We’re going to have to start calling it knoxing boots, because Belle Knox, aka Miriam Weeks, who is (now famously/infamously) paying her tuition at Duke University by working as a porn star, is making her media rounds (and doin it and doin it and doin it well). She’s appeared on everything from The View to Fox News, has conducted interviews with Vice, Elle, and moonlit as a columnist on fem-positive site XOJane.
The undergrad also inspired a reality TV series. Soon she’ll be hosting a new web-based reality show called The Sex Factor, and for now, at least, it seems she’ll have no problem cashing those checks to pay Duke’s yearly $61,404 tuition. Last reported, girl makes between 1,000-1,500 bucks per film. And she’s done about 30 so far.
Her ability to articulate the ins and outs, and ups and downs of the porn industry, as well as her desire to be a civil rights lawyer for women, set her up to be a media darling– of sorts. She’s white, educated, and attends a university with a 14 percent success rate. Her story was primed to spread faster than (head of out the gutter for one sec) a rumor at the local PTA. Still, we live in fairly puritanical times. Duke, for its part, is wildly conservative. Traditionalist members of the student body have threatened Weeks, petitioned to have her expelled, and even thrown garbage at her.
Her treatment on The View[MM1] was appalling (solve for: despicable, uniformed, and hypocritical). Playboy veteran Jenny McCarthy asked Week’s what made a “sweet, little, innocent girl,” turn to porn. Sherri Shepherd told Weeks that her story made her “heart break.” Good job ladies. Seriously, screw you all with a camera watching. (Besides, Barbara Walters is totally into some horny grandparents shit.)
Despite the thinly Virgin Mary veiled act from women like Jenny McCarthy, time and again, Weeks proves her ability to turn potentially threatening, bullying and awkward situations (she was “outed” by one her Duke fellows), into ones that work to her advantage– which in many ways mirrors her start: on her first job she felt awkward in the presence of the older cameraman, but wound up enjoying herself, feeling both exhilarated and liberated. She did not, as she puts it, go into porn “uniformed.” She did the research, knew what kind of bed she was hopping into, and is now willing to lie in it.
If we are ever to have a pornacracy, Miriam Weeks might be the girl to lead the revolution. Forget burning bras, just take ’em off (if, that’s what makes you feel good).
Which is, apparently, what Weeks has inspired the next-gen of New York co-eds to do.
Since the word got out (via press release) that Belle Knox will be performing at the Show Palace in Queens, NY on May 2nd, (the only non-alcoholic, all-nude club that admits 18- to 21-year-old customers, and hires under-21 dancers), the club has been flooded with applications from would-be teen strippers.
Before Knox, according to Palace club manager Mike Diaz, only about 20 percent of the club’s dancers were college students. “Now, it’s about 50 percent,” said Diaz. “We’ve hired 30 or 40 new girls.”
Based on the club’s reporting, Baruch and Brooklyn Colleges are providing the best pole dancers. The biggest number of rejected applicants have come from Queens College and NYU. “They’re not so good-looking. I don’t know why,” Diaz said. “So far, none have met our standards.”
None from Columbia. And not one applicant from the Ivies. “For girls under 21, this is a chance to make some big money, $500 to $1,000 a night,” Diaz explained.
While Weeks has made it perfectly clear she’s empowered by her profession, explaining in an essay to XOJane.com: “We as performers have rights to express ourselves and as long as everything is consensual and legal, then more power to everyone involved,” and has likewise expressed her desire to decriminalize prostitution and give sex workers equal protection under the law, there is a dichotomy at play here: namely, Diaz, and the misogynistic undertones of his statements coupled with Weeks’s collaboration with the club.
Without jumping on the gotcha-feminism bangwagon, it is one thing for a girl to own her sexuality– whatever that may mean to her. For Knox, sometimes this means kink. It means openly discussing her sexuality on multiple media platforms. She does not shy away from expressing her delight in her industry, or her enjoyment of rough sex. On the other, while stripping and/or pornography certainly make for easier cash than a minimum wage job, Diaz here, as the patriarchal figure-head, judging women and espousing a less than sex positive attitude, doesn’t appear a proponent of feminism. Diaz’s job requires him to focus on whatever gets dicks wet at the end of the day. Which means pussy before politics.
Totally fine for him.
It’s also fine for Weeks. Sort of. We can acknowledge that it’s OK to take the money and run.
That was her plan all along, after all; to close the gap on student loans, Weeks was/is willing to open hers. And for good reason. Porn is one of the industries (like modeling) where female players are– in most cases– paid more than the males. In the words of Missy Elliot: Ain’t no shame ladies, do your thang. Just make sure you ahead of tha game.
But according to Nica Noelle, an adult film director, the problem with Weeks is simple: “this girl is getting too much mainstream media attention and too many financial opportunities.”
In other words: she wants to have her cake and be eaten out too.
Even though feminism is a fluid dogma (no, that’s not an oxymoron)– aspects of The Cause can be questioned, even doubted, and adjusted over time– the one thing it can’t be, is misogynistic. And it, as a person or as entity, can’t align itself with a strip club for marketing purposes.
Financial opportunities, like those that align her with men like Diaz whose rhetoric does not align itself with the image Weeks wants to put out there, represent the blurry line she will continue to straddle as her career continues.
How does one work with men, who (at least on paper), seem perfectly happy with homogenized gender roles, and the subjugation of (very young) women, and stay true to the belief that they’re in charge? In the porn sphere, Weeks says she calls the shots– what she’s comfortable with, what she’s not, how many of them hit her square in the eye. In the mainstream, it’s not so simple. Especially when there’s lots of money to be made.
How Weeks gets ahead of the game is yet to be seen.
But to see her yourself, head to Queens and watch her give it all she’s got.
Tags: belle knox