I’m sure that the blogosphere is and has been blowing up about the Duke University freshman who is a porn star, but I’ll be honest: I haven’t really looked outside of my own little circle of blogs I follow, and within it, I haven’t seen a single mention. That really surprises me, given the blogs I read. It also means that a lot of people in my circle of friends are probably oblivious to the topic and the conversations I’d like to have surrounding it.

So, here’s me, having a conversation with myself about it.

Over at xojane.com, the woman in question submitted an absolutely amazing, well-written, honest and direct response to the negative attention her story has been getting, in a piece titled “I’m the Duke University Freshman Porn Star and for the First Time I am Telling The Story in My Words“. I absolutely loved reading it. You should read it. It’s good stuff from an articulate Duke student, which I think makes it even more powerful.

I am well aware: The threat I pose to the patriarchy is enormous. That a woman could be intelligent, educated and CHOOSE to be a sex worker is almost unfathomable.

That’s it right there; people are so aghast because, as an articulate Duke student, why on earth would she choose PORN?!

…the answer is actually quite simple. I couldn’t afford $60,000 in tuition, my family has undergone significant financial burden, and I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt, doing something I absolutely love.

SHE LOVES IT! She absolutely loves it! And who wouldn’t? Sex is awesome! Being filmed having sex, if that’s your thing, is awesome! And think about it, as the Duke Chronicle article about Lauren* (name changed) points out: “With an estimated 450 million visitors each month, porn sites account for 30 percent of all data transferred across the Internet.”

Clearly, people, lots of people, watch porn. If Lauren gets off on making it, and people get off on watching it, who’s losing here? Why are people so up in arms and upset?

In addition to explaining her personal experience with filming porn, Lauren also brings up issues bigger than herself: the fact that, though she has had a wonderful experience in porn, many women do not, but the problem can’t be addressed if we keep pretending that these women “deserved it” for choosing to be sex workers. She brings up slut-shaming and rape apology, which she has encountered outside of the pornography world, but not within it. She addresses the issue of society convincing women that sex is shameful, something to withhold, something to make hard to get – but not too hard, lest you land on the “prude” end of the female sexuality dichotomy rather than the “slut” end.

Wait, what? Exactly.

She’s intelligent and aware. She asks anti-pornography feminists, and everyone, to “deconstruct why they treat female sexuality with such disdain,” to ask ourselves why “we condemn women who have had multiple sexual partners outside of a marriage.”

Great thinking points, great talking points. I like this girl.

I can say definitively that I have never felt more empowered or happy doing anything else. In a world where women are so often robbed of their choice, I am completely in control of my sexuality. As a bisexual woman with many sexual quirks, I feel completely accepted. It is freeing, it is empowering, it is wonderful, it is how the world should be.

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  1. Fantastic post Shannon and that Duke Chronicle article was marvelous! I agree with her and you in every aspect! HAH! “30% of all internet data” (traffic)…love it! How bout all those “hidden closet” doors blowing wider open because of the booming porn business!

    The facts speak for themselves, eh? LOL

    • If you click her link in her personal response on xojane about everybody having their own kink, it links to a study done on porn sites and which countries search for what specific types of porn. Lots of closet doors opening there, heh.

  2. I’ve seen lots of young ladies working very hard to pay for their education and support themselves and their families within getting into prostitution, porno, stripping, stealing and other dubious activities. The young woman described in your post might be intelligent, beautiful etc. But respecting her would show disrespect to young ladies who are working much harder and don’t opt for easier but dubious income-generating activities.

    • I don’t think this is an issue of respect at all. Sure, ladies who haven’t turned to sex work to pay for college or other valued endeavors might be disappointed to see all the support this girl is getting from myself and others, but it would be shallow to assume that I respect those women less than her because they didn’t choose sex work. It would also be shallow, in my opinion, to respect them MORE for that choice…I believe women should be free to make either choice, guilt-free.

      • Guilt is a personal choice. It is up to that person to choose how she/he feels about selling her/his body instead of using her/his brains and skills for generating income. However I would stay away from that person in the same way I would stay away from thieves, drug sellers, street thugs and other people involved in dubious activities.

      • Once again, I have to disagree with you. I don’t feel that emotions such as guilt are a personal choice – a person can’t choose to feel guilty if they don’t any more easily than they can choose to not feel guilty if they do. We feel guilty when we’ve hurt or slighted someone – people are trying to make this woman feel guilty by saying she’s slighting other women who don’t choose sex work, or by saying she’s slighting herself, and she’s smart enough to see through that. If anything, she’s leaving positions open in non-sex-work industries for women who don’t want to do what she does, and as we can see from her writings, she certainly isn’t feeling slighted herself.

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