Letter to the Editor: Duke Porn star

Actual grown adults and college educated students of Duke University grabbed their pitchforks last month when they discovered that Belle Knox, an 18-year-old college freshman, had been performing in pornographic films in order to pay for her law degree.

“I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt,” explained Knox before listing off the reasons as to why porn can be a source of female empowerment.

These statements by Knox sparked insults, death threats and the releasing of her phone number and home address.

“The schools should either expel her or we will take matters into our own hands and make this fuck up suffer,” said one Twitter user in response to an article Knox wrote for the online magazine XoJane.com.

Okay, maybe Knox is misguided. Maybe she is making a huge mistake. Maybe she’s totally off when it comes to the idea of porn being a source of female empowerment. But why do people care so much? She isn’t hurting anybody, she isn’t sending death threats and she sure isn’t posting individuals’ addresses online in an attempt to harass them. But don’t worry, Duke’s students and fraternity members are.

What I find so offensive about all of this is that an 18-year-old woman was accepted into a prestigious university, but had to turn to porn so she could avoid going tens of thousands of dollars in debt.  And instead of  being upset about tuition prices being so high, they turn on this girl by publically shaming and harassing her.

Using sex in exchange for tuition money isn’t even a new thing. Since 2006 men and women have been using SeekingArrangement.com, searching for individuals who they can be in a “mutually beneficial relationship with.” Essentially, it’s a legal form of prostitution that isn’t called prostitution because the site doesn’t condone sexual activities between “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies”.  And guess what? A huge portion of the female members (44% in fact) are students, according to Brandon Wade, CEO of SeekingArrangement.com.

But why aren’t most individuals as outraged at Brandon Wade as they are at Belle Knox? Is it because it’s so easy to ‘slut-shame’? Is it because people disagree with her connecting porn to feministic ideals? I don’t know. What I do know is that an 18-year-old university student had to enter porn to pay for school and everybody is paying attention to the porn star, and not the institution that drove her there.

 

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