As many of you have already read, Tericka Dye, a Kentucky schoolteacher and volleyball coach, was recently fired from her job for having made pornographic films a decade ago, under the name Rikki Andersin.
It is a kind of story that probably gets repeated often, although not so publicly: A woman's professional and personal life is seriously compromised because she has made porn or done other sex work.
No doubt, many of the people involved in the scandal are hypocrites, who secretly wank themselves silly to internet porn, and then exclude from society all those who participate in its making.
Are we any better? Do we live up to our words? By "we," I mean those of us who would claim to respect the humanity and integrity of a person who, due to need or by choice, appeared in sexually explicit entertainment.
For us, the question is this: To what extend do we, as professionals, employers, and parents, actually put into practice the notion that Ms. Dye's work in sex films should not prevent her from coaching our daughters' sports teams, or applying for any other job, or moving freely in our own social circles?
In some of the first blogs to write extensively about this, here and here, the presumably sex-positive authors play the story for novelty or laughs, and make no mention of the injustice. Both articles appear in very pro-porn settings (one on Nerve.com, the other surrounded by advertisements for sex sites, and peppered with commercial links to Dye's many films) yet the authors never suggest that it ought to be possible to have an unashamed life as a past (or present) performer in sexually explicit entertainment.
We support a huge porn industry, which we know doesn't have to ruin women's lives, which we know shouldn't ruin women's lives, but it does ruin women's lives, and we let it.
It makes sense, the world being what it is, for people in the industry to exercise a certain discretion, to use assumed names, to not list their filmographies on their CVs if they leave the business. But are we, as enlightened consumers, doing what we can to make the porn world as safe and professional as we can? Do we reject porn which, in form or content, is obviously hostile, degrading, or exploitative? Would we go to a local school board meeting and complain, if Ms. Dye had been fired in our own districts?
Based on the amount of porn coming from the poorer countries of the developing world and Eastern Europe; and the growth of transparently hostile, misogynist 'gonzo' porn, it seems that the American market for the humiliation of women is vigorous. And the story of Dye's firing, and her lack of defenders even in the sex-positive blogoshere, suggests that as a society we still want girls to put out, but we won't respect them in the morning.
And we won't be there for them if we get them in trouble.