Last week I came across an op-ed written by Jahan Yousef, half of the group known as Krewella. What caught my attention, besides being a long time fan of the duo, was the title: “Deadmau5 Saved Me From Going Into Porn.”
In it, Jahan discussed the lawsuit she and her sister are currently fighting against their former band mate, Kris Trindle. Kris claims that the sisters conspired to kick him out of the group, after originally vowing to dedicate themselves to Kris’s burgeoning music career. Regardless of what actually happened, the internet storm of hate that followed is repulsive and inexcusable, and as Jahan points out, a reflection of the current state of society. The girls were labeled “whores” who lacked any musical skill and “might as well do porn.”
The general consensus seems to be that women, especially attractive women, are handed success, money, and fame simply for their sexual “power” over men. Now, I’m not going to pretend that doesn’t happen. It’s obvious from social media the emphasis our society places on beauty, especially when it’s sexualized. It’s what makes a girl “Instagram famous” for her genetically perfect ass or tits, whether or not she brings any valuable skills or qualities to the table. Men idolize women purely for their physique, and in so doing so teach women to rely on it.
As a society, we worship sexuality in women. We worship it right up until the point that we don’t: when it seems to give women too much agency. When that line is crossed, sexuality is met not with worship, but scorn and condemnation, resulting in overt bullying, and the more subtle perpetuation of a misogynistic ideology. Ironically, the very qualities we love become the foundation for hate in the blink of an eye. An attractive woman’s so-called “power” can destroy her as quickly as it made her.
Although I think Yousef made wonderful points about fostering respect for humanity, and I believe she only had the best intentions, I don’t think she realized that in her quest for acceptance, she too fed into a stigma.
She concludes her opening statement by thanking Deadmau5 from “saving” her from porn. I get that this was a sarcastic statement, and I don’t believe Yousef intended to put down the adult industry or the people in it. Instead, the topic of porn was mentioned as click-bait, and as an example of something so absurd that the sisters would only ever consider it if faced with certain failure in their music career.
As an adult performer I take issue with the joke itself, because it potentiates some of the most damaging and demeaning stereotypes women in my industry face every day. The problem is that people really do believe that girls would only ever do porn because they failed at something else, or feed a drug addiction, or lack usable skills. Yousef’s comment, published on a major website, feeds into that flawed thinking that a women would only ever have sex on camera as a last resort, and the inability to perform any type of “real” work.
Because some women are seen to be succeeding purely because of looks or sexuality, people falsely assume that every beautiful or openly sexual woman must not be capable of doing any type of real work. I know first hand the assumptions people make about pretty girl DJs, because it’s just a less extreme version of the ones people make about porn stars.
As a woman pursuing a career in both industries, I clearly see the parallels between the stigmas attached to both. There is a misconception that as a porn star I simply get fucked occasionally and make loads of money. I’m using my sexuality to make money, so I must have it REALLY easy, right?
The reality of porn is much harder (and significantly less glamorous) than most believe. What you see on camera is only the smallest fraction of what goes into being a porn star—especially a successful one. I could go on at great length about the long hours or the preparation or the exhausting nature of the work, but the reality is that no one outside of the industry can possibly understand the particular mental and physical demands of the job. Porn is not showing up and having sex; it is work.
More to the point, I do my job because I love it, not because I’m incapable of doing anything else. Just like a dedicated athlete will run until he collapses, or a DJ will play a different city every night with little to no sleep, I do this because I want to and enjoy it. The difference, though, is that in music, women do have the ability to be taken seriously and respected by the mainstream, although it may be more difficult to achieve than for men. As a porn star, it is nearly (if not certainly) impossible to expect any type of respect from the media or Internet.
I am subjected, daily, to the same type of hate Yousef is now experiencing; not because of a highly publicized lawsuit, but simply because of who I am and what I do for a living. The media might only pretend that sexism is a thing of the past, but it doesn’t even attempt to do the same with sex work. There is an obvious stigma attached to sex work that rivals even the ones Yousef discusses such as gender, sexual orientation, and alternative lifestyles.
So Jahan, as a fellow woman, and someone who knows exactly what you are experiencing, I wanted to point out something you may not have considered, simply because you couldn’t possibly without having first hand knowledge of being a sex worker. No matter how hard I actually work, the fact is, the majority of people look at my job and say, “wow, you’re taking the easy way out, being a whore for money.” This is pretty difficult to listen to when I KNOW how hard I work and how much I care about what I do.
It might not be YOUR dream job, but I personally love it, so it does kind of suck to constantly hear society putting me down. I know you can understand this, because it’s exactly the type of negative and hurtful comments you’re dealing with now. All people are talking about is how much you DIDN’T do, or believe you didn’t do, instead of the things you did. No matter how pretty a girl is, she’s not going to become an epic success like you and your sister without A LOT of work. There’s hundreds of pretty girl DJs, but there’s only one Krewella.
It was only a sentence, but as you pointed out, the words we type are certainly powerful, and can have enormous influence on society, especially when they are written by a beautiful, successful woman such as yourself. And as you also said, it is up to us to challenge what we see written and promoted on the Internet. I’m accepting that challenge, and speaking up.
Respectfully, I ask that you consider the possible effects of using porn as a gimmick to garner hits, no matter how valid and important the rest of your points are. Just as it is abhorrent for there to be any assumption that Krewella’s success is predicated on sexuality, or solely dependent on the contributions or guidance of a man, it’s similarly damaging for you to make an off the cuff comment that implies that porn is something from which one would need to be saved.
I agree that the Internet should be a place that breeds peace, love, unity and respect (I’m certainly not too cool for PLUR), and I hope that by sharing my own experiences with you, we can take one step closer in that direction.
Article By: Carter Cruise