Belle Knox is not just another porn star

Belle KnoxAnti-pornagraphy advocates must not be very fond of Belle Knox. And with good reason. She is their worst nightmare. A smart, university educated woman who rises above the hypocrisy and stereotyping that all too often envelops the adult industry. A woman who embraces her sexuality and is not afraid to use porn as an income source to help achieve her goal of becoming a lawyer.

Porn stars are supposed to be victims, females from broken families who have no choice but to perform in adult films in order to earn some money. Do such cases exists. Absolutely. To think otherwise would also be hypocritical. In a perfect world, all porn stars would be confident women who choose to enter the adult industry to earn decent money to fund larger goals, in the case of Belle Knox, a university degree followed by a promising career in law. But we do not live in a perfect world, and far too many women will continue to be coerced and victimized by an industry that many feel lacks adequate regulation.

But this is why we need performers like Belle Knox. Role models who can show us another side of the industry, where ambitious, informed women can earn honest money from a perfectly legal profession without being labelled a victim. Legitimizing sex work is an important first step towards better regulation, which in turn will lead to less victimization and better working conditions for performers. Let’s face it, porn, like prostitution – will always exists. It’s been around for centuries, and always will be. We can plead ignorance and try to ban it, or we can work with performers such as Belle in an effort to legitimize it for the sake of safer workplaces and responsible product distribution.

Belle is a nineteen-year-old Duke University freshman who caused quite a stir when she was outed as a budding adult film star. In fact, the resulting publicity propelled her adult career to a level which has made her a sought after  figure on US talk shows and the subject of numerous blog and news articles. While I personally believe that women should not become porn stars until the age of 21, there are exceptions to every rule. Maturity is a subjective thing. I don’t think that most girls in the 18-20 age range have the life experience or maturity to make an informed decision with respect to the long term consequences that a career in the adult industry can have on their lives. Having said that, Belle Knox, much like Sasha Grey, seems to not only have weighed her decision carefully, but she has also embraced it for the long term either as a performer or legal advocate. Belle is no victim, she like Sasha is a savvy business woman with an eye on the bigger picture. Sasha Grey is a multimillionaire who has successfully made the transition from the adult industry to mainstream media. Or, put another way, she has succeeded in pulling mainstream media closer to accepting porn stars as real artists and performers. These are still early days, but as society becomes more comfortable with porn, they will also embrace it’s performers with the legitimacy that is afforded to their mainstream rivals.

It’s ironic that a University, which is supposed to be the flag bearer for the defense of free speech and tolerance, was less than amused that one of their own was a part time porn star. Are we to assume that faculty and students at american universities do not consume porn? Such a statement stretches even the outer boundaries of reality. It’s OK for people to consume and enjoy a legal product called porn, as long as those involved in the production and creation of said material aren’t university educated. Some media reports suggest that Belle is not alone in using the sex industry to fund her education expenses. Across america, hundreds of college students work part time in the adult industry to fund their education, most as webcam performers or strippers. Services such as Chaturbate have made it increasingly easy for women to earn significant incomes using nothing more than a webcam and computer. They control their own marketing, set their own work hours and get to choose who they want to perform for. They also get to work from the safety of their own homes. When I log onto Chaturbate, I don’t see victims – I see women who have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit that has made america the most powerful country in the world. Yes, there are some performers who are there for all the wrong reasons, resorting to nude webcamming out of desperation. But they are the minority. Most models on Chaturbate are savvy entrepreneurs who are earning decent money and contributing to the overall economy. Many would be surprised to find out how much money cam girls can earn in just a few hours.

Belle Knox is also cashing in on the real time nature of the sex industry by partnering with high end webcam sex provider Flirt4Free. She knows her star shines very brightly and wants to connect with her fans in a more meaningful and direct way. Flirt4Free is a perfect fit, because the service allows viewers to easily watch featured performers on their large screen televisions using an Apple TV. The service also looks great on iPads with retina displays. I would love to spend 30 minutes alone with Belle via webcam. She’s smart, sexy and very entrepreneurial. That would be a chat I would cherish. I would probably scheduled a show for 9pm, and spend the hour preceding our chat watching some of her videos and media interviews. This is what I think Porn 2.0 will be all about. A hybrid of pre-recorded porn and live encounters with your favorite performers. And Belle seems to know this too. She has name recognition, is building a strong brand and will appeal to men who crave the company of a smart and sexy woman.

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