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Our view: Knox rings our ‘Belles’

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If you are watching porn, you’re just a random individual behind a computer screen. If you star in a skin flick, you’re obviously an uneducated harlot, with no family or ties to the community. At least, that’s what the media might say.

So what happens to students at prestigious universities, with religious families and lofty ambitions who are identified as porn stars?

Miriam Weeks, a freshman at Duke University, was recently identified as ‘Belle Knox’, her stage name as a degradation porn star. Knox indicated that the campus Greek community kicked off the harassment that has now followed her and her family for weeks.

Media headlines have questioned Knox’s consideration for her family in her decision to begin working in porn. We feel that, though probably unavoidable, these media reports unfairly ridicule a student’s choice for part-time work that is helping her pay tuition as she pursues a degree in women’s studies.

“I want to be a women’s rights or civil rights lawyer. Maybe start a foundation for sex workers,” Knox said to NY Daily News.

Knox has defended her work for its ability to empower her as a woman. She has indicated on televised interviews on Fox News, CNN and others that porn has liberated her in ways outside of just simply being a university student.

“I think it’s hard for people to understand the people who do pornography,” she said to NY Daily News. “They’re not always desperate or drug addicted. Some of them really, really enjoy their jobs.”

We feel that the harsh judgment from Thomas Bagley, the student who publicized Knox’s identity, has done more harm than good. Bagley got his two minutes of fame for indentifying Weeks, but the media turmoil that has surrounded Knox and her family has failed to bring about any sort of positive change.

The media should instead spend more of its efforts scrutinizing Bagley’s character as the viewer of the type of porn featured on facialabuse.com, the site where he has watched Knox perform.

Although we do feel that the harsh light that has been cast on Knox is unwarranted, unfair and altogether unnecessary, we do understand that this kind of negative perception was probably inevitable for Knox. Pornography carries a negative connotation, so for a girl to freely choose to engage in this kind of work, she must also be prepared for the kind of scrutiny that would undoubtedly follow her decisions.

Some women in the media have questioned Knox’s understanding of female empowerment, implying that she is simply playing into the male perspective of sexuality. We think that though Knox disagrees with the views of those who are ridiculing her across the media, she couldn’t have expected anything less.

We respect her positive responses to the publicity, and feel that she was spot-on when she commented on the hypocrisy of her harsh critics. She sat in an interview with Piers Morgan and said, “The same society that consumes me is also condemning me.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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