Now that pornography is on the Internet, its political and social functions have changed. So contends Margret Grebowicz in this imperative philosophical analysis of Internet porn. The production and consumption of Internet porn, in her account, are a symptom of the obsession with self-exposure in today's social networking media, which is, in turn, a symptom of the modern democratic construction of the governable subject as both transparent and communicative. In this first feminist critique to privilege the effects of pornography's Internet distribution rather than what it depicts, Grebowicz examines porn-sharing communities (such as the bestiality niche market) and the politics of putting women's sexual pleasure on display (the "squirting" market) as part of the larger democratic project. Arguing against this project, she shows that sexual pleasure is not a human right. Unlikely convergences between thinkers like Catherine MacKinnon, Jean Baudrillard, Judith Butler, and Jean-François Lyotard allow her to formulate a theory of the relationships between sex, speech, and power that stands as an alternative to such cyber-libertarian mottos as "freedom of speech" and "sexual freedom."
About the author
Margret Grebowicz is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Goucher College.
"Why Internet Porn Matters renews philosophical debate about the function of pornography for the twenty-first century by examining the effects of a 'democratized Internet' as the new mode or form of pornography distribution and consumption, as distinct from philosophical and feminist criticisms of pornography, which take issue with the content and production . . . This text is surely a valuable revival of MacKinnon's work. In addition, its return to early feminist concerns over the gendering of the private sphere in dialogue with the production of homogeneity through state practices enables critiques of the political tactics in current civil rights movements."
—Melissa Mosko, Hypatia Reviews Online
"[A]rresting . . . Grebowicz's central premise is that the means by which pornography is distributed is as significant as its content—the 'graphy', in other words, as significant as the 'porn' . . . The internet has put cameras everywhere. It used to be radical to turn the lights on for sex; perhaps the time has come to switch them off."
—Hannah Dawson, Times Literary Supplement
"[T]his book by Grebowicz offers an adroit analysis of Internet pornography that has large implications for feminism, gender studies, and media studies . . . Recommended."
—M. Uebel, Choice
"Grebowicz's skillful argument goes far beyond the usual debates about whether Internet pornography is 'good' or 'bad', encouraging us to think instead about the deeper philosophical and political meanings of porn and its distribution today."
—Karmen MacKendrick, Le Moyne College
"Margret Grebowicz has written a bracing, vital book that should be required reading for any scholar interested in the politics and theory of sexuality. Relying on an eclectic but carefully chosen set of interlocutors (from Baudrillard to MacKinnon to Scarlet the Harlot), Grebowicz has carved out a space to ask specifically philosophical questions about an emerging, and increasingly influential, set of social practices."
—Ann Cahill, Elon University