Although this post is over a year old, I believe that this is an excellent write-up on how pornography has so infiltrated our society that it has become the “norm” in our culture.  Furthermore, the questions Matt asks at the end are an important concept when debating the porn issue, especially with those in the industry.  I would remind all members that read this that they not go searching for this Duke student as that would constitute “acting out” by most recovery plans.  As always, take what you like and leave the rest. 

Originally posted at http://mattfradd.com/duke-universitys-porn-star/
by mattfradd

You’ve probably heard the news: A freshman at Duke University is doing porn. Word got out that she was a “porn star” and so she decided to defend her decision by giving an interview to Duke’s student newspaper.

You’re Shocked, Why?

Why, exactly, are people shocked at this? We live in a pornographic culture; one that glorifies fornication, pushes contraception, and justifies (celebrates?) abortion.

And now it’s come to light that one woman at university is doing what many other women are doing at university with one, maybe two, distinctions: 1) There’s a camera rolling; 2) she’s getting paid.

Why is she doing porn?

The answer is actually quite simple. I couldn’t afford $60,000 in tuition, my family has undergone significant financial burden, and I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt, doing something I absolutely love. Because to be clear: My experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling and empowering.

How We Should Respond

Many people who oppose pornography cling to the belief that the only reason a woman would do porn is because 1) she experienced some sort of trauma (sexual or otherwise) as a child, 2) she’s desperate for money but really doesn’t want to be doing it, and/or 3) she’s been manipulated into it somehow.

This isn’t always the case and so it isn’t all that helpful to argue in the following way:

1. Most porn stars have been abused.

2. Many porn stars have been coerced or manipulated into doing porn.

3. Therefore porn is wrong.

Someone could rightly retort, “but what about the one’s who, like this girl at Duke, find it fun and empowering?” That’s a good objection; a devastating one to the argument above.

It’s helpful, I think, to distinguish between the motivations and consequences of an certain action, and the action itself.

A thing isn’t necessarily right or wrong because of what motivated a person to do it (perhaps a woman’s past abuse is what motivates her to reach out to and help sex workers!). Nor is a thing necessarily wrong because of it’s consequences (if the oral contraceptive pill one day becomes as healthy and natural as a vitamin supplement, Catholics would still oppose it, even though it no longer had any negative consequences).

Porn is wrong, in part, because it removes sexual intimacy from the partners and displays it to the public in order to arouse lust, an inappropriate/warped desire. It, as I’ve said many times, is reductive. It reduces a person to the lowest common denominator and says, “that’ll do me fine.” A quote often attributed to (soon to be saint) John Paul II (though I’ve never been able to track it down) is “pornography isn’t wrong because it shows too much. It’s wrong because it shows too little of the human person.”

But how should we respond to porn stars who say they enjoy making porn? Not by telling them they’re lying (unless you’re a mind reader you probably don’t have access to that information). Instead we might pose a question: Does a woman’s inability to perceive her own dignity give you or me the right to take from her whatever she’s willing to give? If a woman forgets her intrinsic worth, or, if she refuses to accept it, or mistakenly thinks that porn is an exercise of her freedom, does that give you or me the right to objectify her?

Is this what masculinity amounts to? So long as we don’t rape her we’re technically being good boys?

Abuse and the Performer

I do think it’s true, however, that many women who end up in the sex industry did experience some kind of abuse or neglect (that’s at least been my experience in conversing with those in the industry). Even popular porn performers like J. Jameson admit to this. In her autobiography she concedes that she would lie to interviewers (Howard Stern in this case) about having been abused as a younger girl because she didn’t want anyone to think that she got into the industry as a “victim.” Her story brought me to tears. As she was walking home one day she was offered a ride by some football players. They drove her out into the desert, beat her in the head with a rock and gang-raped her (Hail Mary…). And this she says had absolutely nothing to do with her future career choice. Well, perhaps it didn’t, but I’m doubtful.

The women that I know who used to be in the industry tell me two things: 1) they’d never admit that they were abused, and 2) they all lied about loving sex while they were in the industry. One former performer explains why:

I used to brag endlessly to fans and pornographers about my extreme “Italian” sex drive and how I loved making porn movies. I would go on and on about how I needed more and more to fulfill my insatiable appetite. I lied 100% of the time to 100% of the people. Lying is the native language of porn stars because they can’t afford to tell you the truth. Not only would it ruin the fantasy for their fans but more importantly, it would ruin the amount of their paychecks. Don’t believe porn actresses when they proudly proclaim they enjoy making porn movies. They’re ACTING.

What would you expect them to say? “I really hate this job, the men I perform with make me sick. I resent you for purchasing the porn that allows me to the live the sort of lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to (or, allows me to feed my family and me).”

Let’s pray for Lauren and all those who objectify her. Hail Mary…

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