Women Studies Major By Day, Porn Starlet By Night

Recently, a student at Duke University was outed by a classmate as having performed in pornographic films to pay for her tuition. She dismissed the classmate's actions, saying it was her own private choice and she would have like to have kept it that way. But should university students work in the sex industry to earn a degree?

Cost of College

It's no secret a degree at some schools can buy a small house instead, with one year of tuition and room/board getting up as high as $61,977, according to Business Insider. That price tag is more than most people earn in a year, let alone have readily on hand to pay for higher education, and the costs only seem to be getting higher.

And...Action!

Enter Lauren, aka Belle Knox (her porn name), an 18-year-old student at Duke who was wondering just how she was going to fork over $60,000 for tuition. She didn't want to be like thousands of other students who graduated with an average debt load of $29,400, and thought porn would be a good way to sidestep that.

In an article written for The Independent, Lauren describes it as, "I literally just Googled 'How to be a porn star.' It came up with all these modeling agencies and I literally just sent in my pictures and height and weight. I was getting calls literally within days, with people saying they really wanted me."

And within days, she embarked on a new career while still studying for a degree in women's studies and sociology, and would have kept her fly-by-night cover intact had another student not revealed everything, including her full name.

The Aftermath

It turns out those in the porn industry are hugely protective of each other. When Monarchy Distribution CEO Mike Kulich found out what Lauren's classmate had done, he sent the young man himself a letter saying a spot in films was open for him with a salary of $10,000.

However, it speaks to another issue at hand, and that's of tuition rates so high, students feel they have no other choice other than to perform sexual acts on camera. It's certainly Lauren's choice to enter into porn if she chooses, but the thought arises that it wasn't her first choice, and not something she would have done if other options were available.

It's also troubling that when a student is faced with $4,300 in college bills each month and takes a legal (and tax-contributing) path in paying for her education, she receives death threats and daily taunts. The double standard at play (men can watch porn, but women can't use it as a viable career option) is more than a little unfair, and doesn't allow critics to speak out against it as long as they're paying for her services.

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