Porn for Tuition: A deeper look into Duke’s Porn Star

Before I even get into this article let me just make one thing clear: working in the porn industry will make you more than your regular minimum wage job as a cashier,

but it wont make you rich either.

Check out some quotes from The Hollywood Reporters article on Mark Spiegler, one of the top agents in the porn industry, on making money in porn:

” While a decade ago the average female performer would make about $100,000 a year, Spiegler says she now might make as little as $50,000 — all while juggling responsibilities such as social-media outreach and personal appearances.”

“According to Miller, from the thousands of hopefuls, there are between 200 and 300 “in-demand” women (termed “models”) who work regularly, shooting between 100 and 150 scenes a year. “A popular girl is going to work a minimum of 10 times per month,” he says.”

“But here, in the shadows of Hollywood, the world’s pornographers are at a crossroads, much like their mainstream entertainment colleagues. Facing declining revenue resulting from piracy, amateur digital competitors and a shrinking home entertainment market, the kings of porn (and yes, the industry is run mostly by men) face another threat to their business: the just-passed Los Angeles County measure requiring condom use in adult movies. “

After having read the XOJANE article by Laura or Aurora, the Duke University porn star, I had several friends contact me.

“We should just do porn! We’d be out of student debt in no time.”

Yes, and no. Making it as a porn star is becoming as difficult as making it as a musician or actress. If you’re searching for a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme this probably isn’t for you. Stars like Asa Akira have made it to the top with the help of agents like Spiegler, who are constantly looking out for their best interest and cutting them the best deals. Being represented by Spiegler is no easy task – he represents only 25 girls out of the thousands of women in porn.

But if you’re as passionate about this as Laura, then maybe consider giving it a shot.

It is interesting to read Laura’s story while living in Los Angeles. The way she describes the reaction of her student body is borderline unbelievable. I wonder if this has anything to do with their extremely wealthy student body?

I’ve heard similar stories a handful of times : girls stripping, engaging in escorting or acting in the porn industry trying to pay off tuition and student loans. It may seem surprising, but it’s not that unusual. Most people ask to see photos of what the individual looks like and gasp about it for a second and then go on to chatting about other things. Why? We understand why they’re doing it. It’s a job and college is expensive. We’ll joke that we would do the same thing if we didn’t have the savings, help from our parents or financial aid – but in reality there’s some seriousness to what’s being said.

Tuition is barely affordable for those of us who grew up in the poorer parts of Los Angeles. We sympathize with the hustle. It’s tough trying to make ends meet as a student, while paying tuition, purchasing books, keeping up with classes, interning and trying to have a social life.

If porn is going to help you earn your education,  I doubt anyone who’s experienced poverty would judge you. Anyone who loves their education, and what their studying, understands the willingness to sacrifice. Enjoying being an actor in the porn industry would only be an extra.

I agree with Laura’s argument that we need to give sex workers respect. Porn is an industry that deserves respect because it is so important. People, from all over the world, watch porn. Researchers have been unable to do studies on the effects of porn on the brain because there is no control group.  These videos are affecting and influencing our society in ways that we cannot even understand. As one scientist described it : Like trying to ask a fish about water.

Which brings me to my final point:

I do not agree with the idea that the porn industry is empowering women.

Porn has done nothing to help our case. This is an industry that has made its  profits off of encouraging fantasies with young women who are barely of age. “Barely Legal” sound familiar? Story lines focusing on young women being taken advantage of by older men? What about the virgin-whore dichotomy that feminism fights so hard against? Porn uses the concept as the very storyline for many of their films. And although porn has never been regarded as an industry with ‘strong story lines’, if there is a storyline it paints the woman as an object, a sex toy. I’d like to think that women are more than just a collection of orifices.

Laura mentioned rough sex in her story. (I’m sure that definition will vary from person to person.) I don’t understand how spitting on someone, screaming at them, and pulling them by the hair to stand up further empowers women? Would this not be mimicking sexual abuse toward women for the pleasure of men? Adults have fetishes and sexual quirks they’ve discovered, and I would never shame anyone for doing that. If that type of sexual activity is what you find pleasurable, more power to you. But adult’s are not the only people watching these videos. Young boys  across the world are watching these porn videos and receiving false expectations. There is no disclaimer explaining that this porn is a fetish, or that this is mutually consensual. For all the porn available on the web, there is still no discussion of boundaries or rape. There is still no explanation that these female actors who are screaming and crying, have agreed to do this, and are not actually being raped. Would this be going overboard? Possibly, but let’s not forget the age of some of the viewers.

If we allow the internet to continue to falsely advertise to our youth that ‘This is what sex looks like’ without any education about rape, or any education about respecting boundaries, we are going to end up with future issues. It is fantastic that our society is heading toward more sexual liberalization and sexual acceptance, but we need to compensate for the years of misrepresentation porn has caused.

Porn is now more available than ever. You could watch videos at any given time throughout the day, as long as you have some internet access. This is not something any other generation has experienced. We need to properly equip ourselves for this much sex being thrown at us, and what better way than through the porn industry itself.

And if it isn’t the porn industry, than who?

I respect Laura’s decision and admire that she’s doing something she feels so passionately about while pursuing her education. That being said, I hope as a Women’s Studies major, she’ll be able to shed some knowledge on an industry that is predominantly run by men and change the industry to better improve the lives of women.

No Money? No Problem. Check out these cool destinations near you and start planning!

Since I was a child I’ve been consumed by Wanderlust. The internet has only made this feeling worst, and being a poor college student definitely doesn’t help my situation. I’ve travelled throughout California, explored my home state as much as possible, and saved up to spend plenty of time on the east coast. I’m not even done exploring the United States, and I still have 195 more countries to go!

I’ve been keeping a list of places I plan to visit and I’ve realized that all of these locations are spread out all over the world… therefore if you wanted to see at least ONE of the beautiful places on this list, it might actually be possible without you having to break the bank.

If you do have the money to travel outside of the country at this very moment, get going! What are you doing here? There’s a whole world out there you lucky sun of a gun!

For the rest of us, like myself, here’s a couple of realistic travel options, near your current city, and what the cost might look like:

 

1. Canola Flower Fields – Yunnan, China

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If you happen to live in Hanoi, Vietnam you are just south of some of the most beautiful flower fields and waterfalls in Asia.

  • Travel Cost: Flying from Hanoi, Vietnam to Kunming, China (closest airport to Luoping) will cost you about $410.00. Keep in mind you will have to travel into Luoping County by either renting a car or taking public transportation.
  • Hotel: Several of the hotel websites are completely in Chinese, making it difficult for me to figure out pricing. After translating some reviews one customer mentioned staying at a hotel for 120 Yuan a night (about $19.79 USD).
  • Food: Due to exchange rates, the American dollar goes far in Asia. You should be able to purchase a days worth of food for under $10.00.
  • Total Cost: 5 Day Trip to the Canola Flower Fields from Hanoi Vietnam will cost you about $580.00.

 

2. Antelope Canyon : Page, Arizona

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Itching to get away from LA for a weekend? Check out these amazing geological transformations in Arizona.

  • Travel Cost: Driving from Los Angeles, CA to Antelope Canyon Page, AZ is going to cost about $70.00 in gas – one way. Driving time will take you about 8.5 hours, depending on traffic.
  • Hotel: An overnight stay in Page is going to cost you anywhere from $40.00 a night and up. Check out tripadvisor.com for hotel rankings.
  • Food: Page is a relatively small town. Food prices are average, expect to pay $8.00 and up per meal.
  • Total Cost: 3 Day Trip to Antelope Canyon from Los Angeles will cost you about $350.00.

 

3. Haiku Stairs of Oahu: Oahu, Hawaii

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If for some reason living in the beautiful city of Honolulu just isn’t doing it for you anymore, take the wondrous hike up Haiku Stairs

  • Travel Cost: From Honolulu to Kaneohe it will be about about a 20 minute drive. Gas shouldn’t be more than $5.00. A flight into Honolulu from Los Angeles is going to cost you at least $600.00 depending on how early you purchase tickets and the time of the season.
  • Hotel: Luckily visiting the Haiku Stairs doesn’t require an overnight stay. It’s a free hike you can complete in about 4 hours. Keep in mind police try to steer people away from hiking. Don’t be surprised if you’re shut down.
  • Food: There’s a small place called Dean’s Drive Inn nearby which offers burgers for $3.00 – $4.50! Woah.
  • Total Cost: A trip from Honolulu to Haiku Stairs will cost you about $12.00. This doesn’t include flight cost for those of you who don’t live on the Island, but it is something fun – and cheap – to do!

 

4. Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau, Alaska

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Getting bored in Anchorage? Good thing you live near some of the most amazing ice caves on earth.

  • Travel Cost: Driving from Anchorage to Juneau is not a short drive – 21.5 hours! Luckily gas is cheap in your neck of the woods. A one way trip will cost you about $60.00
  • Hotel: An overnight stay in Juneau can go for $70.00 and up
  • Food: Since most restaurants specialize in seafood, expect to pay $25.00 for a meal, unless you choose to enjoy a sandwich from a local cafe (8-10$).
  • Total Cost: 3 Day Trip to the Mendenhall Ice Caves from Anchorage will cost you about $480.00

 

5. Mount Roraima – Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana

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Living in the beautiful city of Sao Paolo, Brazil puts you next to some of the oldest geological formations on the planet. Take the time to go check them out.

  • Travel Cost: Flying from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Caracas, Venezuela (the closest airport to Mount Roraima) is going to cost you: $800.
  • Hotel: Luckily, you wont have to be dealing with hotel cost. The trip up to the top of the mountain is all camping and hiking which will take you about 3 days. Supplies, food and gear will be about $250 depending on how much gear you already own.
  • Food: You’ll be bringing your own food to make. This trip requires plenty of pre-planning. Websites have suggested purchasing all your food beforehand in Santa Elena.
  • Total Cost: 4 Day Trip to Mount Roraima from Sao Paolo, Brazil will cost you about $1,100.

 

Not Completed!! There is still a huge chunk of the list to do!

Keep in mind:

The more people you travel with, the cheaper your trip becomes. You don’t need to be a math professor to know that dividing gas between 4 people instead of 1, makes a huge difference. The same thing goes for food and hotels. Plus it is much safer to travel as a group then to travel alone.

Always overestimate how much money to bring with you. When I calculated the total cost for the trips I made sure to overestimate by at least $20.00. That’s nothing. You should really be bringing extra cash with you just in case something happens. It will make you feel much more confident traveling if you know all your bases are covered.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. I cannot tell you how important this is. I have saved hundreds of dollars, simply by doing research on coupons, purchasing tickets early online and reading reviews from other travelers. It makes a difference. Don’t let people make money off of your failure to plan.

If you’re driving, be aware of the car you’re taking. I’m sure your rust bucket has been there for you through thick and thin. Mine has too. That doesn’t mean I’m going to drive several hundreds of miles, and hope that my car doesn’t start having problems on the way there. If you have had car issues in the past or feel hesitant to take your vehicle on a long trip, rent a car. Don’t risk it. If you happen to have bad luck and break down on a dark cold road in the middle of the night, waiting for triple A, you are really going to regret bringing the rust bucket.

Renting a car sound like too much? Check out Greyhound, Megabus or any other public transportation options. Megabus can offer some great deals if you purchase your tickets ahead of time. Other countries, such as Europe, have amazing public transportation, that allow you to move from country to country in a breeze.

Talk to the locals. People from the area know the cool facts: who offers the best food for the best price, and locations the tour guides wont show you. You will be surprised how much you can learn from someone in a conversation over some lunch. Do not stay in your bubble. Encourage yourself, and your friends, to understand the amazing area you’re staying in and the history behind it.

right

I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t decide to write this until about 12 hours ago yesterday when a friend of mine called me. She told me about this article (http://wanderonwards.com/2013/12/30/23-things-to-do-instead-of-getting-engaged-before-youre-23/) and how much it hurt her to see someone say that young marriages were “a way for young people to hide… an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce.” Wow. Sounds like someones a little bit angry?

Somehow this discussion lead to the ever so frequent conversation about what is right.

Think about it. Especially for those of us in our early 20’s, how often have you contemplated what is ‘right’? Am I choosing the right major? Have I made the right career choice? Did I choose the right school? Is he the right guy? Is she the right girl? IS THIS THE RIGHT CHOICE?

Doing what’s right has become a whole new stress of its own. I find myself worrying about it incessantly, pondering whether or not the decisions I’m making are the decisions that have been chosen RIGHT by the Gods of Right. We all do it. We comb the internet looking for articles, we ask our friends and our parents for confirmation. Failing is not an option… Oh Gosh! What is right?

I’m going to go ahead and lift a huge weight off of your shoulders:

There is NO RIGHT. That’s right (ha-ha). It’s one big lie. A piece of phony bologna. Right has been created to sell you stuff. Every company will argue that they have the right clothes, the right makeup, the right tools, the right appliances just for you. These are the correct choices. These are the RIGHT choices.

But in reality they’re not.

In fact, all choices are just that : choices. Each choice comes with a list of potential consequences. Some of those consequences might be good, and some might be bad. You never know what you’re going to get.

Even if you make a choice that offers plenty of good consequences… you may be so unlucky to end up with all the bad ones. That’s just life. Fail. F-up, get angry, yell at your cat, cry on the floor with a tub of ice cream, ask ‘Why’ out loud and then start all over again. It’s okay to make a mistake. It’s okay to not choose what you’ve been told is right. You’ll survive. No one will tape a scarlet F to your chest to let everyone know you failed. Life will go on, and you learned.

The beauty is you get to choose. You have the luxury of choice.

For example: As much as I’m sure a 23 year old female single blogger knows plenty about marriage (100% not sarcastic) being in a relationship and getting hitched early might be the choice for you. For others, like myself, we have some exploring to do. It’s a choice we are actively making everyday. I don’t doubt that there are things I’m missing out on by choosing to not be married. I accept that consequence, but trying to pressure people to do either one because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do – that’s just flat out ignorant.

Tomorrow don’t let your list of 2014 New Years Resolutions be a list of things you’ve been told are right. Choose things that make you happy. Choose things you want to do. 

Write down your list and consider all the possibilities that come along with that list. The Good. The Bad. The Downright Ugly.

and then get out there and do it all.

#Let’sHopeI’mRight