"Lauren" explains why she's doing porn to pay for college at Duke.   Photo is in public domain, copyright expired.

“Lauren” explains why she’s doing porn to pay for college at Duke.
Photo is in public domain, copyright expired.

A FEMALE student at Duke reveals she’s paying for her way through this elite school by becoming a porn star. You can imagine what came next. Last week on his radio show, Michael Smerconish said when he read the story about “Lauren” he felt he was being punk’d, though when he threw the question to his staff they disagreed with his assessment that she wasn’t for real.

This story broke while I was in the throes of the final editing phase of my book, so it’s something I wanted to write about, but like so many things these days, I just couldn’t squeeze the time in to do so.

“Lauren” is a libertarian and one thing she wishes most is that people who profess to be libertarian actually stand up to what the word means. From New York Magazine:

The Duke Chronicle pointed out that you’re a college Republican. As a sex worker, is it frustrating to align with the political party enforcing traditional sexual mores?

To clarify, I’m a libertarian who is forced to play within party lines because, at this point, our party isn’t strong enough to get anything done without the backing of the Republican Party. It’s really frustrating that when I tell people I’m in College Republicans they immediately assume I’m a bigot and a homophobe. Duke Republicans is completely pro-gay rights. Calling somebody a Republican is almost an insult and, personally, I hope the party moves toward a more libertarian style wherein they give rights to gays and more respect to women, and it’s not so driven by religion or by theology.

Lauren is extraordinarily naive about politics, especially myopic on how conservative women would judge her, as would many feminists, too. Everyone wanting to rehabilitate her from a life she’s chosen for now.

What’s very hard to get through people’s heads, especially women, is that many females in the adult industry choose this route because of the money they can make. It’s a longer story than just cashing in, because it does wear the women out and whatever glamour and ease greets them, every single female I ever talked with about the industry all wanted to cash out eventually.

“Lauren” is no exception, as you can find out if you read her story.

From Real Clear Politics, an excerpt of an interview with “Lauren”:

Why do you say porn is less demeaning than a service job?

Go to the mall and talk to somebody who works at a hot dog stand and ask them about their job. They go to work at 9 a.m., work until 6 p.m., maybe get two five-minute breaks in the day, make $6.25 an hour before taxes, and they’re on their feet all day. They’re working in conditions that are physically and mentally draining. So they’re making maybe $100 a day before taxes for doing 9 hours of hard physical work. You look at that and look at what I’m doing, making $1,000 for two hours doing what I really love doing, which for me is not degrading and is something I feel safe in, you tell me which industry is demeaning?

People say the porn industry is demeaning, but being in a service industry is degrading in and of itself. You’re basically being stepped on. Any job I would’ve gotten as a minimum wage worker would’ve been exploitative, degrading to me, and not provided the money I needed to make, which was $4,000 month. So why would I work 80 hours a week, struggle with school, barely get any sleep and be treated like a second class citizen, when I can do porn for 14 hours a day, make thousands, set my own hours, and have a ton of fun doing it?

One the experiences I cover in my book is being at the very beginning when adult sites began making money off of the web before any other business. In fact, I was editor-in-chief and political editor at one of the very first sites to make money on the web, a soft-core behemoth (something that doesn’t exist as it did in 1997), which was owned and run by women, the owner getting a front page Wall Street Journal cover, because she beat the boys to the punch on making the web pay.

“Lauren” has gone through quite the gauntlet in revealing herself. It takes a lot of courage, but she has no reason to be ashamed and I hope people have learned that legal sex workers deserve the same protection as any other employee at work. What they simply don’t have and cannot expect in the internet age is privacy. Something they began to combat at the dawn of the internet, when I was part of the first wave of writers covering the politics of sex on the web.

From a Forbes article proving the obvious point:

What was I interested in discovering? Her real identity and her porn identity. Within three minutes, I knew her porn star name. Within five minutes, I was watching a scene from a porn movie in which she had starred.

It’s also not about agreeing with a girl’s choice. It’s about her right to make whatever one she chooses.

When feminism starts being about morality, which it is in the hands of some, it loses what is at its heart, which is freedom. The foundation that can also set up sex workers to do as they please and not be ashamed, in a workplace that won’t exploit them.

What no one can do for porn actresses today is protect their privacy. “Lauren” found that out quickly and it looks like she’s liberated and savvy enough to use it to her benefit and not allow herself to become a victim.