I Get Email
"Hey Susannah,'At this point in her career, the Duke porn star speaks with as much authority about working in porn as a Nordstrom employee speaks with authority about what it’s like to work at McDonald’s.'
In your Forbes article on the subject (http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2014/02/25/duke-porn-star/), you wrote,
I haven't seen her video or know her name or whatever (I've only read her interview a few days ago), but I think you miss the point. To me, she's playing with powerful symbols to further the noble agenda of aligning the reality of the human condition with the hyperreality/simulacrum of our dominant cultural framework. I mean, Duke in the public eye is a school for rich, white people. That's not the 'truth,' but that's generally what our broader culture perceives it as. If that happens to not be the case, it's at least what her polarizing persona dictates to be the case. Freshman year of college I had a difficult time discussing the rape culture that undergirds our society and the imaginary walls and lanes of social conduct and thought and blah that keep us constrained from helping out those that can't be helped. I went through a period of depression and sadness a la Melinda Sordino of Speak (the novel) because I felt as if I didn't have a voice... and I've struggled over the past year or so because of that. But learning about this Duke freshman, coupled with help from other people and personal therapies of sorts, really helped to save my voice... and for that I am thankful. I don't know how to reach out to this freshman to say thanks, nor do I feel the need to do so (because it seems to me that she has a fairly good/healthy support system of her own), but I'd like it if you didn't compare her cause and the cause of sex workers to that of Nordstrom and McDonald's employees. While they have their own sets of issues, which may or may not be comparable, the fact of the matter is this: sex workers are undocumented. What you or I may see on the Internet is just the tip of the iceberg. By opening up dialogue about the nature of human/female sexuality and our society's relationship with porn, we can open up further dialogue about the nature of our society and the people at 'the bottom' who had their voices taken away or never even had a voice to begin with. You know, the drug addicts, the rape victims, the murdered, etc. Who knows, maybe eventually people will realize that 'evil' (or at least the normative notion of evil) is without center, void yet ever present, an insidious threadwork pervasively stitched through us all.
P.S. Yeah, she's probably in the .01% of sex workers that are treated well, but who else is going to speak up? Where else? If she's able to secure her continuance as a student at Duke, then I hope she speaks as loud, and as far, as possible. Because that is a voice that will be heard. Hopefully this last comment doesn't seem incongruous to you, because to me it kind of ties my whole message together. It's from Kanye West's Twitter, and it's something he posted a couple weeks ago: 'Ten years later I am still the same kid from Chicago, still dreaming out loud, still banging on the door. The doors may be heavier, but I promise you WE WILL BREAK THEM.' Replace the word 'Chicago' with any place, and the message is applicable to anyone trying to understand and trying to help. She secured her position as a student and they can't take away her voice or her right to be a student because of her polarizing position in the sex industry. Kanye West secured his position as a hugely successful artist and 'they' can't take that away from him, either. If anything, the last question on my mind before I head off to bed is, Why all of the hate? What are 'they' afraid of? That, to me, is the question that strikes at the core heart of the matter."