Sasha Grey “Equal Pay Day” PSA

Earlier this month, one of our favorite former porn stars Sasha Grey lent her persona, past and voice to Equal Pay Day, a Belgium-based org that claims it aims to close the wage gap between two genders. Looking at what they’ve done with editing and the final message, it looks like they basically exploited Grey to send a message that working toward equal pay is important to keep people from ending up like Grey.

In the PSA (public service announcement – ad for a social cause) Grey talks about different jobs she’s had, and that she is proud of her extreme porn past. However, the clip ends by judging Grey’s experience as a cautionary tale with the tagline, “Porn is about the only way for women to make more than men. Find a better alternative. (…)”

Adweek sums it up perfectly,

(…) this campaign has bigger problems—its slut-shaming tactics are regressive as hell, for one thing, plus it misrepresents Grey’s actual feelings about her adult film career.

What’s left is a garbled, sensationalistic mess that uses porn to attract an audience that it simultaneously expects to be disgusted by porn.

Yup, that’s the formula – the old, tired formula for making your message a big bundle of #fail.

Exploring the idea of pay gaps in porn is interesting, but we left the idea of porn being a ‘last resort’ for women to make money in the dust a long time ago. I think that using a woman to twist her message about her own self-defined sexuality to forward an agenda is something we *actually* need to find “a better alternative” to, thank you very much.

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  1. When you say “Grey talks about different jobs she’s had”, you do realize that she means those are all roles she had in porn, right? There’s no way she worked as a teacher or a nurse with no more than a high-school education. The big clue is “As a nurse, I made more than the doctors,” which foreshadows the point made at the end about how porn is one of the few areas where women make more than men.

    Anyhow, her own involvement in this PSA was surely her own choice. It’s hard to believe she was lured into it under false pretenses, although I suppose it’s possible.

  2. Yes it seems there is so much work to be done. Lisa Ling did a documentary on amateur porn. Normally, I find her documentaries, even the one about sexual perpetrators even and thoughtful but the cautionary tale permeated the amateur porn documentary. Because of my work and my journey in wanting to create a space and place for the culture of sex workers to define it’s self and find it’s voice I considered that documentary for a long time after watching, deeply saddened.
    I finally decided that women, far more than men work hard to keep the boundary of the sex worker from other women because without a bad girl, there is no good girl. And we all know only good girls, get love, affirmation, security, salvation. The bad girl line kept getting changed sex before marriage, multiple partners, divorce, living together before marriage all fell by the wayside. So we are what is left. I believe far more than men, who all sex workers know, behind closed doors, with us, get it, women resist our story ever being a happy story, although speaking personally, mine, as a sex worker, always has been a happy story.
    However, for ‘ vanilla’, ‘straight’ women, we justify their world as it has been constructed, that my friend, is the invisible war that is being waged. And how is that discourse disrupted? This site does, thank you Violet, and every bit of art, in any form, that tells another story does what words alone can never do …so seek it where it is, the ‘other’ story of the sex worker and support support support. Coming out is an act of resistance — always had been and the first place to ‘come out’ is in art in all it’s forms.

  3. Ouch. that could have been better. I think she should probably make a new video denouncing the old video. Has anyone spoken to her about this? Is she aware of the contradictory message here? This works like velcro on sandpaper.

    As an aside (In my loopy mind, I think they are connected), considering the frothy brew-ha concerning porn by one of our idiot candidates, it may very well be time for Mr. Savage to pull the nuclear option, and proceed to redefine the proper name ‘Rick’.

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