Duke University Freshman Outed as Porn Star
Duke University Freshman Outed as Porn StarExpand
And the ensuing fallout is raising interesting questions about our acceptance of female sexuality.
It all started when Duke Freshman Thomas Bagley spotted a girl in a pornographic film that looked a lot like his classmate. She admitted that that was her and swore him to secrecy; he then spilled the details at his next fraternity rush event.
Sadly and predictably, the response ranged from people publicly tweeting about how they wanted to bang the Duke freshman porn star:
To anonymous posters on CollegiateACB claiming that she doesn’t deserve privacy, respect, or even protection from rape because of her profession (“She should’ve known what she was getting into” is a common excuse). A sampling below:
Duke University Freshman Outed as Porn Star1
As a result, the outed porn star, sat down for an interview with the Duke Chronicle, giving some interesting soundbites about the financial security and sexual empowerment that her job gives her:
On Duke’s $60,000 tuition:
At a private, top-10 university like Duke where the full cost of attendance is steadily creeping to $60,000 a year, Lauren said she turns to the adult film industry to help supplement her financial aid.
On why seemingly more respectable professions, like waitressing, are out:
“I worked as a waitress as a job for a year in high school and not only did it interfere with my school where I was barely sleeping and wasn’t doing my work, but also I was making $400 a month after taxes. I felt like I was being degraded and treated like s—t. My boss was horrible to me,” Lauren said. “For people to tell me that doing porn and having sex, which I love, is more degrading than being a waitress and being somebody’s servant and picking up after somebody and being treated like a lesser, second-class citizen, that literally makes no sense. To be perfectly honest, I felt more degraded in a minimum wage, blue-collar, low paying, service job than I ever did doing porn.”
Duke’s repressive sexual culture:
“I feel like girls at Duke have to hide their sexuality. We’re caught in this virgin-whore dichotomy,” she said. “Gender norms are very intense here and I feel like that’s particularly carried out by frats. I think that being a woman at Duke is extremely difficult. I think that being a sexual woman at Duke is extremely difficult.”
And how porn gives her the opportunity express that sexuality:
“I have always been a very sexual person, and I’m also bisexual, but I haven’t ever felt really welcome,” said Lauren. “But when I’m in Pornland, I feel at home. This is where I’m meant to be, with these people who love sex and are comfortable about it.”
Yet she has continued getting messages shaming her or asking for sex. “Reputable” websites even offer snide comments about how she could possibly expect privacy when she’s given on-campus interviews and been invited into the university’s classrooms to lecture on her experience. This all proves her point about the virgin-whore dichotomy, not just at Duke, but in America in general. This phenomenon also played out when high schooler Robert Marucci faced bullying and was allegedly expelled, then merely suspended, for starring in gay porn this past January. Both of these cases seem to show how unacceptable it is for someone to participate in porn, especially if they are still students of a certain age who refuse to apologize for engaging in this type of sex work.
In Lauren’s case, the backlash threatens to obscure legitimate concerns about the porn industry. She herself has hit back at the Duke Chronicle for calling her “naive” when she asserts that the porn industry is not coercive, or when the writer observed that she “showed off” an iPad and other items, supposedly purchased from her earnings in the adult filmmaking industry. To their credit, the Chronicle has responded by standing by their article, but also decrying the treatment Lauren has gotten from her community:
Lauren’s story has brought important questions—about sex work, feminism and the perils of the Internet—to light. But mostly, this story smacks of an all-too-familiar sexism at Duke. Porn actress or not, Lauren should never have experienced vicious name-calling, strangers’ sexual claims to her body or the threat of sexual violence. No woman deserves such treatment, and yet too many Duke women experience it every day.
Exactly. People can be critical of porn and the exploitation that occurs in such an industry all they want, but they should do so by affording its participants respect for their perspective and their basic humanity.
Image via Getty.
To be perfectly honest, I felt more degraded in a minimum wage, blue-collar, low paying, service job than I ever did doing porn.
The sound you just heard is the sound of a hundred anti-porn feminists’ heads exploding in unison. Tuesday 5:49pm
She’s a College Republican.
I wonder at the cognitive dissonance there. Tuesday 6:01pm
Uh, no, not really. I think it actually illustrates a big part of WHY I don’t like porn — think through the implications of this statement in terms of the intersectionality of gender, class, and power here. Tuesday 6:01pm
cassiebearRAWR and 100 others…
Yeah & in 4 years she’ll have school paid for while the rest of them (myself included) have loans for the rest of their lives, (minus the trust fund babies).
I also love the fact that he recognized her while WATCHING A PORN but she’s the gross one… Tuesday 5:55pm
HAHA I was thinking the exact same thing! Tuesday 6:00pm
Here today, Gawn TomorrowIGotABlueberryForADaughter
HEY! LETS NOT START SHAMING PEOPLE WHO WATCH PORN! Tuesday 6:00pm
IGotABlueberryForADaughter and 34 others…
Hey, America. You see this story? Yeah, that is the rape culture you hear feminists talking about. The fact you see people saying that she deserves to be raped or that she is just an object for someone to pleasure themselves with kinda proves how these beliefs are ingrained in our culture. That is a problem. Tuesday 5:50pm
it’s funny because she stars in rape porn videos and videos where she’s being abused while gagging on a man’s penis. If you’ve seen the video, there is no way that you can say it is empowering for women. Tuesday 7:03pm
Doesn’t mean she deserves to get raped. The fact you believe a fictional portrayal of rape fetish porn between two actually consenting adults means someone deserves threats of sexual assault is far more disgusting than a women gagging on a penis on film. Tuesday 7:08pm
tonedeaff and 40 others…
Why are dudes obsessed with porn stars? Why would a porn star be that special to sleep with?
because she’s someone they see but will never have. Tuesday 6:07pm
For the same reason you take your car to a mechanic to get it fixed. The assumption is that if it’s your job to fuck, and you are good enough to be famous for fucking, then you’re probably pretty good and it. All that said though, I have to think that if I had the chance to bang some pornstar I was infatuated with, I’d probably pop my cork in 30 seconds and ruin the whole experience. Tuesday 6:28pm
Dukes_of_Atlanta and 38 others…
All this hate and objectification for someone in a legal profession, funding her way through an expensive college in a job she enjoys. Nothing for the person that showed the depths of his character in breaking a promise of trust.
What a wanker. Tuesday 6:02pm
I read a great comment about female comedians on Jez a while back, about how men are put off by them because women are meant to be ornamental while men are instrumental. I think the same theory carries through here – it’s okay for a women to be coerced into sex by a man and be there for his pleasure. But as soon as she’s getting money or power or pleasure from it, she has suddenly crossed a gender boundary that the strictest gender binaries don’t allow some men’s mind to understand. Therefore she is a threat and deserves to be destroyed. Tuesday 6:42pm
Jane Eyrerys Targaryenjer102
jer102 and 8 others…
not to be churlish, but maybe if she just went to Chapel Hill, she wouldn’t have to do porn to pay for school. Tuesday 6:04pm
Or maybe she wanted to go to Duke, and therefore chose to do porn to pay for it? To imply that she “had” to, when she clearly states that she likes what she does, is pretty churlish, actually.
It implies that A) doing porn is automatically bad and B) she has no agency, because she was either forced into it or only says she likes it/thinks she does. Because brainwashing, patriarchy, blah, blah, some damn thing like that. Tuesday 6:11pm
good point, but I’m not suggesting she lacks agency, only that if she set her goals more realistically – going to a school that’s almost as good but costs about 1/4 the amount if she’s in-state and probably 1/2 if she’s out of state – none of this would have happened. sounds like she’s not very happy there anyway, which I can understand, having gone there myself. if you want to do porn, fine; if you want to go to one of the most expensive schools in the country, fine. but both those actions have consequences; she’ll have to live with them, and all the theory in the world won’t be able to protect her from that. which I suspect you understand. Tuesday 6:26pm
bogartcat and 15 others…
I wonder how many students attacking her have mommy and daddy paying their tuition. Tuesday 5:49pm
I had my parents pay for my expensive private college, and I never for one minute forget it. This girl deserves nothing but props for standing up for herself and paying her way through school. Where is the outrage, by the way, that getting an education basically forced this girl to have to choose between a lifetime of loans or doing sex work? Tuesday 5:55pm
as a Duke grad, I can tell you: all of them Tuesday 5:56pm
ElliLady and 9 others…
Why is her job or other personal choices of any sort, any ones damn business? Her life and her choices are hers to make and no ones to judge.
That’s not realistic. This was clearly a risk of participating in a porn film made for public consumption. She chose to take the gamble and she’s dealing with the completely foreseeable fallout. Tuesday 6:06pm
WHAT? The only reason there is fall out is because people are unreasonable judgey jerks. Tuesday 6:16pm
rh0218 and 16 others…
“I found out a girl in our freshman class is a pornstar. I’ve now made it my goal to fuck her before I graduate.” -
You’re not her type asshole! Tuesday 5:49pm
ya gotta love the amateur-hour losers. Tuesday 6:06pm
Totally. Tuesday 6:17pm
Fluter”Freebird”Dale and 1 others…
So much head shaking:
1. Oh, the double standard…the guy was watching her movie, consuming the product she made…and she is the one who needs to defend her choices? It’s cool to watch the film, but not cool to have appeared in the film? Augh.
2. If he saw a straight male classmate in an adult film, I’ll bet he would have been awed and filled with admiration. Not so sure if he’d seen a male classmate in a gay adult film, though…something tells me he might not be so excited about that (or about admitting that he was watching gay porn).
3. How come everybody who acts in an adult film is called a “porn star?” Not everyone who appears in a mainstream movie is called a “movie star.” Tuesday 5:59pm
#1 is interesting in combination with her comparing it to working as a waitress. How many blue-collar jobs do we want to exist and benefit greatly from, but look down on people for doing?
It’s so fucked up that so many people’s worldviews are such that their standard of living depends on a class of people they regard as trash. They don’t want those people to stop doing those jobs, they just want to be sure everyone knows their place. Tuesday 6:13pm
3. How come everybody who acts in an adult film is called a “porn star?” Not everyone who appears in a mainstream movie is called a “movie star.”
This seriously infuriates me for no good reason. What do adult film performers who have legitimately achieved “star” status even call themselves if everyone who’s fucked on camera is a “star”?
I blame Smashmouth. Tuesday 6:18pm
abrasax2 and 1 others…
Could be me, but why the fuck is no one outraged that in America, tuition costs are now so high that the only way to really pay for it without resorting to massive loans is by doing porn? WHAT THE FUCK? Is this the 19th century at the start of the industrial revolution or is this the fucking 21st century in a goddamn economically advanced country?
I mean, good for her that she likes having sex and doesn’t mind doing porn to pay for stuff, but I honestly believe NO ONE should be needing to do a job like that to pay for college. Hell, one shouldn’t even have to be a waiter to pay for college. A job next to doing college should be to supplement your income, not pay for the whole thing. Tuesday 6:09pm
Maxine Shaw, attorney at LOLhollydolly
Yeah, she pretty much lost me at $60,000. Tuesday 6:28pm
Because she chose to go to a private school where tuition costs are that high…. There are tons of schools you can go to for 1/5th that price…. Tuesday 6:36pm
hollydolly and 6 others…
I’m amazed by the “you can’t rape a porn star” attitude. Anyone want to explain that one? Tuesday 7:37pm
There’s really no logical explanation, but I’ll try: porn stars are down for anything. If a bunch of dudes want to run a train on a porn star, she’ll supposedly agree to it. If someone she finds unattractive wants to have sex with her, she’ll do it just because she’s a porn star, therefore they have absolutely no standards. Tuesday 8:39pm
Yeah, it’s a myth(not that they can’t be raped specifically, but that pornstars always want sex from everyone at all times) popularized by gonzo pornography where pornstars are portrayed as willing to fuck people they supposedly just met. It’s all an act, of course, as they are all just other pornstars that they were contracted to have sex on film with ahead of time. It’s also supported by some pornstars who make it seem like they are always down for sex any time any where, but this is also just act to appeal to the fantasy of the audience. It takes a real idiot to actually believe anything they see in porn, but unfortunately, many young men(and old men, and just people in general) are idiots. Tuesday 9:58pm
bogartcat and 1 others…
The desire to tell everyone something like that creeps me out. I don’t hear life-destroying secrets and then feel eager to go spread them around, at all. The idea that her porn would be the shameful action, and not the “purposefully destroying girl’s reputation for fun” is insane. Tuesday 5:53pm
This is not the point of the story, but I FUCKING HATE fraternities and most of their members. Not every frat guy is awful, I know that because I know some of the non-awful ones, but the majority that I meet are complete assholes. I also live in Dallas which is the land of current and former frat guys, and they are all so self-important, entitled finance blowhards. Fraternities perpetuate sexism and promote rape culture, and that behavior does not stop once the guy walk the graduation stage. Tuesday 5:56pm
I was in a fraternity, and I really like my experience and most of the people I met, but frats are definitely magnets for all of the worst types of men. From the ones I dealt with personally, most were reasonable and good people, but I was lucky enough to join a smaller fraternity where I knew everyone and had some say in the dudes we brought in. The bigger frats always seemed to have the most immature, cookie-cutter, douchebags.
Thank you for acknowledging that Frat-guys are not a monolith. Tuesday 9:48pm
Some of my closest guy friends are (f0rever?) members of frats and they are some really great guys. I even dated a “fratty” guy for a long time who was and is still lovely. Not every frat guy is the worst but most are far from the best. I agree that the smaller frats tend to be better but I also think it is different from school to school. What would be a “good” frat one place is a “bad” one at another school. Fortunately, I went to a college that lacked greek life so I didn’t have to deal with frats on a day-to-day basis. Now that I’m out of college and I like to party, all I seem to find are what tend to be the lowest of the low for frat guys. Don’t look the way they think you should? They won’t even give you common courtesy when you pass each other on the street. It’s also kind of polarizing to be at a bar and realizing that every dude in the place is dressed the same. Shouldn’t North Face be sold out of black vests by now? Tuesday 10:10pm
Timothy BurkePhoenix Tso
Other discussions of this case bring up that she’s apparently performed in a specific simulated rape porn fetish. I don’t know if that changes anyone’s opinions here or not. Tuesday 6:49pm
Well, that’s one way to avoid student loan debt…but hopefully none of her future employers see it… Tuesday 5:58pm
Rooo sez BISH PLZnic10
I’d say granted, she was gambling hard trying to pull something like that off at a place like Duke … but I’d also say she’d have had a much better shot at it if dude hadn’t shot his mouth off.
All bets are pretty much off now, I’d say. Tuesday 6:40pm
The kids at her college judging her are the same kids who are going to be thousands of dollars in debt while all her loans are paid off and forgotten about. Also why can’t men keep their mouth shut? They always say girls cant shut up but they blab just as much if not more than girls. Tuesday 6:23pm
In twenty years, that kid who thinks he is entitled to get into a girl’s pants just because she does porn (so she will fuck anyone, right?) will be the president of a company you work for, your Congressman, possibly a candidate to the Presidency.
And he’ll likely still be a dick. Wednesday 4:45am
…..And we’re sure this isn’t just viral marketing for a sequel to I Am Charlotte Simmons? Tuesday 6:00pm
I’d read it. Tuesday 6:24pm
What an asshole.
If someone asks you to keep something you find out secret then… wait….
“fraternity rush event”?
A frat boy?
OK. That explains everything. Of course he is a douche. Wednesday 8:39am
I love watching porn, and it’s great to see a young woman in the industry who can act as a feminist role model. Porn actresses are perceived as being subhuman at worst and a victim at best. It’s so refreshing to hear an articulate, intelligent young person assert her own humanity and agency.
You do you, Lauren! Tuesday 6:03pm
I love to reality that she gets treated as less than a person for doing porn, but the guy who recognized her from watching her videos (and breaking the promise of staying silent) has absolutely zero social ramifications. There is just so much wrong with that. Tuesday 8:00pm
re: ” … Porn actresses are perceived as being subhuman at worst …” – in this case, could it be influenced at all by the marketing and the product itself? The student makes specific types of rape/abuse porn that advertises the actresses using incredibly derogatory language. In one video I saw, she had the word “used” written across her face. This is not the type of porn that promotes the dignity of women. I do not think she deserves to be ostracized, however, it is not unimaginable for me that when a woman consents to being abused that the consumers of the product are unable to separate their thoughts of the woman’s personal and business life separate. Of course, I have very low expectations for the humans around me and mostly assume they will go with whatever is the easiest, emotion-based, ego-satisfying choice. Tuesday 9:20pm
MissMarit and 2 others…
Here today, Gawn TomorrowPhoenix Tso
This reminds me of a quote from Identity (from what I recall “Whores Dont Get a Second Chance.”
Its sadly the attitude that we have towards women and sexuality in America. a woman expressing sexuality, enjoying sexuality, and even talking about sexuality gets clumped into ‘whore’ group. And basically its ‘once a whore, always a whore’ bottomless pit.
I personally blame a lot of factors (in America), but I’d narrow it down to lack of sexual education including sexuality/gender-bias sexpectations. ‘sexploitation’ of women in pornography & media in general.
Very interesting. And sadly its gonna get washed away as an isolated case, and this is gonna go on for awhile. Tuesday 5:57pm
fromonelatoanothe<3s2dismissHere today, Gawn Tomorrow
I read a great comment about female comedians on Jez a while back, about how men are put off by them because women are meant to be ornamental while men are instrumental. I think the same theory carries through here – it’s okay for a women to be coerced into sex by a man and be there for his pleasure. But as soon as she’s getting money or power or pleasure from it, she has suddenly crossed a gender boundary that the strictest gender binaries don’t allow some men’s mind to understand. Therefore she is a threat and deserves to be destroyed. Tuesday 6:41pm
tilap27Here today, Gawn Tomorrow
Compare this with the much more positive (though not a 100%) attitude that gay men have towards gay pornstars. Tuesday 7:01pm
BlueBirdsFly and 4 others…
Actually Valeria LukyanovaPhoenix Tso
I don’t exactly understand how participation in porn is being equated to female sexuality in the opening of this story. It seems extremely counter-intuitive to goals of female empowerment and liberation. That female sexuality can be compared to the transaction of having sex on camera for money. Tuesday 6:55pm
kschenkeActually Valeria Lukyanova
True, but this particular women DOES find connections between her sexuality and the work she does in porn. The quotes from her are pretty clear that while others have had very, very bad experiences in that industry, hers have been overall positive and she finds her own strength in it. And people are still giving her shit about it because of course, they don’t like thinking about women being open about their sexuality this way or really ANY way.
The opening line could have been written a little clearer, but I understood what they were going for. Wednesday 9:27am
Actually Valeria Lukyanovakschenke
I suppose I just can’t accept that sort of libertarian reasoning. Individually it works for her (I would still argue against that, but that’s irrelevant), but that doesn’t give the author the right to make blanket statements like the one I brought up that seem to correlate female sexuality with exhibitionism as a default. Surely you can see the repercussions of that.
I also don’t think any job can or should be tied to someone’s sexuality. In my view that removes the element of consent. Wednesday 6:55pm
I’m kinda curious who she is in porn, but I don’t really need to know. She should have all the respect and personal privacy she wants, as long as she enjoys what she does. Tuesday 5:59pm
An interesting way to frame what this person thinks are the logical inconsistencies in the “feminist” position. Tuesday 6:02pm
Also, not surprising that all the dicks this strawfeminist would take are black in his mind.
Because more than empowered women, gender equality or a society that shrugs off the patriarchy, these dudes will ALWAYS be more afraid of black dick. Tuesday 6:47pm
Loved the responses by ‘Lauren’ even if the article/interview was pretty obvious in its opinions/biases from the start.
Yes some porn can be exploitative (in terms of the actors – exploitative of women in general is another debate) but that doesn’t mean all must be. If this is what someone enjoys, and they can make a living off it, more power to them if it is their choice. Tuesday 5:59pm
joe smithPhoenix Tso
You make films where you fuck and suck and you’re surprised someone recognizes you? I personally don’t care; i have friends who have done porn (and some who still do). Guys watch porn. So long as he didn’t steal it , i have no real problem with him recognizing her. She wasn’t “outed”; her face and the rest of her was already out there. She consented to it and got paid for it. She doesn’t deserve to be ragged on (it’s her body; she can do as she pleases) but she doesn’t deserve anonymity. Nobody stole a sex tape of her and broadcast it on campus. Wednesday 12:17am
Again with this “outed” bullshit.
Yes, she’s a person like anyone else, and deserves respect regardless(ish) of what she does for a living. She certainly doesn’t deserve to be seen as a purely sexual object or worthy of rape or have to endure sexual claims to her body or name-calling.
BUT she also doesn’t deserve privacy. It was kind of a dick move for that one guy to promise not to tell anyone and then go back on that, but she’s a performer in a film industry that’s then published to the internet. She can hope no one recognizes her (and should, given the reaction), but she can’t be too surprised that between tens of thousands of adolescent men, one of them ran across her video. Tuesday 6:58pm
You know what one of the coolest things about this article is?
It opens with the full name of the frat douche that ran around telling everyone, then only gives the first name of the woman in question much deeper in.
I wish more articles prioritized like that. Tuesday 7:23pm
I’m sure a look into the browser searches of her accusers would quickly show how much of depraved sexual deviants THEY truly are. I’ve come to find that the most outspoken people like the folks who are attacking her have the strangest porn histories. Tuesday 7:11pm