Lili Bee had had it rough. Finally emancipated and making something of a living despite the abusive boyfriend in whose home she’d been forced to settle into in order to survive, she decided things were not so bad. Just as she was getting settled, her boyfriend forced her to audition at the Playboy Club in New York City to try to get a break in her career. She made it. In June, she recounted her story for the readers of the Good Men Project.
The club was strict, but she was well-paid and formed part of a union. For reasons that were not disclosed, she got in trouble some years into the job and was faced with the decision of having to leave the club. A man she had met through the club, who’d previously been very generous with her, suggested that she transfer to another club, or consider posing for the magazine. The magazine deal would provide money, he said, and possibly open the door for her in terms of modeling.
Lili Bee didn’t want to get naked. She wanted a decent living, but she didn’t want to have to get naked to get it. She quit the club and now looks back happy that she didn’t pose nude:
My decision to pose would not have been retractable. It was like the stupid tattoo I got when I was 15, but even that could at least be concealed. By not posing, I was free to marry a respectable man and have children who would never find out that Mommy posed for a pornographic magazine. I could go to college and get the jobs I wanted and always hold my head up without fear of being found out.
Instead, Lili Bee started an online resource center for partners of porn addicts, which believes that the adult industry destroys the family, intimacy and society and sees all women who engage in any aspect of the sex industry as exploited victims.
I dislike the notion that a “respectable” man is one that participates in the socially acclaimed past time of slut-shaming, refusing to consider a relationship with a woman who has been in the adult industry or otherwise exposed to sex is inherently tarnished and unworthy of love. This article perpetuates that harmful ideology.
If, instead of battling against an industry because of the perceived harm Lili Bee believes it causes society, we worked to enact laws to protect the women in the industry, and worked with society to stop using a woman’s past involvement with the industry as a cardinal sin to prevent her advancement, we would be much better able to solve the problem of exploitation, and give a leg up to relationships that crumble under the pressure of social shame.
In short, your piece, Lili Bee, does nothing good for the exploited you’re trying to protect. It harms. And the Good Men Project, which until now I considered a thought-provoking venture, more and more appears to be grossly unhelpful. Sure! Let’s tell the girls not to get naked! Never mind the differences in salaries between men and women and the fact that porn is one of the only industries that pays women more. Don’t do that, girls! Doesn’t matter if you have to sleep on the street tonight or take up with an abusive asshat. Think of your dad! Think of the man who won’t marry you unless you fit his perfect vision of a good girl!
That’s right, think of everyone but yourselves!
Header image by Mihai Dragomirescu<./em>