Belle Knox Being Smart Is Actually Pretty Normal, and Oh, by the Way, GET OVER the Porn vs. Feminism Issue Already!

Not a very big deal, actually. And also pretty awesome.

I’m so happy to see that Belle Knox is going way public about her choice of career, and defending herself eloquently in print and on television. I’m so glad there’s been a lot of support for her (alongside all the endless bashing) on the internet. And I’m so gratified–this is a bit trickier to explain–that she’s providing proof that Sasha Grey was not the one and only example of a “smart girl doing porn.”

This is not to say that Sasha Grey wasn’t a great example of the fact that intelligent and articulate young women can’t go into porn: she was. But she made a point of being “the smart porn star,” much like Stoya is doing now and Lorelei Lee did before her. The difference is that Belle Knox was perfectly happy–and expecting–to just do porn while being smart, without making a big deal about her intelligence. She wasn’t like, “Hey look at me! I’m smart! And I do porn! OMG pay attention to me!” She was outed against her will, and now she’s representing like a boss. I get the feeling that all the trolls expected her to get the spotlight shoved in her face and to immediately have a breakdown, spew some pseudo-feminist sorta-arguments, and start crying before crawling off Duke’s campus and away from the cameras to wither her youth away in a trailer home somewhere. But instead, she’s throwing everything the media and the internet and, yes, even naysaying feminists right back at whoever’s dishing it out, and with panache. But she’s not doing it because she wanted attention called to her intelligence and sexual performance: she’s doing it because she’s had all of this thrown at her and she just happens to be equipped to catch it and toss back a mean curve ball.

Because here’s the thing that so many people in my recent writing/reading/commenting experience refuse to believe, but which is nevertheless goddamn true: there are lots of smart women in porn. Plenty of them. They’re just no all going around to the talk shows because they’re not in the news about it at the moment. I could name you, without even having to think about it, ten extremely intelligent women (and men) I know who choose to do porn to make most of their money, who enjoy it, who are savvy and slick about the way they do business. (Kelly Shibari, Dylan Ryan, Asphyxia Noir, Bobbi Starr, Kimberly Kane, Courtney Trouble, Ashley Blue, Nyomi Banxxx, April Flores, Dana DeArmond… there are plennnnty more. Asia Carrera is in goddamn MENSA, for crying out loud.) They got into porn because they wanted to, and they stayed because they liked it. They are not drug addicts or victims of coercion or desperation. They’re women. Who like taking off their clothes and having sex in front of a camera. Big whoop. Get OVER it.

They’re not spending all their time and energy defending their right to be intelligent and make porn, because that spotlight hasn’t shown so brightly on them. But if they were called to action, you’d better believe they’d come out swinging with multisyllables and a hell of a surprising left hook.

The point is: Belle Knox isn’t an outlier. She’s not all that exceptional. But her situation is, and she’s working it. And that makes me happy.

On another note: I am getting sick of the “can we be feminists and watch porn” question. It was brought up today by somebody on Twitter, and then I read Belle Knox’s latest article on xoJane about how she’s getting all kinds of shit from feminists for being a “bad feminist” for doing rough porn. And… ugh. I’m so over it. I guess because I’ve been trying to talk about it for years and it seems like nobody is listening, but also because the implied idea there is that so much porn out there is exploitative and unfeminist (at best–anti-woman entirely at worst) and as feminists we shouldn’t watch that stuff… and because we are not willing to do the work of typing the word “feminist porn” or “ethical porn” into Google, or paying for the porn that’s out there what isn’t blatantly antithetical to feminist ideals… We should just not ever watch porn? Because, like, porn is bad?

Arrrgh! Ok, I get that for lots of people, porn is a five-minutes-and-done, let’s-get-this-over-with kind of thing. But if you’re thinking about it enough, and disgusted enough by what you’ve seen, to be pondering the philosophy of whether it’s ok to watch what you’ve watched… try devoting some goddamn energy to finding better porn, because you clearly want to. Instead of spending all this tiem and energy fretting over whether it’s ok, do some research, take ten minutes to do a Google search and some reading about different companies that make ethical porn. Then spend a few bucks on a membership or a movie from any of the numerous and worthy feminist and/or ethical pornographers out there, see if you like it. If not, keep moving. When you find something that works for you, then tell everybody about the good stuff you found. Quit pondering. Start doing. For fuck’s sake.
Porn is not a monolothic evil empire run by some dude with a bad combover, huge handlebar mustache, and lots of gold necklaces (although in my graphic novel it is, because that idea is too funny not to pounce on). It is not a Bad Thing That Gets You Off. It is a collection of thousands of human beings who are all in it for different reasons and who want to make some money. Some of those people are dirtbags who prey upon newbie women who don’t know what they’re in for and mercilessly exploit them. That’s true. But plenty of them are thinking, feeling individuals who really want to show the world honest and beautiful depictions of human sexuality in its many forms, and those people deserve to do well. But if you can’t be bothered to do some digging to find them, then you’re doomed to YouPorn and PornHub and all the crap that lies therein, and the people who make the good stuff will not get your money or support.

GRUMP! Ok, enough ranting. I’m out. Time for some veggie-sausages and cous-cous, y’all.

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. I Am A Pop-Culture Wizard | Lynsey G
  2. Sex News! I love it! March 30, 2014 – Sex in Words

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.