Actual Rational Thoughts On The Duke Porn Star

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Nice Move

 

I’ll save you the details, as they have been accounted for here, here, and here. No matter where you stand with your opinion of pornography (call me crazy, but I’m a staunch supporter of nudity and sex–sorry, Obama’s America) the truth is that this is titillating. The rareness of all this drives the narrative; this isn’t the story of a poor Hollywood-wannabe getting off the bus in LA. This is an undergrad–a FRESHMAN undergrad–at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Imagine looking at your Psych 101 study group and thinking the girl across the table from you fellates men on camera (I mean, more than you usually do). The proximity to such open sexuality would be almost too much to bear. But that’s the problem isn’t it? The door to sex is so frequently closed off, and we spend so much energy and time fumbling through hundreds of keys–but here sits someone so young, so smart (Duke!) who leaves it open to the world.

This tends to be the heart of the argument that surrounds Belle Knox. (This is public knowledge by now–I have no qualms publishing her name since her Twitter reveals more than I ever could.) Is she a confused woman playing at empowerment, or is America so uptight in its sexuality that she is simply a successful businesswoman who happens to be in an industry we deem taboo? Type “Duke Porn” into Google and you’ll find the battle lines drawn. Pick a side: slut or feminist? What’s problematic about this argument is that it ignores the idea that the very “unmentionable-ness” of sex is exactly what sells it. It’s America’s discomfort with sexuality that created Belle Knox–one story can’t exist without the other. She is both slut and entrepreneur. She should be respected and pitied. Contrary to the rationalizations in the industry, you cannot be a feminist in pornography. Its very existence is at the fringe of society; its desperation to shock and please its audience disempowers its actors, both male and female. By definition, the only empowered party is the audience. That’s the idea. So should she, as Gloria Steinem has suggested, empower herself in erotica rather than porn? There’s a problem there, too: erotica doesn’t pay. And Duke is $60,000 a year. What the hell’s empowering about being naked AND broke?

So I’m left to believe this: Belle Knox is a porn star and a Duke student. She is neither a benefit to society nor a detriment. The only stories beyond that are the straw men being built to burn on the Daily Beast and The Guardian. Despite what all these websites believe, the only offensive part of this whole conversation is that we’re having it because the girl happens to go to Duke–as if she’s the first smart girl to fuck on camera. Nevertheless, she is a galloping unicorn who seemed to have her life path so clearly laid out. Yet, she chose to shirk all that, along with her clothes. It’s intriguing and hot, if only because of how we all project it into our own experiences. And so, today, she will feature prominently in my masturbatory fantasies of all the girls I was in study groups with, and what total sexual animals they turn into when not discussing Psych 101. I knew it all along.

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