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Belle Knox: "Why I did porn to pay my way through university."

university student porn star

 

This is Belle. Belle wrote an anonymous column last month about how she’s paying for her university degree with a part-time career starring in adult films.

A male student who attends Duke University in North Carolina, USA, recognised her and threatened to expose her real identity. To take control of her own story, Belle beat him to it and identified herself online – posting this picture and sharing her stage name, Belle Knox.

Almost immediately after she told the world who she was, Belle began receiving threats on campus, with some students physically following her, taunting her, and offering helpful suggestions for how she might end her life. Predictably, that sort of abuse has started in the online world too.

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Belle has been told to die in a a variety of explicit ways, as well as being stalked and bullied by anonymous men. Because that’s how the internet treats women – especially women who have sex for a living. Online messages have included: “FUCK YOU!!!! IF I SEE U WALKING ON CAMPUS I WILL KICK YOU IN THE FACE!” and “The school should either expel her, or we will take matters into our own hands and make this fuck up suffer. cheers!”

university student porn star

After she was ‘outed’ by another student, Belle wanted to defend her reputation and chose to tell her story online. And she makes a pretty strong case for the legitimacy of the pornography industry while she’s at it.

“My decision to do porn to pay for college was a private one I made, and then I was outed to my university classmates by another Duke student who had seen me on the internet a few months ago,” Knox wrote for the website XO Jane.

“He proceeded to reveal who I was to all the fraternities and sororities on campus … I started to be harassed. He started to be applauded.”

It seems appropriate to point out that the gentleman who recognised Belle must be a frequent porn-consumer, so he doesn’t really have an aroused hairy leg to stand on when it comes to criticising this woman for her involvement in his favourite hobby. It’s a typical case of shaming the porn star, celebrating the porn watcher. In other words? Bullying the woman, while  high-fiving the man.

But Belle’s not letting online criticism get to her. Girl’s got courage: “The Internet does not dictate my life. My sexuality is not some sort of blackmail to be used against me, granting you ownership over my life or my story. It is my life. It is my story,” she says.

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“So I’m refusing to let the bullies win. I’m also going to let you know exactly the level of hate that exists in America regarding women who refuse to be quiet about their sexuality,” she wrote. “The question I was asked over and over again is this: If I am proud of being an adult performer, then why do I ‘hide’ behind this fake name?”

Her explanation: “Because the bullies of the world — starting with that young Duke man who broke his promise to me — do not dictate my life.  Because my decision to do porn does not somehow mean that the world now ‘owns’ or deserves access to every single thing about me and every choice I make.”

university student porn star

Belle has been dropping some truth bombs about the porn industry in her defence, too: “The adult industry racks up $13.3 billion in the U.S. alone, and do we honestly wish collective evil, shame and condemnation upon every human being involved in this gigantic (and I would add, legitimate) business? Do you really think you are better than us?

“Perhaps ask your husband or boyfriend or son or brother (or your wife or girlfriend or daughter or sister) if they have ever watched porn. Do they also deserve bad things and terrifying threats against their safety? No? Then look at the double standard you are employing. Look at the hate you are so comfortable inflicting upon the performers but not on the consumers who drive the industry’s success and profitability.”

Look, making adult films might not be a conventional part-time job for a university student, but considering the whopping profitability of the global sex industry, it’s a legitimate one. Women like Bella Knox shouldn’t be threatened with brutality and rape online at all. But that abuse becomes hypocritical and even more disturbing when it is coming from the same group of people who make up her audience.

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