The Spectacle Blog

Wait, being a porn star can have negative consequences?!?

By on 2.18.14 | 1:30AM

I sometimes call particularly asinine articles I come across in my internet travels "cathartic outrage porn." But never have I meant that as literally as in the case of a Mediaite story entitled "Duke Student Admits to Campus Paper That She's Also a Porn Star." The short version is that a young student at highly competitive Duke University going by the assumed name "Lauren" leads a double life as an up and coming porn actress. Some frat boy found out her secret, word spread around campus, and the student newspaper ran a (largely sympathetic) profile which Lauren found to be lacking. In a rebuttal piece, she took particular issue with being characterized as "distressingly naïve." Well, what of that claim? A choice quote from the original profile piece:

"I feel angry. I feel victimized. I feel harassed. I feel hated. I feel discriminated against,” Lauren said. "At Duke, I can’t be who I want to be. I really wish I could just do porn and pay for my college and not get s--t from people and just be respected as a human being, but clearly that’s not going to happen."

Perhaps I am old fashioned, but the pornographic arts are rarely the best profession to pursue when motivated by a strong desire to be respected by one's peers and to live an existence of quiet dignity. You might call a belief to the contrary "distressingly naïve." But far from the ostracism that Lauren describes, she has been embraced by school administrators. Lauren has been invited to speak to classes studying "sex work," and Duke's Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta has worked with Lauren to reinforce the notion that "the University’s policy was to be supportive of all student identities." This is not as surprising as it should be, given that many elite universities now hold "Sex Weeks" during which students are invited to explore bedroom behaviors in public.

Moneta also laments that he cannot protect Lauren from the "vile" comments that she has been subjected to online. The newspaper profile lays out in lurid detail just how much a porn actress is paid for certain acts. Shouldn't Lauren have expected vile comments when she contracted to sell herself? For her part, she stresses how "empowering" she finds her between the sheets gig. Distressingly naïve.

The one thing Lauren hasn't done is tell her parents about her double life. And why not? If the claim of academia is valid and all student identities are worthy of reinforcement, shouldn't her folks be proud?

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