The School of Belle Knox — The Duke Porn Star on One Way to Pay for Outrageous College Costs
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But to get back to selling the body, when I think of my own college days at Barnard, I recall bulletin boards covered in offers of eight and ten thousand dollars for egg donation—after all, Barnard is a prestigious and expensive women’s college with a predominantly Jewish student body (it’s important to some that the mother, or…umm…egg, be Jewish). You can understand the thinking in targeting the campus crowd: what a place to find elite women with tremendous financial burdens! Who more likely to agree to a process that provides immediate money at the sort-of-unknown-but-possible risk of future infertility and cancer? Personally, I have always thought that in return for such badass genetic material—and in return for the possibility of rendering me infertile or victim of a terminal illness—the least these people could offer for my eggs is to pay all four years of college tuition in full. That wouldn’t even be enough, but at least it’s not cheap to the point of being embarrassingly exploitative and downright gauche.
And dare we discuss the clinical trials of pharmaceuticals that university students also participate in for money? At least when you put a cock inside you, you know what it is and what it does. In the case of porn, you’re putting something inside you that’s already been tested many times…unlike these drugs.
Nobody knows the long-term effects, and yet top students at our best universities are putting themselves at risk in phase 1 drug trials just to pay for an education that we’re all hoping will raise them to be America’s future leaders and innovators. Did I mention that doing clinical trials on prisoners was banned in the United States in 1980? Luckily for pharmaceutical companies, financially needy volunteers are eager to respond to flyers posted around college campuses. Like sex work, drug trials are also the subject of the financial coercion verses “consenting adult” debate—i.e. are we taking advantage of financially needy people who would never do these clinical trials if it weren’t for the pay, or can we all just shrug it off as the act of consenting adults who agreed to the gig in the first place and thankfully aren’t us? Hopefully nobody dies, but it happens sometimes.
As for Belle Knox, she won’t need to sacrifice some part of her physical body that she can’t get back…or like all of it, in terms of…umm…death, as mentioned above. And as Knox points out in the first article she wrote for xoJane, sex—like love or hugs, wit or advice—is not something that a woman gives and then has less of. (And hell, no one seems to think that men run out of sex when they give it).
It’s not like squeezing the last bits of natural gas out of a hunk of shale: we’d heat our homes with sex if we could because it’s renewable. Sure, we all have an amount of physical energy that we can expend before needing to refuel with food or sleep. Certainly, all activities affect the psyche and the emotions in some fashion that the mind needs to find a way to categorize and understand. But in an age of constantly Instagramed selfies, nobody believes that the camera steals the soul, or at least we all think we have enough soul to go around. Belle Knox is acting from a place of abundance, not scarcity, and very clearly doesn’t feel that the substance of her has been in any way dissipated by having plenty of sex or by sharing her more graphic images of it publicly. After a shoot in LA, Belle walks onto a plane with two arms, two legs, a face, a brain, a heart and a vag, and goes back to class in North Carolina, probably less at risk of contracting an STD in an industry that tests for them so frequently than she would be at a frat party. She’s entered into her on-camera sex in sober clarity, which is more than can be said for most revelers at college parties. When she gets on the plane home, she’s still her, minus nothing. Harassers, stalkers, death threats, invitations to be silent, and slut-shaming from police—all of these wear down the spirit, but none of these acts are a deserved or understandable result of pursuing opportunities in the porn industry. These acts have very little to do with porn and a whole lot to do with how our society views women and their sexuality.