The Duke porn star (“star”?) has legs, evidently. Here we are on Wednesday and she’s still in the news, this time with something approaching a full-on manifesto.
Two points: (1) Since she elsewhere professes to embrace real-deal libertarianism as part of the explanation for why porn is a no-shame lifestyle choice, I found this bit curious:
Of course, I do fully acknowledge that some women don’t have such a positive experience in the industry. We need to listen to these women. And to do that we need to remove the stigma attached to their profession and treat it as a legitimate career that needs regulation and oversight.
I had always supposed that the Libertarians for Regulation and Oversight club was pretty small. But maybe not.
(2) Then there’s this section:
It terrifies us to even fathom that a woman could take ownership of her body. We deem to keep women in a place where they are subjected to male sexuality. We seek to rob them of their choice and of their autonomy. We want to oppress them and keep them dependent on the patriarchy. A woman who transgresses the norm and takes ownership of her body — because that’s exactly what porn is, no matter how rough the sex is — ostensibly poses a threat to the deeply ingrained gender norms that polarize our society.
I am well aware: The threat I pose to the patriarchy is enormous. That a woman could be intelligent, educated and CHOOSE to be a sex worker is almost unfathomable.
Without taking sides in the Patriarchy vs. Duke Porn Star fight (although if you don’t take the Patriarchy plus the points, you’re a sucker) I am struck by the lack of historical perspective.
Once upon a time, we had this amazing research device called Lexis-Nexis. It stored information from a whole host of places and it was easily searchable via an electronic interface. You could go back to stories from the New York Times in the 1970s with a few keystrokes; could pull up transcripts of every newscast of the last 30 years. It was awesome. Anytime you wanted to research something, you’d sit down to Lexis-Nexis, spend a few hours, sifting through documents, print yourself a couple hundred pages, and then hunker down to read them. Research has never been so painless.
And as a result, everyone knew that before you opened your mouth about anything, you really had to go to Lexis-Nexis first, so that you didn’t sound stupid.
But then the internet happened and the Google. And people pretty much forgot about Lexis-Nexis. So research became a jaunt through the first three pages of Google results, maybe a footnote or two from Wikipedia, and that was that. Entire careers were made out of this sort of “research.” The net effect of which was that, to the internet culture, anything that came before the internet and wasn’t catalogued by Google simply didn’t exist.
Yet at the risk of sounding like an old fogey, it would shock you how much stuff isn’t on Google.
But then came Twitter, which is essentially unsearchable. Oh sure, you can theoretically search Twitter and you can sift backwards through timelines, but not with any real dexterity. And the net effect of Twitter on the internet mind was to convince people that every single thought was brand new.
I mention this because Nina Hartley was making the intellectual, sex-positive case for feminism from within the porn industry back when the Duke porn star’s dad was still learning to shave.
You wouldn’t know it from her Wikipedia page, which only gives a brief nod to Hartley’s feminist work. Or from Google searches–PageRank can’t really disentangle the “porn” from the “feminism”–but Hartley (and with lesser acclaim, Annie Sprinkle) were up on these ramparts decades ago. (And, if we can be candid, with more intellectual panache.)
All of that aside, I’m pretty much down with Duke porn star’s middle-class critique about college costs and the rigged game of financial aid. She’d be much better off trying to be “A Voice of her Generation” on that score than laying siege to the Patriarchy.
But then, I would say that.