The School of Belle Knox — The Duke Porn Star on One Way to Pay for Outrageous College Costs
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Up here in the northeast, I can’t say that I know any Ivy porn stars, but I certainly know Ivy gals—and guys, both hetero and gay—who have paid tuition bills by participating in sex work that was more private and sometimes less legal than porn. It’s a trend that I believe we can only expect to increase as the cost of tuition spirals further and further out of the realm of possibility for the middle and upper-middle class. Many who criticize Belle’s college job for not being enough of a “real job” seem to want to hold her to what they deem to be a gold standard of low-wage, “character-building” part time jobs that worked for them when they were in school. But the cost of college tuition has increased dramatically in just the past ten years, making such comparisons completely irrelevant (not that holding other people to one’s own standards has any sort of relevance to begin with). What many of Belle’s critics want to overlook is that lubing-up the old college fund is not new and is increasingly considered a viable option by students swimming in the panic of scholarly debt. Even websites like SeekingArrangement.com have been known to offer free premium profiles to “Sugar Babies” (male or female) who sign up for the site using a dot-edu email address. While such websites are fully legal and aren’t exactly what you can call sex work, they do deal in the exchange of sex and…sugar.
We should be concerned as a society at how common it is for college students to entertain increasingly inventive choices as a means to pay for school. And whether or not such paths are chosen, I guarantee that on campuses all over the country they are being considered. In my eyes, Belle Knox is already a hero simply for fearlessly bringing these types of issues into the spotlight for public discussion. Here she stands, with great strength and intelligence, owning her life and her story, saying all the things that no one wants to talk about in the face of such threatening adversity. Through all that she will undoubtedly learn as she triumphs over these epically character-building challenges on the public stage, who knows what sort of hero she may yet become? For now, I expect that she will continue to do as Veronica Franco did, and “ bring with daring hand a piercing blade.” If the blade is keen and polished, it will reflect us as we truly are. But whether she wields a sword or a pen, there is no doubt in my mind that Belle Knox knows how to stick it all the way in, and sometimes, that’s exactly what we all need.