Bernadette Barton, "The Pornification of America: How Raunch Culture Is Ruining Our Society" (NYU Press, 2021)

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Bernadette Barton, Ph.D. exposes the double standard we attach to women’s sexuality in The Pornification of America: How Raunch Culture is Ruining Our Society (NYU Press, 2021) Pictures of half-naked girls and women can easily be found on screens, billboards, and advertisement across the United States of America. There are pole-dancing courses that can be purchased by women who desire to stay fit. Men share dick pics to nonconsensual passengers on planes and trains. The last American President has also bragged about grabbing women “by their pussy.”

This pornification of society is what Barton calls “raunch culture.” In this book, she explores what raunch culture is, why it matters, and how it is ruining America. She exposes how what is shown on the internet has a driving force in what is displayed on the programs, advertisement, and social media we watch. These images then make their way to content that is displayed on our cellphones, available for us to purchase in the fashion industry, and fantasies/desires we have when engaging in sexual intercourse. From twerking and breast implants, to fake nails and push-up bras, Barton explores just how much we encounter raunch culture on a daily basis – porn has become normalized.

Drawing on interviews, television shows, movies, and social media, Barton argues that raunch culture matters not because it is sexy, but because it is sexist. She shows how young women are encouraged to be sexy like porn stars, and to be grateful for getting cat-called or receiving unsolicited dick pics. In male politicians vote to restrict women’s access to birth control and abortion.

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. His most recent research, “The Queen and Her Royal Court: A Content Analysis of Doing Gender at a Tulip Queen Pageant“, was published in Gender Issues Journal. He researches culture, social identity, and collective representation as it is presented in everyday social interactions. He is currently studying the social interactions that people engage in at two annual festivals that take place during the summer months along the banks of the Mississippi River. You can learn more about him on his website, Google Scholar, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or email him at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu.

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