Duke freshman Lauren* receives death threats. In hopes of becoming a lawyer, she decided the most efficient way to reach her goal without racking up on government loans or depending on her parents to fund her education, is by finding the kind of employment she’d enjoy. Employment that comes with an ample salary enough to pay off college tuition. The cost of college tuition being nearly $60,000 per year at Duke. Lauren* turned to the porn industry.
• You should slit your wrists and die, you stupid bitch
• We are going to throw garbage at her every fucking day!!! let’s do it GREEK FRAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
• The school should either expel her, or we will take matters into our own hands and make this fuck up suffer. cheers!
• FUCK YOU!!!! IF I SEE U WALKING ON CAMPUS I WILL KICK YOU IN THE FACE!
As reported in a penned essay featured on xojane, Lauren* exposes the threats assailed by fellow peers whom attend Duke. Lauren* responds:
“I suppose I should not be surprised by this level of disrespect as to my welfare and safety. I suppose I should not be shocked at the lack of sensitivity I have been afforded. Because, sadly, these are the realities that women — especially sex workers — face every day. We are scorned by the very same people that encourage us to be sexual (“come on, baby,” “you know you want to,” “you’re so hot”) — and, in, my case, the hypocritical society that watches me behind a computer screen.
I may never have a normal life again. But if I’ve exposed the insanity and the unfair standards that all women and especially my sisters in the sex industry face — if I’ve challenged the way that people view female sexuality — then this journey has been worth it. Society tries to tell women that our worth is contingent upon the secrecy of our sexuality, but I will not be silenced.
Because, for anyone who is telling me to “shut up,” please dissuade yourself right now of the delusion that you control or own me. It is not your right or your place to tell me to be silent.
I am not your child or your property or your Madonna or your whore.
I stand for every woman who has ever been tormented for being sexual — for every woman who has been harassed, ostracized and called a slut for exerting her sexual autonomy — and for every woman who has been the victim of The Double Standard.
You want to see me naked. And then you want to judge me for letting you see me naked.
Society may feel like they are in control of my identity, but I refuse to let the dark corners of the Internet determine my future. Spend a minute Googling, and you will find these awful cesspools of hate and judgment and threats. These anonymous chat boards are determined to tell me what name I need to use (my birth name instead of my porn name), where I belong (I’m not good enough for Duke, apparently) and what I deserve (death, rape, humiliation).
The truth of the matter is this: I am one identity when I am a student. I’m another when I do porn. And no one controls either — but me.
Today, I am choosing to reveal my porn identity to the world.
My name is Belle Knox, and I wear my Scarlet Letter with pride.”
* * *
You might wonder how all this hatred came about? One night a first year frat at Duke (who shall remain anonymous because anonymity should be respected), watched porn. He noticed the actress named Belle Knox bear resemblance to Lauren*. To confirm his suspicion, he approached Lauren* on campus to confirm his findings. Lauren* revealed that yes, she is Belle Knox but for the sake of privacy and to dispel imposed opinions of her choice of employment, she would like her true identity to remain separate from her pseudonym Belle Knox. The frat vowed not to spread the news around campus. Guess it was difficult for him to stand by his word as The Duke Chronicle reports:
“At his next fraternity rush event, he divulged this discovery to the older brothers and the news took off from there. It was the climax heard ‘round campus.”
* * *
The debate bubbling on internet blogs, news publications, and commentary sections is if Lauren* classifies as a millennial feminist because for her firm defense against sexism.
feminism: a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women
The perpetrators responsible for harassing Lauren* are offended that she has complete autonomy of her sexuality. That she challenges the traditional stereotypes and puritanical beliefs placed on women that suggests women are inferior to men, “the weaker vessel in both body and mind”.
Advocating social rights for equal treatment among genders illustrates that Lauren* is a feminist.
No way am I glamorizing pornography. Laurens* choice of employment as a porn star is just that, her choice.
Accepting sexual equality is the bigger issue here.
Click below and learn more about Laurens* story!
Lauren* is a false name used for the sole purpose of anonymity.