A freshman at Duke University had been enjoying a successful career in the adult film industry under an alias until she was recognized on campus and inundated with Facebook friend requests from random male students. Suddenly, her life as a student had ended and her life as a student/porn star began.
But, as she dodged insults to her intelligence, sexuality, femininity, strength, and humanity, she realized that she wanted to steer the conversation toward an informed discussion about gender equality and basic human decency. So, after granting an interview to the Duke student newspaper, she authored a column for xoJane. You should read it.
Because if people are going to talk about you, you might as well control the conversation and use it to start a dialogue, which in this case is about the abuses we inflict on sex workers.
One of the facts Internet commenters have gotten very wrong is accusing me of participating in "rape fantasy porn." This is a horrifying accusation, but I absolutely understand where people are coming from. The site in question that I shot for is a rough sex website. That is how I perceived it at the time. I was not coerced or harmed in any way during the filming of the scene. Everything I did was consensual. I also stand by and defend the right of adult performers to engage in rough sex porn.
She goes on to explain that she got into the business because she saw a way that she could graduate from Duke debt-free while earning a living doing something she thoroughly enjoys. She condemns slut-shamers, highlights the problems created in our archaic patriarchy, reaches out to conservative feminists who take issue with the industry as a whole, and asks, essentially, for everyone reading to consider her and her fellow sex workers as, you know, actual humans.
Why do we call women sluts and whores? Why do we use synonyms for prostitute as some of the worst insults in the English language? Why do we shame rape victims for the unspeakably heinous crime committed against them? Why is the first question out of many people's mouths: "What was she wearing the night in question?" Why do we condemn a woman who has had multiple sexual partners outside of marriage?
Think about it. Be very honest with yourself. You may be surprised by the answers.
As for my professional career, I have no current plans to quit porn and I refuse to let ignorant people deprive me of the education that I have worked incredibly hard to achieve.
I am going to graduate, I am going to pursue my dreams and I will hopefully galvanize change in a world wrought with gender norms and sexism.
Read her entire column over at xoJane because (it's literally) the least you could do.
Just try to stop me.