There’s been a bit of a buzz around the internet recently surrounding the Duke freshman who was ‘exposed’ as being a pornographic actress by a fellow student who recognized her around campus. After being harassed, threatened and bullied, the student in question finally came out with a statement about her career in pornography and how it might affect her life as a student and as a woman. In short, it doesn’t change ANYTHING.
I found her statement to be extremely inspiring, and I found that it covered on many points that are overlooked by people who are quick to point accusatory fingers towards women who work in the sex industry, to demean them and call them sluts, whores, and whatever else. Please read the full article over at XOJane, because it really inspired me and made me think about the way I look at adult actresses.
I was appalled to read about the way she was exposed by her peers, and about the aftermath and reactions that came from people trying to take advantage of her career choices to bolster their own faulty arguments against sex workers. The threats and bullying came both from men who decried her as a whore and sexual object, as well as women who felt her choices were anti-feminist. All in all, many people were incredulous that, yes, the actress you’re masturbating to is a *gasp* actual person! A person who might be extremely talented, or intelligent, or might be your neighbour, or someone you attend university with.
It could have been very easy for her to hide in the shadows, to just take the abuse and let things blow over and go about her life in anonymity, but I think it really speaks to her character that she came out and challenged the people who aggressively attacked her: to challenge their ideas of gender roles, of sexuality, and of feminism. Also, she brought up a very important point: just because she is happy with her decision and has had an excellent and rewarding experience in the adult industry, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many women who are abused and subjugated in the very same industry.
I really hope that she can take the momentum that her message has created to continue pushing for the rights of women and of adult actresses everywhere. The more intelligent, well-spoken people we have defending the good fight against this kind of bullying and bigotry, the better. Let’s stop with the slut shaming, people. It doesn’t accomplish anything except pushing our society backwards.