Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Duke University Freshman

I’m not sure how to react to the whole Duke University freshman working porn to pay for college tuition thing.  I’m in agreement that sex workers should have rights and not be marginalized.  I am so not in agreement about stigmatizing people or treating people as less than human, because of repressive messed up views on sexuality.  

And, I am so not in agreement about men exploiting women, period, and my limited experience and knowledge about porn is that this is the case.  My understanding is that this industry originated for men by men to make lots of money off of exploiting women and women’s bodies, and the men are the ones who get the biggest piece of the money pie and the women get much smaller shares.  That it is an industry that exacerbates and perpetuates stereotypes of women and women’s sexuality, based on a gender biased fantasy that has a real life impact on how men view women as a whole, and that kind of pisses me off, especially when said creators are clearly not interested in expressing women’s voices and women’s sense of pleasure and sexuality.  Or is it different? D id I miss something?

I also wonder if the Duke University freshman will regret her decisions—that seems to be a common internet subject line—that she doesn’t know what she’s doing now, she’s still a teen, that it will stigmatize her for the rest of her life.  Perhaps she is not the first freshman to pay for tuition this way, but in the internet era, she is the first to be recorded for all in the world to watch.  When it’s not vitriol and denigration, it seems to be disbelief that she actually knows what she’s doing.  That for her to say she’s ‘proud’ and ‘at home’ doing porn, is merely a poor decision and observation only the youthful can make. 

As a fellow woman, I do not want to add any more judgment or admonitions to the story, I do not want to denigrate or tear down another woman, especially a young woman who is stepping forward in our crazy world and making sense of it in her own way.  I am more worried about the online bullying and real life bullying that will likely exist.  And to be more worried about that—does it mean I’m sidestepping an opinion?  Maybe it does.  I’m still trying to figure it all out.

I do know this—if this was my daughter, I would be truly unhappy, because of what I think of the porn industry.  I do not want my daughter to choose to sell her body to pay for college or for ANYTHING.  I would want her to be free in her decision to have intimate relations with people she cares about and loves.  That, I hope, is not a repression of sexuality, I hope that is sacred and wonderful and special, an experience she can share with someone (or several someones as she learns about this world and learns what relationships are) who loves her in just the same way.

I don’t know where this puts me on the feminism spectrum, because I identify with being a feminist.  I guess this subject is a conundrum for me, and I’m doing my best to wrap my head around it.  And I may not be succeeding to well, but clearly it’s something that is concerning, and I’m failing at finding the right words.

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