but Jensen didn't make the case to me.

I also found Jensen's work,
Jan 27, 2016 Ari rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Disclaimer: I'm pro porn. Keep in mind, folks, there are exceptions to every cause (general) you support. This world is a rainbow - there are no issues of black in white (at least not in my book) - and here's some inception for you: there are even exceptions to THAT rule of mine. How about that.
This being said, I do support porn, for various reasons that I'm not going to bore you with. Buy me a drink and we'll have a conversation about it in person. As for my Goodreads discussion, all I will say
Megan Hewins
May 22, 2013 Megan Hewins rated it it was ok
There is a really interesting premise to this book. There is a glimmer of potential that makes it an eye-catching book. It made me think "Gee, I really wanna read that."

So why would I want to read this book? And why would you? I would encourage asking yourself that question before you embark on this journey. I can't answer for you, so I'll tell you my reasons for wanting to read this book.

What if you were a human being who happened to be a woman in a culture of rape and in a culture that grades
Jul 16, 2009 Pollopicu rated it liked it
I was searching for a book on views on anti-pornography. This is the one that stood out the most. I rated it 3 because I didn't quite grasp his "anti-man", "pro-human" philosophy. I also thought that perhaps his ideas of "rape culture" were a bit radical. That's not to say that part of me doesn't agree with him to a certain extent.. but I thought he would touch more upon how pornography affects real relationships, families and marriages, and it didn't at all. It's more of an essay, with research ...more
Nov 27, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the porn debate
Recommended to Jennifer by: A blog that I can no longer remember
It was a little repetive at points, and I could do without so much graphic details but I guess for someone just starting to think about this type of thing it makes it's point. I also hate that he would put the actual websites and website names in the book, it's like advertising for those companies and for some people can be a trigger. I guess the point was mostly just to prove that this isn't stuff he is making up, this is the norm and it's out there everywhere. In general I liked the book and t ...more
Apr 16, 2009 Devon rated it liked it
pretty good look at the main-stream porno industry. easy to understand, well thought out arguments against pornography and the very concept of masculinity. not exactly super-duper sex-positive, but definitely engages in an important conversation that doesn't happen much. the theoretical chapters are the highlights, the data (a lot of graphic description of porno) gets the point across.

is it better to masturbate to fantasies about people you know rather than porno? discuss amongst yer-selves...
Corey Wrenn
Mar 26, 2015 Corey Wrenn rated it it was amazing
This is an essential introductory text to critical pornography studies, feminist theory, and social justice. Written in a narrative style, it reads easily and quickly. Personal experience mixed with current research make it accessible and evidenced. For anyone new to this topic, I think it covers all of the main arguments and theories very succinctly in an easy to understand manner. It takes a radical and abolitionist position that questions whether or not consensual participation in pornography ...more
Apr 21, 2009 Tahleen rated it liked it
Shelves: womens-issues
So far all I can say is this book is... unsettling. It makes me depressed and sad and wishing we didn't live in the society we live in. I am realizing a lot of things not only about pornography, but about how men treat women and each other. I just wish I could figure out an effective way to deal with it. Jensen really does a great job at pointing out a lot of things people don't really think about, mostly because they can't without feeling awful (man or woman alike). My problems with this book a ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Stuart rated it really liked it
One of the most horrifying books I have ever read.

Jensen argues that pornography is not an industry that promotes sexual freedom, but it is instead one that promotes the objectification and marginalization of women, so that men can feel superior and retain a feeling of dominance. While his arguments often appeal to feeling and his personal experience, any reader who uses this as an easy escape from the horrifying portraits of reality that he paints is in denial.

Jensen begs men to examine themsel
Keely Hyslop
Jan 19, 2009 Keely Hyslop rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, feminist
This was a very difficult book for me to get through, particularly the section that described how men in heterosexual relationships use pornography as a tool for coercion and abuse. If you're a rape survivor or have a similar personal stake in the issue, I would approach this book with extreme caution because it's graphic depictions of painful and degrading sex acts can be very triggering. That said, the main reason I wasn't terribly crazy about this book was that it made little or no attempt at ...more
May 11, 2013 Todd rated it liked it
Shelves: moranch2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holly Wood
Jan 17, 2012 Holly Wood rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, gender, metta
Wow. I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. But what an amazingly empathetic, sensitive look at the consequences of pornography. Reading this book, you want to cry when Jensen writes about how little thought people give the subject. I myself never thought about pornography at the level Jensen raises. I'm not even sure why. I never thought about the impact pornography could potentially have on my non-sexual relationships with men. And now I can't help but think about it. Jensen is ...more
Jun 01, 2009 Bethtub rated it it was amazing
What I like about Jensen is that he doesn't rely on smarty pants jargon AND he employs the rigor of an academic analysis. Though I think the conclusion (and starting point)of rejecting masculinity in favor of being a human being needs a stronger alternative ('human being' is vague and has a history that doesn't ring of the level of self-analysis and social critique he intimates) the reasoning and arguments are helpful not only to look at issues of pornography and patriarchy/mysogeny, but at any ...more
Jul 12, 2008 Scott rated it liked it
This book brings up some serious issues worth exploring, especially for men, but they are often presented with too much anecdotal evidence and absolutist generalization on Jensen's part. The book also has a tendency to resort to a tone I can only describe as saccharine and whiny that compromises the message, especially if the point of this book is to communicate with men who don't already think about gender issues and masculinity.

In the end, it's a valuable read, but as an academic text, I had t
Maritza "Books y Booty" Valle
Jul 26, 2015 Maritza "Books y Booty" Valle rated it really liked it
Content: 3.5 stars. Relevant, important, nuanced, but i thought there would be more numbers and statistics - there certainly seem to be plenty available but as the book is 10 years old, perhaps the author had not the advantage of them at the time of publication?

Format: 4 stars. Broken into palatable chunks (although having been previously exposed to very little in the pornagraphy world, I had to take several breaks to digest the brutalization that I knew was present, but hadn't dealt with in suc
Steev Hise
Nov 18, 2009 Steev Hise rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirit-self, own-it
Every male should read this book, or at least every straight one. Some might think this is typical man-hating "feminazi" stuff ala Andrea Dworkin, and/or if you're already a veteran of Women's Studies courses maybe you won't see this as useful, but I think it's a valuable addition to the debate about sexism, masculinity, and porn. What's unique and new, for me, is Jensen's personal perspective and history that he thoughtfully includes, along with the more academic reasoning.
Sherry Lee
Nov 24, 2012 Sherry Lee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminist
Articulate, and at times eloquent, analysis of pornography and masculinity. It provides a good overview of the radical feminist perspective that has been articulated by women for some time, but adds a personal, introspective reflection on masculinity that adds empathetic insights into men's interaction with porn--while not offering any excuses for men's ongoing abuse/use of women for any personal pleasure or gain. I am glad that Jensen is writing on this issue.
Apr 10, 2014 Gilek rated it did not like it
I picked up this book, because I was hoping it might deliver some insights I had not considered (or logic I was ignorant of) regarding pornography.

I remember at times thinking..."why are you throwing all this filler at me?...just get to the worthwhile points already". Unfortunately those points never came; only a few small yet decent points came.

Apart from getting people to think more deeply about this issue...this book is disappointing, and definitely not worth your time...unless you have littl
Sep 19, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it
This is a very enlightening book that explores a topic that polarizes many people. While the author doesn't always come across as subjective, the information he provides is very thought provoking. I can't think that anyone would read this book and not come away disgusted by porn and the porn industry. I think it's a must read for anyone that watches porn.
Aug 21, 2011 Roxanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Disturbing, enlightening, horrifying read on pornography and its effect on men. As a woman and a feminist, this was a difficult read and it is hard to award it any star rating that suggests I really liked it. It was a book I needed to read and I am glad I did, but I turned the pages with a heavy heart.
Zach Bartell
May 15, 2014 Zach Bartell rated it liked it
Reading this book has really affected me. It's been my first honest experience with feminist thought. I now know that I've always been a feminist and just didn't know it. Read the book!
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Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism and director of the Senior Fellows Honors Program of the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.
Jensen joined the UT faculty in 1992 after completing his Ph.D. in media ethics and law in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a professi
More about Robert Jensen...

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“MacKinnon captures this is in her succinct lesson on the grammar of pornography and male dominance: 'Man fucks woman; subject verb object.” 1 likes
“Those four effects described above—shaping a male-dominant view of sexuality, initiating victims, contributing to difficulty in separating sexual fantasy and reality, and providing a training manual for abusers—are at work just as much with men who have not engaged in activities that meet the legal definition of rape. Here we have to let go of a comforting illusion—that there is some clear line between men who rape and men who don't, between the bad guys and the good guys.” 1 likes
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