The Chronicle, Duke University’s student-run newspaper, ran a piece Feb. 14 concerning a freshman student who doubles as a porn star.

For the sake of privacy, the article referred to her and her alter ego by pseudonyms Lauren and Aurora, respectively.

Lauren attends Duke University as a first-year student and a member of College Republicans. She holds a double major in women’s studies and sociology, according to The Chronicle’s article.

According to the article, Lauren said she travels to Los Angeles during breaks, where she films her scenes. Evidently, her parents don’t know of her secret life.

Though she would not disclose how much she earns, Katie Fernelius, the reporter who wrote the article in The Chronicle, mentioned Lauren had an array of flashy belongings with her at the sit-down interview.

According to Mark Spiegler in an interview with Business Insider, female porn stars earn on average about $800 for a girl-girl scene, $1,000 for a guy-girl scene and up to $4,000 for other scenes.

Lauren said she got involved in the industry to afford Duke’s rising tuition.

Interestingly, she said she felt as though a profession in sex work was far more empowering and dignifying than her previous job waitressing. 

“To be perfectly honest, I felt more degraded in a minimum-wage, blue-collar, low paying service job than I ever did doing porn,” Lauren said.

As a self-identified feminist, Lauren said there were a few problems with the porn industry, but also said she took up problems with other feminists criticizing her for supporting the industry.

“If the patriarchy is about men making decisions for women and taking away their agency, why do some feminists want to control other women’s decisions?” Lauren asked.

Pornography, as Fernelius writes, essentially refers to female enslavement and perpetuates some of the more grisly and personal acts of sexism.

But if Lauren considers herself empowered from her profession, then it’s no one’s place to take that away from her. It isn’t as though she’s unaware of the industry’s murky history.

Evidently, news of Lauren’s involvement has received mixed feedback. Fellow students hark about how much they want to have sex with her. Response articles criticize and praise her. Comments on other articles about Lauren, according to Jezebel, assert she deserves no privacy or even protection from rape and sexual assault.

What puzzles me most is that no one seems to criticize the male student who initially found one of Lauren’s scenes.

As it goes, a fellow male student, first-year Thomas Bagley, had some downtime to kill. In his private time, he noticed one of the girls, Aurora, he was watching on the Internet bore a striking resemblance to a girl in his class, Lauren.

He decided to confront her about it. She admitted to being in the film, but swore him to secrecy. Shortly thereafter, the secret was out.

Jezebel features a screenshot of an anonymous tweet on @collegefession’s Twitter account posted Feb. 7, reading: “‘I found out a girl in our freshman class is a porn star. I’ve made it my goal to [have sex with] her before I graduate.’ –Duke University.”

This entire response is highly indicative of something a little off in our society. Far too many people concern themselves with criticizing and stigmatizing sex workers, but never the consumers.

We, as a society, are quick to shame the porn stars, but never the men who rely on them. Always we mock the stripper but never the creeps who watch.

There is nothing wrong with expressing sexuality. I commend Lauren for finding a profession that makes her happy and earns her money.

So, what do we make of Duke’s porn star? Nothing.