Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You're Exploiting [Name Here] To Further Your Agenda

I've been hearing this phrase thrown around a lot towards those with the stance of anti-porn over the past year. The reason why I'm talking about this now is due to the fact that it has now been used on me courtesy of Duke Porn Star Belle Knox. Many know of her story of how she paid her college tuition doing a scene containing "rough" sex. I've seen clips of that scene and what it contained is nothing I care to repeat. That being said, I take the stance that porn imagery can very well play a part in sexual assaults. Of course, it's not the primary cause, but it ranks at the top for popular influences. She is now headlining a "reality" sex competition called Sex Factor recruiting new porn performers by voting through social media. The winner gets to do a scene with Belle and others I would imagine. To move this topic along, it was apparent Belle didn't like the comparison of what she portrays on screen to sexual assault. There was a very disturbing story recently released about a sexual assault of a teenage girl which I've shared with Knox tagging "this is the legacy you're leaving behind" ('Viral' Rape of 16 Year Old Jada). She responded in kind saying "shame on you" for exploiting Jada and you know the rest. 

As I said in the beginning, I've heard this phrase used on others who made similar comparisons. If you take a moment to look at the word 'agenda', it'll mean one of two things: an underlying motive in benefit of a certain person/group or a set of things to be considered or discussed. The fact that I openly take a stance against what pornography represents with this platform that's available to me immediately puts me into a box as having an agenda or ulterior motive. If it means that I hope that people start working together to make necessary changes to benefit the future then yeah I guess I do have an agenda. I don't speak for anyone, but myself. I share what's on my heart, not what's based on a trend just to take a side. When I read those horrific stories, I can't help to think what if it was my sister. I imagine the tears running down my mother and grandmother's faces wondering what they could have done to prevent it. Is that not something worth fighting to prevent? I can say I understand why Knox might have initially taken this as a personal attack. That was not the intention, but I can't say I like being accused of exploiting a poor girl whose life has drastically changed to further a so-called agenda. This is about spreading this story so things like this won't happen to anymore of our young girls. That's my humanity speaking. At any rate, I do hope Belle has the time and patience to read this. More than likely she won't, but I'm doing this because I feel the need to. This is not a post bashing Belle Knox (a.k.a. Miriam Weeks) as a person, but it's to bring attention the kinds of images she contributes to.

Part of the problem is that people are not willing to sit down and discuss the real issues that are happening right now. From my perspective, I do agree that excessive porn use and most images portrayed in porn is a problem, but I can also say that it is not the only one. I agree with you, Belle, about how ridiculously expensive it is to go to college. I'm currently putting myself through college and I know first hand at how much money goes out compared to coming in. I actually commend you for calling the government out on how backwards their system works. Added to that, prices for food, gas, and other necessities continue to get higher, but wages stay the same. There are people/families right now trying to survive on the streets because things didn't pan out for them. Impoverished communities that have no hope of being better than what their environment allows them to be are still in existence. I come from such a community. People are being convinced that there is no hope of getting out of their situation in hopes for a better life. Like I said, Belle, I agree with you, but obviously that is where the agreement ends. 

Just so you know the difference, I didn't personally attack you if that's what you're thinking. It's about sharing a story of a family that has changed due to unfortunate circumstances. I hope the guys that did it will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. With that in mind, I have seen a lot of arguments that porn images have nothing to do with what happens in these types of situations. An inquiring mind begs to ask the question where this kind of behavior comes from. These young men didn't learn how to rape through experiencing puberty and growing pains alone. There was some kind of irresponsibility on their parent's part and some kind of exposure to that kind of behavior whether it be porn or otherwise. Most porn produced facilitates that image and makes light of that kind of behavior. Otherwise, there wouldn't be people who are led to believe that it's normal. That is the reason I have a hard time believing that what you've portrayed in scenes is not being used as some form of "training" that influences sexual assault. I don't pretend to know how you personally think. What you experienced in your life and your feelings will always belong to you. The fact is, whether you know it or not, you are in an important position to influence a lot of young women out there especially those who engage in self harm. I'm sure that there are plenty of them that are waiting to follow your lead right at this moment. Just think about that. 

I took the time to read your blog posts. The thing that caught my attention is advocating for people who harm themselves. That is very noble of you, but problem is the situation as a whole is quite contradictory. Self harm is something I can't imagine going through, but from the outside looking in it seems you've traded one vice for another. Instead of leaving physical scars, you are leaving internal ones. Like I said, Belle, you are in the position to lead a lot of people. There are those who want the pain to go away so badly they will do anything for it to happen which may include following in your footsteps and what's to stop that from going horribly wrong? Bottom line, you could be the catalyst to initiate change instead of becoming another spoke on the wheel. I really hope that you can find a viable career when you graduate with your degree because now that you have put yourself out there for all to see, you will have a tough time not being recognized in a position outside of the porn industry. Just ask ex-porn star Houston who became a real estate agent and eventually rebounded back into porn one last time. 

There are millions of opinions out there. I've research opinions from both pro-porn and anti-porn. It's a matter of sex being taken for granted in addition sex being viewed as a "dirty thing". Sexuality is one of the fundamental things that makes us human. There's no doubt about that. When a person sees someone like you in a demeaning position and do all the "slut shaming", those are the ones who see you as nothing more than what you portray on screen because they don't see anything different. It's the same people who didn't give a damn when Alyssa Funke committed suicide. The simple fact is she didn't belong in porn in the first place. Whatever she was feeling when she killed herself was already there before she did porn and she didn't get the help that she needed. You're right about one thing. Society does play a part in that in how people who do sex work are treated, but the porn industry has some part of the blame because they are constantly trying to 1-up the naysayers by crossing lines. It's one thing to be sexually free, but it's another thing to parade sex around as an entitled act. It's practically why guys like Max Hardcore continued producing porn for so long. Do you think that they care that you are a real person off camera? You think that they care that you are recovering from self harm? All that matters is how valuable a product you are before they move on the next fresh face. That is why things like "slut shaming" will not end because people are afraid to rock the boat wanting to make change. You are in a position to initiate a change in that. Treatment of women needs to improve. If it leaves constant scars, whether seen or unseen, it's nowhere near healthy entertainment. 

The porn industry as well as other organizations has shown that money means more to them than people and that's where it all gets backwards. What you do now contributes to what kind of legacy you're leaving behind. If the industry was so caring they would do something about the loopholes in contracts that pretty much say 'as long as you sign this we can do anything we want to you and you can't sue.' Motivate people to be more proactive in their communities to make change of how things are run. You honestly could do that, but in the end who is going to take you seriously now? I'm an optimist. I see how potentially awesome people can be. There's visible drawbacks as a public figure, especially in porn because with things such as social media, what you do professionally outweighs who you are personally and it's a view that needs to change. In a sense, the way our country is run practically creates the sex worker and you're playing right into their hand. The government is essentially a pimp making its cut. There's more money spent on prisons than keep schools open and supplied. As a man, I was always taught to respect women and the same level is respect is given to everyone I meet. I don't agree when people call you or anybody else derogatory names through shaming. You are being portrayed less than a human being. It's an age old thing that people can't believe what they can't always see. You are just another statistic in a lot of eyes. It's true when people say are you are worth more than porn and that you're selling yourself short. That goes for anyone that is still breathing who have aspirations to be something positive. You're still young. There's still more to be learned because everyday is a learning experience if your mind is clear enough. I hope you don't see this is a 'War On Belle Knox' because it's not. Thing is people know you now. What you do with this platform is up to you. Just think to yourself, in the years to come, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?