A porn star walks into a school... it sounds like the beginning to a bad off color joke. But, according to recent news it isn't a joke. It's a true story that has become a media firestorm. Most of us have read, watched or at least stood around the water cooler discussing the latest negativity hype about former porn star Sasha Grey reading to a group of school children. The first question I asked myself when I first heard about this was "Why is this news?" The second question I asked myself was "Why is she being persecuted for doing something admirable?" Shouldn't the headline have read something like "woman takes time out of her day to do a charitable act?" But, no one cares about that, right?
Unless the children that were enjoying a storybook are avid fans of pornography, I fail to see how they would even be aware of what she used to do for work. If those children were aware then there are bigger issues at play. With that said, if she was reading Dr. Seuss topless or doing a slideshow version of the Kama Sutra during show and tell -- I could see the problem. If she was dressed inappropriately, showed up drunk or used profanity -- I could also see a problem. None of those things happened. She read a book to excited children eager to hear a story. But, that isn't what made the news. What made the news was the fact that she used to do porn. It seems to me she should have been praised for helping children to understand the importance of literacy and the joy of reading. What does it matter to a group of school children what someone does or used to do for work? Was she breaking the law when she was in front of the camera? No. She was acting as a consenting adult and has since even changed career paths. I'm appalled that this was even made an issue. If the children didn't know what porn is -- they certainly do now!
If we are to hold every educator or volunteer at such a strict standard then we need to ensure that every person who comes into contact with a child has never watched a pornographic film, been to a Gentlemen's Club and certainly never had sex outside of marriage. That is ridiculous. If someone chooses to take the time to do a charitable act they should be praised. Period. The people responsible for bringing this "news story" to light should really utilize the time spent slandering this poor woman more wisely. All that has been accomplished here is making sure these children now know what a "porn star" is and guaranteeing that the already small number of volunteers becomes even smaller.
If this is the logic we are to use then we are basically stating that anyone who has ever had a job within the adult industry is not fit to be around children. That sounds a lot like discrimination to me. I have known hundreds of women that have used the adult entertainment industry to put themselves through college. They paid for their schooling entirely on their own. Does that make them less intelligent and should they now be in the same category as a sex offender? I wonder what would happen if it is found that a teacher who is revered for her students top notch testing scores, wins awards for her excellence in education, and participates in community charities put herself through school as an adult entertainer. I assume, with stories like this one about Sasha Grey that she would be stripped of her teaching job and crucified for choices she made before becoming an educator. That is one less admirable and much needed educator to help in the already distressed school system. Also, we now have one more person to add to the growing list of unemployed Americans and yet another life ruined for no viable reason. It isn't a secret that good educators and people willing to donate time to a charitable cause are few and far between.
To be honest, I would rather see a former porn star reading to children than most of the public figures or celebrities currently in the limelight today. Would it have been news if a cast member of Jersey Shore was reading to the class? What a frightening thought. Society has now made it okay for the poorest of role models to gain notoriety and made media circuses out of honest people trying to make a difference. Shows like Teen Mom and The Real World are more damaging to children than any one adult entertainer could ever do.
It really comes down to this; the world we have created leaves very few people that a child can look up to. Judgment on merit alone is slowly becoming a thing of the past and that saddens me. Every one of us has a past, each one of us could easily be looked down upon for things we have done. Those statements are facts. But, those facts do not mean we are not worthy of contributing to much needed causes such as advocacy for children's literacy. Let's start praising each other more and criticizing each other less. If you choose not to contribute to the greater good, that's a personal choice. But, stop ostracizing those who do.