Imagine your daughter, sister, or female friend gets her working permit at age 14 and heads out for “an honest day’s work.” She absolutely loves her job; she make a great wage and describes the experience as “freeing, empowering, and wonderful.” Instead of being burdened by thousands of dollars in college debt, she makes enough money to pay off her loans and still enjoy life.
And she does it by being a porn star.
If you think this sounds abhorrent, a Duke University freshman who goes by the pseudonym “Lauren” (who Bill Zeiser already introduced us to) couldn’t disagree more. She decided to pay off her bills by doubling as a porn starlet, and after being “outed” by a fellow freshman who recognized her while viewing porn, she told her story on XOJane yesterday:
For me, shooting pornography brings me unimaginable joy. When I finish a scene, I know that I have done so and completed an honest day’s work. It is my artistic outlet: my love, my happiness, my home.
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…It is freeing, it is empowering, it is wonderful, it is how the world should be.
Somehow, allowing thousands of nameless men to fawn over your naked form makes her “completely in control of [her] sexuality.” The old days when sex was a treat after work are gone – sex is an honest day’s work. This takes Clay Walker’s song “If I Could Make a Living off of Loving You” to a whole new dimension.
Additionally, Lauren believes that any woman who chooses abstinence, or one partner, or many partners but not on camera – all those women have been “robbed of their choice”:
The most striking view I was indoctrinated with was that sex is something women “have,” but that they shouldn’t “give it away” too soon – as though there’s only so much sex in any one woman, and sex is something she does for a man that necessarily requires losing something of herself, and so she should be really careful who she “gives” it to.
It’s not surprising that an 18-year-old porn starlet would have no regard for the sacredness of sex. However, her belief that women who don’t offer sex like candy are “oppressed” is hypocritical. Elsewhere in the piece she proclaims concern for women in her field who are abused and exploited, while offering her body as a sacrifice on the altar of male indulgence.
Yes, women want to be wanted, and being desired might feel “empowering,” but the pornography industry is inherently selfish – it’s all sex without any love or sacrifice:
In a 2009 paper, Dr. Patrick F. Fagan reported that habitual use of pornography fosters “a higher tolerance for abnormal sexual behaviors, sexual aggression, promiscuity, and even rape. In addition, men begin to view women and even children as ‘sex objects,’ commodities or instruments for their pleasure.”
I’m not here to slut-shame Lauren, but I might agree that she is horribly naïve. Sure, she might get her tuition paid off, but she’ll do so at the expense of her dignity, and likely her health.
Besides, if doing porn is this “empowering,” why is she so afraid to tell people who she really is?