The View‘s Porn Problem

by Lucas Witherspoon

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On Monday’s edition of The View, so-called “Duke porn star” Belle Knox (government name: Miriam Weeks) was featured in what was supposed to be a conversation about her being outed as an adult entertainer by a fellow Duke student and the ensuing harassment she’s received as a result. Instead of taking the opportunity to actually comprehend what would make someone want to enter the sex industry or focusing on the blatant misogyny she’s experienced as a result of her “outing” she was met with castigation and patronization.

If you’ve ever watched The View, you know it’s a fairly liberal panel, but aside from the fact they’ve made some grossly antiquated, anti-feminist statements in the past, a common trend is that they treat women in the sex industry like dogs under the guise of genuine curiosity.

Take Jenna Jameson’s interview from 2008, where even rah-rah-feminist Joy Behar mockingly introduces her and states the title of her film in a flippant tone. Yes, Zombie Strippers is a ridiculous film title, but even the nepotistic ‘other’ Kardashians, who’ve all made a name for themselves based on their sister’s sex tape, garnered more professionalism and overall respect than the regard that was given to Jenna Jameson. But, by The View standards, that interview was tame.

When the panel invited Sasha Grey to talk about the uproar that surrounded her reading to elementary-aged children as a mainstream actress, it was even worse. Obviously she’s done porn, but that’s not how she was presented to the children; rather, she was being philanthropic as a mainstream actress. Of course Sherri Shepherd, the voice of ignorant puritanism, piped in to essentially demote Sasha Grey’s sexuality as a woman because of the potential effect it could have on her socially retarded child, never mind the fact women are subliminally sexualized every single day, especially when it comes to Hollywood. The only difference is Sasha Grey removed thin strips of fabric to reveal her natural, basely, human self. The irony, of course, is that she’s openly admitted to buying her husband porn to “set the mood,” but that hypocrisy seemingly escapes her anytime she’s talking to someone who produces the porn she’s bestowed upon her husband. Barbara especially highlights her austerity when she says that no parent wants their child to grow up to be a porn star. Well, no parent wants their child to grow up to be an alcoholic, drug addict, depressive, etc., but that’s a far more prevalent matter-of-fact than porn. She, the most publicly impartial of the group, even had the gall to ask why, if Sasha Grey believes so staunchly in education, she would choose a porn career, which insinuates that sex industry workers as a whole are ignorant and demeans the profession, because you obviously can’t fuck for a living and subsequently be smart.

And now we move on to the most indescribably despicable porn star interview I’ve ever seen on The View. From the get-go, the panelists were in attack mode. Personally, I don’t find Bella Knox to be particularly intelligent or eloquent, especially when she starts going on about her cursory ideas as to what feminism is, but the manner in which they “interviewed” her wasn’t so much competent as it was exploitative. It actually took a man, Jorge Ramos, to ask questions that weren’t subconsciously demeaning or without integrity. But wait, it gets better: Jenny McCarthy, who’s been in Playboy numerous times, sardonically and gloomily asked what would make someone want to go into porn. Really? Coming from someone whose entire career stemmed from her attractiveness and willingness to flash her tits?

What was appalling to the panel is that Miriam Weeks admitted to watching porn from the time she was 12. When I say “appalling,” I mean they were absolutely aghast at the fact. Statistically, nearly three-quarters of males under 18 watch porn regularly, while, in a general sense, 85 percent of males watch porn regularly, meaning at least once a month. In the bubble of The View, though, statistics don’t matter, which led Sherri to proclaim, “My heart breaks […] when I hear this.” Her heart may hurt, but it’s likely due to fat-clogged arteries, rather than her insipid view of pornography.

Porn is Capitalist 101: where there is a demand, there needs to be a supply, which is a need porn fulfills. To derogate those who nourish that demand is simpleminded sanctimony.

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