[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42EIKQP4Mto?version=3]

An incoherent new PSA for Belgium’s Equal Pay Day presents Sasha Grey in a context she has yet to willingly place herself: fallen woman as cautionary tale about the horrors of sex work. Either she’s done a complete 180 on the ideas she outlined in her book Neü Sex and every interview she’s ever done, or the PSA people knowingly twisted her words.

In this strange and rather NSFW video, Sasha Grey talks about her experiences in the porn industry while people copulate menacingly(?) in the background. As with any time she discusses her porn past, she says she’s proud of the things she’s done, and that they are a part of who she is:

I liked really dirty things. I’ve been hung upside down, and tied up, and had a 12″ dildo stuck in my ass with my mouth gagged…I’m proud of this. Something I chose to do. Who I am. I’m Sasha Grey.

Then, the ad closes with this non-sequitor:

Porn is about the only way to make more than men. Find a better alternative on equalpayday.be.

Basically, the video is saying that Sasha Grey made a lot of money in porn, and that’s a bad thing, because that’s the only area in which women earn more than men. That porn is gross and dirty is presented as a foregone conclusion here. By having her describe the things she’s done, they are clearly trying to play on people’s squeamishness towards pornography and sex work in general.

Equal Pay Day’s own website admits as much:

In the web commercial we see Sasha in a role she plays well: that of the sweet young woman. She tells us the story of her early professional life. She tells us about the choice she made to leave school aged only 18 years old and to take on a different sort of career. She tells us she earned a decent living. And then the commercial changes in mood. And she tells us with the same sweet smile about the things she had to do to earn all this money. Tough things. Things you wouldn’t do for all the money in the world.

Equal pay is a valuable message, but do we really need to degrade sex workers to espouse it? We don’t need to degrade women’s labor (and success!) in one area in order to highlight the need for improvement in others.

Sasha Grey has never, ever talked about her time in porn as a tragic period in her life. On the contrary, she’s often said she got into it partly to combat the stigma that still exists around porn and sex work in general.

So what to make of this commercial? Grey has yet to comment, but I’m guessing that, like Tyra Banks before them, Equal Pay Day used Sasha Grey’s words to promote a viewpoint she does not support at all. To be fair, though, she could make it harder for people to do this by sounding a bit more psyched when she talks about porn, life, or pretty much anything.

(Via Jezebel)