Duke University student who's also a porn star reveals her identity.

One of the oddest things about the adult film industry is the stigma of those who are employed in it. The Duke student who became famous after another student outed her to the Greek system of the university has come out publicly with her identity, in part to show her bullies that they do not control her life, but also to help fight the prejudice and hypocrisy against women in particular for being sexual.

In an xoJane piece, the young woman not only told her name and showed her face, she also explored the profound absurdity of people who have incessantly bullied her, insisted that she shut up, called her an “embarrassment to Duke,” and told her to be ashamed of herself, as though being in the sex industry means she no longer deserves to speak, or even exist.

The Internet does not dictate my life. My sexuality is not some sort of blackmail to be used against me, granting you ownership over my life or my story. It is my life. It is my story.

So I’m refusing to let the bullies win. Instead, in revealing my performer name, I’m also going to let you know exactly the level of hate that exists in America regarding women who refuse to be quiet about their sexuality.

The sad truth about our society, including those who consider themselves intellectuals with high moral standards and progressive beliefs, is that it still hates women who own their sexuality. From childhood, we are consistently told to be beautiful, sexy, cute, innocent, fuckable, coy, and sexpots. We are given personality types based on how we look or dress–beautiful women are dumb bitches, glamorous women are stupid sluts, fat women are funny friends, skinny women are anorexic attention whores, and so on–rather than who we are. And when we contradict the stereotypes people feel comfortable with, the world doesn’t like it much.

There’s a very specific image of female porn stars–not men, because the men are either considered sexy Casanovas or gross old men, neither garnering criticism the same way female stars do. Women who do porn are primarily viewed as dumb hags who weren’t smart enough to get “real jobs.” With the exception of, say, Sasha Grey and Stoya who have achieved some mainstream success in artsy circles, most women who do porn are seen as dirty, untalented and stupid. The hilarious thing about these notions, of course, is that there’s a plethora of intelligent, business-savvy women who have built careers, companies and brands on doing adult film. As we saw in our interview with Savanna Samson recently, porn stars are more than capable at having large, successful companies, being great parents, and serving as excellent role models. Every industry has some dumb people–really, take a look around your office right now–but the vast majority of women in the adult industry are not brainless, and they deserve the same respect you would show to anybody else who tells you their job titles.

Indeed, Knox has been attacked online by those who wish to silence her with cruel words, slut shaming and actual threats. A few of those:

  • You should slit your wrists and die, you stupid bitch
  • We are going to throw garbage at her every fucking day!!! let’s do it GREEK FRAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The school should either expel her, or we will take matters into our own hands and make this fuck up suffer. cheers!
  • FUCK YOU!!!! IF I SEE U WALKING ON CAMPUS I WILL KICK YOU IN THE FACE!

Naturally, when she went to the police about these threats (and they are indeed threats–throwing things at people, kicking them in the face, and making them “suffer” are violent acts), she was asked if she had recently bothered any guys. No action was taken, as per usual, because threats are so funny and meaningless!

Duke University may consider itself to be filled with intelligent human beings who live in the 21st century, but clearly, it is overflowing with obtuse children who not only believe in and perpetuate sexism, but also don’t seem to understand the concept of supply and demand. In her piece, Belle Knox elaborates on this:

The adult industry racks up $13.3 billion in the U.S. alone, and do we honestly wish collective evil, shame and condemnation upon every human being involved in this gigantic (and I would add, legitimate) business? …

Do you really think you are better than us? Perhaps ask your husband or boyfriend or son or brother (or your wife or girlfriend or daughter or sister) if they have ever watched porn. Do they also deserve bad things and terrifying threats against their safety? No? Then look at the double standard you are employing. Look at the hate you are so comfortable inflicting upon the performers but not on the consumers who drive the industry’s success and profitability.

When a person clicks on porn, they are supporting it, and therefore have no right to critique those in it; that would be the equivalent of going to McDonald’s, buying a quarter pounder, then standing outside to picket the fast food industry. And really, she’s right: if a person feels the need to voice his or her disdain and disgust at an adult film star, then why not extend that hatred to those who are directly paying for that person’s career?

But then, wouldn’t all of these issues be null and void if we simply acknowledged that some people have sex for a living? Our own Cathryn, whose Harlotry series has been one of our longest-running columns ever, has had to lie about her own career path simply because so many refuse to accept it as a choice–her choice. And that’s what this comes down to: when a person chooses to do something that does not hurt themselves or anybody else, it should not be an explosive issue. It should not be an issue. It is not an issue.

Photo: Belle Knox’s Facebook.