November 19, 2013

“No options” but to return to porn – Jenna Jameson

Written by Hysen Sisco, MIM Intern

Jenna Jameson, former porn star, is back in the business after retiring and vowing never to return. Upon leaving the porn industry, Jameson said “I made a promise to my children when they were in my tummy that there is no way I could ever, ever, ever go back.” She explained her reason for leaving was in order to take care of her family.

But after alleged drug addiction, a divorce, losing custody of her two children, a DUI and foreclosure on her home, Jameson is broke and in need of an income. So she’s going back to porn to make more films. With her fame, you would think she’d have the means to support herself, but being in porn does not award a performer the same advantages as other forms of celebrity.

The harms of porn are well documented, but often people forget that the performers are victims as well. Many consent to what they think porn will be like but are shocked to discover the reality of violence, drugs and coercion. In an interview with women’s rights activist and a freelance journalist Maya Shlayen, ex-porn star Vanessa Belmond said, “I never met any woman that had a professional career and left it to go into porn just for fun. Many got into it because of financial desperation. Many also had abusive childhoods.” The fact that these performers are looking for a life and validation via the porn industry shows how little they have to choose from.

So it comes as no surprise when they return to the only thing they know, even if it’s a world of humiliation and danger. In the documentary After Porn Ends, porn performer Nina Hartley explains that performers in porn “don’t know how to do anything else. They don’t know how to do retail; they don’t know how to do Excel spreadsheets. Many people [in] adult entertainment… are not suited for nine-to-five work.” This deficit of choices translates to lack of skills required to work — in addition to the stigma — that follows them beyond porn.

In a recent article, Kimberly Halsey, porn screen name Houston, lamented her inability to move on from porn professionally. Halsey was able to get her real estate license and worked as a broker for 3 years until she was recognized and fired. Now, she’s back in the porn industry so she can at least have an income. “I wanted out of porn. I still want out of porn. I can’t get out of porn because I can’t make the kind of money I can in the adult industry,” she said. “I hate it. I freaking hate it.”

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