Can Porn Stars be Role Models?

Can Porn Stars be Role Models?

Written by Josiah ‘Sean Zevran’ Jennings and originally published on josiahjennings.com

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The other night, someone asked me whether I thought porn stars can be role models. This person intended no offense, as he knew I am an adult video model, but the very fact that he felt the need to ask the question at all contains an implicit prejudice. It implies there is something inherent in being a porn star that precludes—or at least brings into question—being a role model.

The first step in answering this question is defining “role model”. The term literally implies a model for a given role, meaning a role model is a thing that exemplifies what it means to be that thing.

There can be a role model student, athlete, teacher, police officer, soldier, doctor, store clerk, barber, postmaster or any number of things. There can even be a role model porn star insofar as exemplifying what it means to be a porn star. But when used generally in the context of society, a role model is a respectable citizen to whom his or her peers look up. Therefore, the question is whether there is something inherent in being a porn star that precludes being worthy of respect and admiration.

Obviously, it is the occupation of a porn star per se that is suspect. In economic terms of labour, demand and supply, a porn actor provides a good or service in exchange for a wage as does any other profession. The difference is porn actors are selling sex as their goods and services. Sex is still a taboo in many cultures, and there is a stigma attached to those who are sexually open and more so to those who sell sex. So, whether being a porn star precludes being worthy of respect and admiration depends on one’s views about sex.

This is not entirely unlike how being gay, which is closely related to sex, is viewed in society. Being gay is still a taboo in many cultures, and there is a stigma attached to those who are gay. There are people who believe being gay is a quality that precludes one from being worthy of respect and admiration. This view is predicated on very socially conservative views about sex. Civil rights activists have fought tirelessly to demonstrate that a person should not be condemned on the basis of his or her sexuality. I am arguing that a porn actor should not be condemned on the basis of his or her sexual occupation.

Personally, I have very liberal views on sex—sex is natural, it’s healthy, it feels good, it’s fun and it can also be a means of expression. I see no compelling reason why sex should not be expressed and celebrated. Furthermore, at the risk of sounding vain, I am very good at sex, and I have taken economic advantage of this fact. I have decided to capitalize on this particular talent by working in the sex industry.

Now, to again use being gay as a parallel, I see no moral culpability in the marriage of two individual consenting adults of the same sex. Live and let live, right? Similarly, assuming there isn’t any coercion, exploitation or negative externalities involved in a transaction between consenting adults wherein sex and money are being exchanged, I see no moral culpability here either. Believing either of these scenarios to be perverse is an example of baseless prejudice.

I think the argument I most often hear levelled against people in the adult film industry is that porn models lack respect for themselves, and therefore they can’t expect other people to respect them—that they sell themselves for sex is an indication of this lack of dignity.

But my counterargument to this is that the service of sex is just another form of labour in the economy. Labour comes in many forms, and we choose which form of labour we wish to provide in exchange for income based on our talents, comfort and available options. This condemnation of sex as labour is based on a very morally conservative definition of sex. It ascribes a sanctity to sex that many of the adherents to this definition fail to see is little more than a subjective preference rather than some noble moral position.

The act of selling sex in and of itself is not always a violation of dignity, except in cases of coercion and exploitation, but these cases of coercion and exploitation cannot be conflated with every facet of the sex industry. First, not every act of selling sex is a product of coercion and exploitation. Secondly, there is not a single industry absent corruption, coercion and exploitation. These things depend more on government and laws, the structure of the economy and public awareness. There is no reason the adult film industry should be unfairly singled out.

Those who condemn sex as labour view sex as a sacred union between two people. Some go further by defining sex as a sacred union between one man and one woman, and further still by defining sex as a sacred union between one man and one woman who are married to one another.

Like those who attempt to highjack the definition of marriage, those who attempt to highjack the definition of sex stand on no greater moral foundation.

We live in a society with a diverse array of values and beliefs, and for the most part we have come to the consensus that as long as those values and beliefs do not bring harm upon your fellow citizens, then any one of those values and beliefs can be respected. There is no inherent quality in a porn star that detracts from the social good. Porn stars are people—people whose occupation does not bring harm onto society and whose occupation is not paradoxical to valuing things like education and community service. Thus, there is nothing that precludes a porn star from being a role model in society.

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  1. ken
    October 09, 04:52 Reply

    Hell 2 da No! Unless the porn star is doing the job a science experiment to find the cure for HIV, the answer is a big phat MBANU!

    Porn stars are obviously not my preferred role model. And NO, you cant equate being a porn star to being gay, cos one is a deliberate concious choice for monetary gain.

  2. KingBey
    October 09, 05:05 Reply

    I nominate HotRod. Nigga gives as well as takes perfectly.

      • KingBey
        October 09, 05:45 Reply

        For Gay Sex Role Model award na. Anytime I think of good sex, Hot Rod giving that 10inches dick and receiving it while moaning comes to my head. Nwa zuruoke

  3. #Chestnut
    October 09, 06:39 Reply

    Well,I guess it depends on d aspect of his personality one is looking up to. His profession isn’t the entirety of his person; he might be very kind-hearted or altruistic or creative etc, for instance,the one that wrote this is obviously a good writer; I’d like to be able to write as well as he does. So,yea,a pornstar can have other admirable qualities that one might want to emulate…(Oh,and they should DEFINITELY be role models, when u’re trying to impress in d bedroom hehehe.)

  4. Jamie
    October 09, 07:16 Reply

    You don’t equate being homosexual with being a porn actor, cos they may pretend, but you have fans!! While the homosexual is struggling to stop physical violence against him, you’re blabbing about not having fans??? When did being a porn actor become a in-born and not a choice? Just look for something else to compare with yourself!!
    And stop complaining about not having fanatics, cos your job is to do the thing, people buying or not shouldn’t really be your business…which they do! But you don’t remind people that you are here, thy should look up to you…they just do when there’s the chance!!

    • Teflondon
      October 09, 07:36 Reply

      To what has been a norm around here.. I need to break the silence on it once and for all. Not everyone is born Gay.
      That said
      Jamie don’t you think even your comment tips more towards the balance of blabbing?!

      • ken
        October 09, 08:31 Reply

        Really??? That would mean not everyone is born straight too?
        People make these ridiculous assumptions bcos they confuse sexuality with having sex. Anybody can have sex with whoever (given the right circumstances). Sex doesnt determine sexuality. Sexuality is innate, sex is a choice.

      • Jamie
        October 09, 09:31 Reply

        Teflondon, I’ve been used to your role here even before you realised me!! Being a bisexual ”heterosexual” man…(LOL)…for all I care, is nothing enough to get famous with cos I’ve heard that so many times already…!! My tip for you=break the records with the ”I have chosen again to remain basically heterosexual as I was before”, and stick to it. This is one I never get to hear from all of the bisexual ”heterosexuals” I have met so far… Ingenious idea, I think!!

  5. Delle
    October 09, 09:08 Reply

    Hmm…this is a tough one. Personally speaking, porn stars are just that…porn stars. Why do they want prestige now? For what use…to start walking the streets and telling people just how good to be a porn star is or what? To me that’s what being a role model is…not just being fanned by someone, but transcending what you do to the fans.
    So porn stars can’t be role models, not when there are so many ills that come with watching porn (then attempting it too). And pls being a porn star isn’t equivalent to being gay…one is an occupation (that could be very well decided) and the other, a sexual orientation that’s as innate as an adam’s apple!
    Thanks and God bless!

  6. pete
    October 09, 10:10 Reply

    He has got something up there.

  7. Sinnex
    October 09, 10:10 Reply

    I guess Role Model to those who want to go into the Porn industry.

  8. Max
    October 09, 11:27 Reply

    There’s a difference between being a porn star and being gay. Thats where he went wrong on his rant.

  9. Khaleesi
    October 09, 11:45 Reply

    LOL!!! this is a smart and sneaky attempt to tie up the gay rights movement with a call for increased respect for porn stars, but nah! wont fly with me bro!
    But i do agree with you that there are those (in fact virtually everyone in this part of the world), who believe that being gay precludes ones from being worthy of respect and admiration, no matter what else you achieve. With regards to Nigeria gays; you can even extend it further and say that lots and lots of Nigerian gays despite being gay nevertheless believe that being gay is utterly disgusting and MUST deprive them of respect or the need to behave responsibly and respectably until that day when they outgrow their sexuality and rejoin the path of heterosexuality.
    I have no issues if anyone wishes to sell his/her body for sex onscreen/offscreen, its frankly not my business; but please don’t try to force me to respect something thats patently demeaning … being a porn star is a conscious decision; being gay is an integral, unconscious and inseparable part of a person

  10. Peak
    October 09, 14:11 Reply

    Did he compare being gay with being a porn star? No.
    Did he cite them as examples while trying 2 explain his situation and profession against societal views ? Yes

    He cited both phenomenon cos he isn’t just porn star, he is equally gay, a gay porn star if u add together! I didn’t see where he made comparison to both subject matter. They are both things being frowned at by society. They are both things that society would rather pretend doesn’t exist or class as taboo.
    A good number of us here like most culture or present day society or just ur regular conservative society, consider tattoos, piercing, adultery, masturbation etc as taboos. Are they the same thing or hold the same gravity? No! But they all fall in one big basket called taboo.

    He cited being gay as a taboo as sex is with this for SOCIETAL VIEWS,

    “This is not entirely unlike how being gay, which is closely related to sex, is viewed in society. Being gay is still a taboo in many cultures, and there is a stigma attached to those who are gay. There are people who believe being gay is a quality that precludes one from being worthy of respect and admiration. This view is predicated on very socially conservative views about sex.”

    Sex is closely related/treated with being gay but aren’t ENTIRELY the same. That is his argument. He is gay and expresses himself sexually.

    BTW Sean is a University graduate and CHOSE to be an adult star cos he LOVED IT! I never knew he is this bright. My admiration for him just went through the roof.

    Did I mention that the boy is extra super fine with a body 2 die for and can bottom for the gods and the seven seas?

    “I am very good at sex, and I have taken economic advantage of this fact.” I see no lies boo. You can get it, like all of it!

    To answer his question , Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! After reading this, he made me a believer. If some of us can attend some of the prestigious school and still come out to pursue a career in certain industries that doesn’t require a serious formal education and still be considered respectable members of the society, why can’t porn stars be afforded the same luxury? ?…………I get it, they sell sex abi? #judgementalMuch.

    • Andrevn
      October 09, 16:16 Reply

      Dazzal. And so Peak said it all

    • Max
      October 09, 18:27 Reply

      Why don’t you find his type around here and bae him( a porn star who knows his craft).

      @Peak

  11. Santa Diaba
    October 09, 15:10 Reply

    Sex is amazing and all, but I’d rather have a role model whose name is in Forbes.

  12. Dickson Clement
    October 09, 21:54 Reply

    What’s the difference between a porn star and a prostitute???

    • Tiercel de Claron
      October 10, 08:30 Reply

      Same as six and half a dozen.
      Prostitutes should be role models too,going by his logic.They do provide a sought-after service.

    • Jeova Sanctus Unus
      October 11, 08:18 Reply

      You don’t have sex with a porn star. You watch them do it.

      Almost like the difference between pro athletes and your school teammates.

  13. Mwaniki
    October 10, 08:50 Reply

    I do not even think role modelling is a sound or fair concept to begin with. We all ought to believe in ourselves and not try to emulate or be like anyone else. -_-
    That said, some people are excellent at what they do. We can learn from them a thing or two. Including porn stars. Only fools think they know it all, after all.
    And some people inspire us to keep doing right; others mobilize us to join their cause. That is all good. But to be like or to copy someone/anyone else? Not on my plan.

  14. Jeova Sanctus Unus
    October 11, 08:37 Reply

    With the comments I see here. Do we think being prejudiced against the porn actor makes us better? Or means we’re better?

    There’s no restriction to equality. Until we all are free, we are all slaves. Aren’t we the same people singing praises on TV shows that write in gay (sex) scenes?

    Do we go out of our way to watch porn? Do we favor some performances above others? That means those actors entertained us.

    He wasn’t pleading for fan (nor fanatics). He wasn’t asking to be idolized. He was simply demanding respect. As a human being. As a professional. As someone who respects other people.

    The moment we ask if people in a profession should be role models, we disrespect that profession. Their profession is just a part of them. What if he’s a musician, model, porn actor, tutor? Will we suddenly lose our respect for that hot math lecturer/model if he became a porn actor?

    The measure you give, the measure you receive. Oji mmadu n’ala mi one ya.

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