Porn star’s right to education

While we read stories about heinous crimes committed against women in our part of the world, it hardly occurs to us that such and even worse crimes are committed across the globe, especially in what we call ‘developed’ and ‘civilised’ countries such as the United States of America.

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Lest we forget, let’s remind ourselves once more that patriarchy and hypocrisy are unfortunately a universal phenomena.

Take for example, the instance of a girl who belonged to a middle-class family in the US. Like any other ambitious teen, she wanted to graduate from her dream school, the prestigious Duke University in North Carolina, free of debt. Her family had already suffered a significant financial crisis and so, she wanted to finance her education herself.

She turned to acting in adult movies.

In February this year, when she returned to college after Christmas break, she found lots of friend requests on Facebook from random male students as well as a Twitter following from a student in her class. This, of course, was not unusual.

But what followed hit her like an iceberg.

She was bullied, harassed, called a slut and even received threats of violence and death. An online campaign was circulated to shame her and a thread even appealed to the management of Duke University, asking them to expel this freshman and save the university’s name from disgrace.

It was then that she realised that her secret identity had been revealed by a male student who had seen her on the internet and she was dismayed because he had promised her that he wouldn’t disclose it to anyone.

Her crime was simply that she wanted to get an education from a renowned university and had been forced by circumstances to pay her tuition fee by acting in adult movies.

Her name is Miriam Weeks and in the dark world of internet pornography she is known as Belle Knox.

While defending her decision to act in adult movies in order to finance her education, Miriam said,

“I couldn’t afford the $60,000 tuition fee and I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt, doing something I absolutely loved.”

She went on to say that the internet didn’t dictate her life and that acting in adult movies didn’t somehow mean that she owed an explanation to the world about every choice she made. Pointing out the society’s hypocrisy, she said that while a porn consumer is celebrated, a porn actor is considered shameful and immoral.

Even more ironic is the fact that Thomas Bagley, the freshman who ratted out Miriam as a porn star, spent $1000 a month on the subscription of a porn site.

Unfortunately, this two-faced social predicament is universal. No eyebrows are raised, nor are any fingers pointed and neither is shame brought to those who drive the success of a billion dollar industry – its consumers. Every Tom, Dick and Harry can watch inappropriate content and love adult movie actors but they just can’t stand such an actor pursuing education at a top university; they can’t digest an adult movie actor working at a renowned organisation.

Simply put, they just cannot bear to see her in any role of life other than the adult movie industry.

Although I don’t agree with Miriam Weeks’ decision to turn to the adult content industry to finance her education since there were other options available such as  college aid and scholarships, my point is that she made a choice and she is happy with it.

In no way does this make her unfit for any college.

I suppose an even more two-faced scenario would be if a university had given admission to a prostitute. Parents might never throw their children out of the house for watching porn but they would definitely take their children out of such an institution as a gesture of sanctimonious behaviour.

It’s no secret that there exists a certain Pecksniffianism when it comes to the subject of sex. Sex is always considered to be positive for men; something that should be celebrated and something that all men should strive to achieve. A man who has a number of affairs is celebrated as a playboy or a Casanova, whereas a woman who has affairs is demonised as immoral and depraved.

Pick any TV show or movie today and you’ll see the male protagonist as a charming playboy who has an affair with every woman he lays his eyes upon. Never will you see the female lead in such a role. According to Jean Kilbourne, an author and speaker on Advertising’s Image of Womenwomen these days are expected to be ‘experienced virgins’, that is, women are expected to be beautiful and overtly sexual but must somehow retain their innocence and purity.

Although Miriam Weeks decided not to return to college because of the threats of violence, rape and even death, she recently said that she’ll continue with her education.

And I say, good luck to her!

Previously published on The Express Tribune

A quick short note on Hypocrisy

Once upon a time in recent past a (female) friend of mine commented “LMFAO” on my facebook status; another (male) friend of mine told me that he found it strange to see that such a comment came from a female. I wondered and asked why it was strange to him. He said that it’s just not appropriate for a female to use words like this. I said why? Why can’t girls LMFAO? He said it was the word Ass that made it unreasonable for a girl to use it. I told him not to take words way too literally as it was just an phrase to express one’s excitement or laughter just like the words yahoo, yippee etc.

Such is a predicament of our society in general. There are a number of deeds which are taken for granted and treated as normal if done by men, but the same actions become more wrong and even sinful if done by women. For example, nothing happens if we see a man drinking or smoking a cigarette, but many an eyebrows are raised at a woman doing the same. Though drinking and smoking are bad irrespective of who drinks and smokes. The same kind of hypocrisy is witnessed with regards to watching adult movies by men ‘cos it’s a “guy thing”, whereas it’s a “no-no thing” for women ‘cos they are supposed to be emotionally weak so they are more likely to give themselves over to sinning.

What is worse is the fact that in our morally, ethically, traditionally and religiously rich society it is socially acceptable for a man (single or married)  to sleep with as many women as he wants and he will still be dealt with normally by his family, friends and relatives. Whereas if a woman luxuriates in such an act, she becomes an outcast, she loses the respect and gets even killed by her father or husband or brother, on the other hand she can never kill a womanizing father or husband or brother. One just wonders why there are words such as whore, prostitute, slut etc for a woman who apparently hangs out with guys, whereas no such words for a man who parties with women. The worse is that a woman who is alleged to have an affair with one person might never get married as no man will accept her, whereas a man even if he has had affairs with many women would still be able to get as many brides from respectable families as he likes.

The irony is that even women themselves are no lesser hypocrites. A mother might never accept a smoking girl or a girl who was allegedly involved in premarital affair as a bride for his son, but she will less likely have any objection to getting her daughter married to a man with the same traits. The thing which is most horribly wrong with our society is the behavior with rape victims. Though a girl is victimized, still she loses all reasons to live a respectable life in our society. In most tragic scenarios, she kills herself to rid herself as well as her family of any so-called disrespect meted out by the society. A girl getting raped and subsequently killing herself used to be an important scene in movies of yore.

I am in no way trying to suggest that women should treat themselves to such things, but all I want to say is that anything bad should be treated as bad irrespective of who does it, and everyone, whether male or female, doing it should be treated the same way.

There is too much of it…

The cricket trio was bashed and smashed for putting the country to shame. They must be clung upside down at liberty chowk and be bashed and bumped, as suggested by my friend Ryan. Yes, they must be indeed. Abhi zakhm bhare hi thay [the wounds were merely healed…loose translation] that Kamran Akmal caused another shame to the country in match against NZ. He too be banged on liberty chowk, live. In fact, I’m of the opinion that everyone bringing shame to the country by means of corruption [of any kind] be bonked, bopped, whapped and whopped.

There is too much hypocrisy here, more than we can imagine. We waste no time in calling for accountability [punishment, to be specific] when we hear about any kind of misuse of power and responsibility by a politician and/or sports celebrity, perhaps because none of them happens to be our family member or friend or close relative. I ask, why don’t we ever put ourselves, our family members, friends and relative to accountability when we know exactly that they are involved in corruption, misuse of power, and any crime we can think of? Why don’t we ever ask the same people where do such large amount of bucks come from when their monthly remuneration plus perks aren’t that good? We don’t, ’cause we accept it as inevitable part of any job here. BUT, but but, we hate to the skies everyone else for doing such acts.

We forgive and forget whatever wrongs we do here in our own homes, but leave no page unturned if the same wrongs are done by some politicians and sportsmen on the pretext that they are representing the whole nation. Here I may beg to ask do we not, individually, represent our country? Yes we do, and that’ the reason Transparency International has been including our homeland in its list of elite corrupt nations on earth.

Like charity, Revolution should also begin at home. Let’s put ourselves to la reddition de comptes and there it will be.