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Chanel Preston

The Battle Against Sex

            Once in a while I come across a story that truly affects me... a story that reveals disheartening facts about the people around you. The most recent story is about the Duke university student who was outed as a porn star by one of her peers. Word quickly spread, resulting in support, as well as a lot of backlash for her choice.  She responded with an article that intelligently and articulately explained her decision to be in porn. Despite this people remain shaming and condemning her. As I read the comments posted below the article (and reposted her in my blog) I was saddened, but not surprised, by those who felt the need to express themselves with hatred or contempt of any sexual awareness.

            Every female sex worker struggles with the loneliness and stigma constantly being brought on us. We are often looked at as sub-human beings, undeserving of the same rights. People have this mindset that because we chose to do this, we deserve to be mistreated and shamed. When it comes to sex workers, no one is willing to be accountable for their hateful words and actions because it is somehow the sex worker's fault for bringing this upon herself. This attitude is so naive and harmful. In a society fearful of sex, we have humanized and glamorized serial killers more than female sex workers.

            Though male sex workers also get stigmatized, it is more often the women. Our choice to be in the sex industry is most often looked at as a result of being a victim. We are not all victims. The following are comments made in response to the Duke student's article, and THEY are the real victims. They are the victims of a society that perpetuates hateful attitudes towards women and their sexuality. 

She is not creating feminist porn, she is not fighting against the patriarchy - she is a young female student, paying for her education by having sex with others. In my personal opinion, revering her as a role model would be a failure and a vast flaw in the entire idea of liberalization.

Liberalization is different for every individual and doesn't necessarily reflect the fight against the patriarchy. Liberalization could mean working through your own self-restrictions and not just societal restrictions.

Sexuality should not be given a dollar sign, and the fact that she has given her orgasm a price tag is demeaning and no way empowering in the slightest. 

This person thinks the Duke student has demeaned herself when, in fact, this comment is what has demeaned her.  

I do not personally believe that sex should be equated with work.

Not saying it is equal to drugs by any means just saying they both have had a terrible effect on this society in which we live.

I think the "taking pride" in the "profession" of sex is hilarious. I've had plenty of jobs that were little effort and easy money, and it would be laughable to say it "empowered me.

Nowhere did she say she felt empowered because it was effortless and easy money. NO ONE in the porn industry would ever claim the job is effortless.

In actuality porn does hurt people and has been linked to the underlying cause of sexual crimes.

There is no legitimate study that links porn to the underlying causes of sexual crimes.

It doesn't mean they necessarily think it's wrong or that she shouldn't do it, but rather that she needs to be deliberately pragmatic about how this life choice could play out in the future. 

As if she wasn't already being pragmatic. 

I am very anti-porn as far as the industry and overall concept goes because I just think it reinforces the patriarchy, but condemning individuals is just mean.

Many industries reinforce the patriarchy…

Our entire nation reinforces the patriarchy.

The industry has a tight harness on how most boys learn about sexuality growing up, and so even if workers feel "empowered" or "liberated" getting beaten and abused sexually on camera, the young boys (and girls) watching don't see it the same way. They see women as ragdolls, as objects they can throw around and rough up. The problem with the Duke student is that she fails to see how the sex worker industry inherently exacerbates the patriarchy because the sex being sold is generally for MEN, and therefore shows men as the powerful figures, further demeaning women.

The real problem is that we don't have open discussions about sex with youth, therefore they learn from porn. Porn is not meant to be educational.

It's just difficult to believe that porn is really a euphoric epiphany every day. Hell, does anyone feel that way about their job? I feel like there's more going on there. 

I can't help but wonder if her insistence that she loves her job so much is a symptom of being told that she must hate her job.

Her insistence could be a result of everyone challenging her.

Or go to a less expensive university (I know college is pretty universally expensive but there are cheaper schools then Duke).

You're a college freshman, so 18 or 19 years old. You have no clue what the real world is going to be like.

Working in pornography is going to bite you in the ass. You may think it won't, or that you don't want to work for someone who won't hire a former porn star, but you know what? 99% of legitimate businesses aren't going to hire a former porn star. I'm not anti-porn, I'm just pro-reality. I'm twice your age, I have a lot more life experience. You would be much better off with the student loans than this job following you for the rest of your life.

I think this girl can write. She seems pretty intelligent, however, even the smartest kids make mistakes that will affect them for years.

Assuming her choice was a mistake.

I hope that she does well in life, but man, this is a rough start.

Honestly, I'm worried for her more than anything. I hate to see anyone have to struggle due to choices they made at 18.

I'm also not sure how letting men take video of you fucking, then giving you a couple hundred bucks and retaining the rights to profit off said video indefinitely is "owning" your body.

You could use this kind of verbiage towards anything to make it sound ridiculous or menial.

            Surprisingly, no one called her names and spewed the typical slut-shaming banter. Most of the comments were articulate and thoughtful and some of the comments showed an effort to be positive, but still passively put her down.

             I want this girl to know there are many of us who stand behind her and know what it's like to fight the battle of sexual discrimination. And without us nothing will change. We have to stay strong. Every situation like this keeps us motivated to help change society's attitudes about sex.

            Since getting into the sex industry I have known the day would come I would branch out and advocate for women and their sexual freedom. The last four years I have spent exploring and discovering myself, and I am finally ready to travel further into that journey. I have recently launched a new website that will be a platform for men and women to gain new and positive attitudes about sex. Through this site I hope to help eliminate the harmful attitudes oppressing us and harming sex workers, such as the Duke University student.

Because of this new platform I've created, this will be my last blog for XCritic as I will be blogging on my new site, www.NakedWithChanel.com. XCritic has given me a place in the last four years to not only hurl my thoughts and opinions, but also to grow, and I want to thank the entire XCritic family for giving me the opportunity to do that. You all have been a big part in helping me and others gain more sexual awareness.

            Like many of the commenters said on the Duke student's article, it will be a long time before people are accepting of sex workers into the rest of society. But it will never happen unless people are there to take the attacks and challenge oppressive societal attitudes. 

            Thank you, again, XCritic, and I'll see you all on nakedwithchanel.com!


-XO Chanel

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