“Belle Knox” skyrocketed to fame after a fraternity student exposed her identity as a porn star to the media last month.
Her real name is Miriam Weeks; she’s a Duke University student. To be enrolled in a prestigious institution such as Duke, she’s got to have smarts–so why is she making money with just her shapely 19 year old figure?
Weeks claims that the more than 30 porn films she’s made have been to pay her high tuition, but with a well-paid physician as a father, student jobs available, and free-flowing government loans at her fingertips, I’m a bit skeptical.
In an interview with Piers Morgan, Ms. Knox has asserted confidently that in a sexually “repressive society,” she finds porn to be empowering as a woman:
“We are in a society where we are so repressed, every single day. We’re told that sex is bad. We’re told not to have sex. We’re told not to show our bodies, and that’s really true for women. To be in porn and to be able to be naked and to be able to be free and have that sexual autonomy, it is so incredibly freeing.”
But she shouldn’t have to feel ashamed that not only does she strip and have sex for an audience, but her “incredibly freeing” sex scenes often involve being slapped, choked, and called names.
Belle told the media she likes “rough and dirty, nasty and filthy, saliva-dripping and name-calling-filled sex.” In other words, she likes pretending to be slapped into submission and taken advantage of.
I was utterly perplexed by her seemingly contradictory expressions, but maybe as a Christian woman who married while still in college, I’m simply not enlightened enough to see how the sex industry is raising their status and influence all across America.
But according to Weeks, it’s the rest of us who are being hypocritical. In another part of her interview with Morgan, she said this:
“I think 80 percent of the world’s traffic on the Internet is pornography. And I think that probably every single person at some point in their life has watched pornography. So, I think it’s extremely hypocritical that the same society that consumes me is also condemning me.”
As with most statistics bandied about on TV, we have to straighten out the facts. 80% of internet traffic is not porn. Not even close.
As for her second claim, I doubt Weeks has any sort of special NSA clearance that gives her insight into the personal browsing habits of the entire global population, much less their viewing or reading material. Do a lot of people consume porn? Absolutely; supply only follows demand, and there’s certainly a plentiful supply. But every single person?
This ignorant accusation is a slap in the face to devout religious believers who avoid the Red Light district and sketchy internet searches like they avoid curse words, but Weeks doesn’t seem to acknowledge their existence.
It’s true that Western pop culture is rife with contradictions, but Weeks’ conclusion from these two misleading statements is that the individuals composing Western society (I’m assuming this is what she means by “the same society”) point a judgmental index finger to direct scorn and vitriol toward her character, while scrolling through her pornos in an incognito browser with the other.
It’s also important to recognize that not everyone who has watched pornography “at some point in their lives” continues to do so, and doesn’t believe that it is in fact an immoral behavior. People fall into temptation, and the fact that someone acted contrary to their own principles at some point shouldn’t bar them from ever commenting on the morality of that act again.
Anyone who keeps tabs on feminist dialogue wouldn’t be surprised at this kind of accusation from a porn star, but there are multiple layers of meaning to every thought expressed through language, and those deeper layers can tell us quite a bit about the mindset of feminists like Weeks. (Weeks shot to fame chiefly through her “tell-all confession” about her porn career she had published on the popular feminist website “xojane.com.” Female empowerment seems to be one of her chief defenses, and although there are many feminists who may disapprove of her conduct, myself included, Weeks is by most counts a feminist.)
Peeling back the surface meaning of Weeks’ comment, which is that people shouldn’t judge her because they are hypocrites, we expose yet another aspect of her own contradictory self-expression. The words people use to describe how the world interacts with them are especially telling regarding what they think they are doing, and what they think other people are doing to them.
Read it carefully: “I think it’s extremely hypocritical that the same society that consumes me is also condemning me.”
Our Duke student is no dummy. She understands that as a porn star, she is a consumer good, a product on the market responding to the same laws of supply and demand as any lamp or can of beans. Feminists have fought for so many years against the subjugation and objectification of women, but Knox betrays the societal effects of the sexual liberation strain of feminism by freely admitting that society consumes her… she didn’t even refine her statement into something less obvious. For instance, she could have said, “The same society that enjoys my work is also condemning me.”
No, Belle Knox is self-identifying as the direct object, in multiple senses of the term.
Weeks has said that she didn’t expect such vitriol from the public regarding her porn career, and I would feel hurt by that, too. But what I feel toward Miriam is not scorn or hatred. It’s sadness.
Miriam Weeks is only 19, an incredibly impressionable age, particularly in a college environment. Most girls at this age have difficulty making prudent decisions regarding their future, especially in sex and relationships. She started her porn career when she was barely legal, and now she’ll never be able to take this back. I don’t know what personal influences helped shape her worldview, or more importantly her self-perception, but the damage is clearly visible.
I said that Weeks is not stupid, since she recognizes what she has become. However, I’m not sure if she’s fully aware of the way she is allowing men to use her, to let manifest the most vulgar and exploitative aspects of themselves that millions of other feminists have been trying to stamp out for decades.
The impression I get from pop culture is that over half a century ago, women realized they were easily objectified, and they fought to keep the dignity of their gender.
Then many women, in their newfound sexual freedom, either forgot that they were perceived as objects, or denied it was so. Their perception dominated the culture.
Now, however, it seems women like Weeks are fully aware they are sexual objects, yet choose to call it sexual freedom.
Weeks may be making an independent decision, and yes, it’s all for entertainment; but representation is endorsement, and all the critical questions remain.
If you choose to subjugate yourself, are you still an equal? If you choose to be consumed, can you escape objectification? If you claim liberty in submission, are you free? If you treat sex as trivial, does it have less impact?
I’m not claiming these are easy questions to address, but there are influences in our culture that lay claim to the answers. The feminism of sexual liberation is one of those influences.
What we see in Miriam Weeks, in her words and actions, is the impact of sexually liberal feminism. Weeks believes her career choice is empowering, and deserves no more ridicule than a position as an office clerk. But liberal sexuality, the foundation of the pornography industry, turns sexuality into consumption; it strips the relational basis for intimacy from the act itself, so that when the exhilaration wears off and her name has dropped from the public’s attention, she will be left with an emptiness sex cannot fill.
Amid the cries of feminists striving to protect our nation’s sex consumerism, a question goes unanswered… what does one consume to sustain her and give her meaning, if she herself is the object of consumption?