So, not only has a junior high science teacher in California been fired for appearing in a pornographic movie, a three-judge commission upheld her firing. She was fired because the internet means the porn films she starred in will *always* be available to students.
This is the point were I have to make my bias clear: I am anti-porn. I do not think it’s possible to create pornography which is unharmful in a culture which constructs women as a sex class. In a post-patriarchy world things might be completely different. But, we aren’t there yet and I do believe that porn, in its current incarnation, is inherently harmful due to its reductive construction of a racist heteronormative sexuality which privileges the male orgasm at the expense of women’s physical and emotional well-being.
Being anti-porn is political stance. It is a critique of the capitalist-patriarchal structures which harm us all (within and out with porn).
However, this article isn’t about questioning the role of porn in our culture. It’s about slut-shaming. It’s holding one woman responsible for the ignorance of her former colleagues and the fact that porn culture is so pervasive that students in the middle school where she taught found and watched some of the porn films she was in.
According to the district superintendent Jeff Chancer her decision to “engage in pornography was incompatible with her responsibilities as a role model for students,”. Stacie Halas did not participate in the porn industry whilst a teacher. She made several films during a 9 month period in 2005 – 2006 because of poverty. She was not showing porn films in her classroom. She was not sharing the porn films with her students. She was not flogging them to her students. She appeared in several movies 8 years ago. And, this is enough to have her fired.
I clearly missed the module in my education degree which said that only perfect people were allowed to be teachers.
There is little discussion here of how the students, in middle school, accessed the films. Or, why children were watching porn. Surely, the access children have to porn is far more problematic than one teacher appearing in a porn film. Yes, I get that once the children found out, it would have been harder for Halas to do her job. But, let’s be honest here, teenagers are just like adults. They can be equally cruel and a bunch of teenagers writing profanity on the teachers window is part of the job description. It happens even to perfect members of staff who never found themselves broke and taking a job in a porn film.
Really though, the reason Halas worked within the porn industry is irrelevant for this. It only impacted her job because her co-workers complained to the school administration about it. It only impacted her job because she was fired. Halas was forced out of her job by slut-shaming reactionaries.
I am anti-porn but I can not see how preventing a woman from working as a teacher will end the pornification of our society and the hyper-sexualisation of childhood. This has taught her students that porn actresses are all sluts who do not deserve respect or basic human dignity. It has taught her students that slut-shaming is a perfectly acceptable activity. It has taught her students that it is acceptable to mock those who make different decisions than ourselves. It has taught them that it is okay to humiliate those who have fewer choices than they do.
This is a horrible story. My sympathy is with Halas and not the slut-shaming, hypocritical arseholes who are preventing her from doing a job she was trained for. More importantly, I wouldn’t want my children to be taught by people lacking in both empathy and the critical skills necessary to engage constructively in our Capitalist-Patriarchy.
And, by the way Huff Post, those “student-teacher sex scandals” at the bottom are cases of child rape, possession of child pornography and other forms of sexual violence. Not “sex scandals”. They are also all women; women who are convicted sex offenders. They are not comparable to a woman who used to work in the porn industry. Working in porn is not a criminal offence; raping a 14 year old boy is a crime. Could you at least pretend to keep that straight?