Porn is a job too

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University and college cost thousands of dollars, and education is expected as a rite of passage for young people in our society. When there’s no financial support from family, and supporting oneself financially becomes difficult throughout school, things can look bleak.

One student at Duke University in North Carolina, known as Belle Knox, willingly took a job in the porn industry to make ends meet. She has been highly criticized for selling her body; however, she stands by a bold public statement that she thoroughly enjoys her work and has made the right decision.

In many ways, porn is an easily understandable job path: it’s extremely lucrative, encourages knowledge of sexual health, and puts the individual in a position where they can explore their sexual boundaries and tastes, or use porn as a sexual and creative outlet. Knox says she has found this work extremely fulfilling and even empowering.

Knox has chosen to do this profession, which has therefore put her in a position of empowerment. By fully embracing her role as a sex worker, she’s able to encourage others to speak out about why working in the porn industry is okay—when it’s a healthy and consensual decision.

Remembering men also work in porn, she also says the idea that a woman could truly want this for herself, and be comfortable in this role, is a very powerful concept. Acknowledging pornography as a legitimate occupation is new and different and hard to accept because it goes directly against traditional schools of thought in this area: that porn exploits women for the benefit of a primarily male consumer base.

The porn industry is huge, highly in demand, and legal. If an employer makes pornography into a comfortable and respectful work environment, porn becomes a viable employment option. Provided that sex, or even rough sex (as Knox mentions), is safe and consensual, it should be considered okay. Porn that demonstrates informed and consensual rough sex could be beneficial—in this kind of sex, education and communication are key.

Awareness workers like Knox must be patient and handle criticism while striving to challenge the stigma behind porn—the stigma that implies only those who are in desperate need do pornography. We must learn to not associate porn with only desperation, but move toward it being a respectable choice. Despite her initial decision to do porn out of financial desperation, she also states that she’d do this type of work regardless of whether it was to pay for school.

However, the reality is that financial need is how it all began for Knox. Knox may experience negative repercussions from this line of work further down the road. As long as she is consenting, however, she can be responsible for herself and her actions.

That Knox is fervent to talk about her position, and share and defend her opinion is beneficial to students and any young and empowered person. Creating a dialogue around pornography, and sex work in general, is a good start, and could contribute to a healthier, more open attitude toward sex workers, the porn industry, and individual preference.

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