‘Real World’: Porn star ≠ sexual predator

So this week on Real World, I actually felt bad for Dustin. Usually I find him to be egotistical, manipulative, and judgmental, but he definitely didn’t deserve to be equated with a child molester because of his porn past.

Mike, who doesn’t like Dustin and gave him a letter post-porn-discovery basically saying that he hated Dustin for what he did, had an idea for their internship to raise money for local schools’ music departments. After a meeting about the idea, Mike warned Dustin that he might not be allowed near the school or the students because of his porn star past. They’d do a background check, Mike insisted, and Dustin wouldn’t be allowed near the children.

Firstly, the type of porn Dustin did isn’t illegal, so it wouldn’t come up in an actual background check — maybe in a Google check, though. Mike seems to equate porn with other devious sex acts such as child molestation — acts that actually are illegal and would prevent you from getting near children. Dustin was right to be upset, because being a porn star is not the same as being a sexual predator.

Obviously this speaks to Mike’s own values — that porn is on the same level of “immoral” or “wrong” as sexual assault. And though Mike can have his own beliefs about pornography, I’m not sure if his insinuating that Dustin’s porn history (with consenting, of-age adults) is trying to rile Dustin up or if Mike really thinks that being in pornography means you are a danger to young children. They were going to the school to listen to the kids play music, not to give a sex ed demonstration.

I also think there’s an element of homophobia here, and that the combination of gay sex and pornography is too much indecency for Mike to handle. He’s projected his own morality (“I wouldn’t want my kids around someone who does gay porn”) onto society at large, but it’s important to remember that Dustin didn’t break any laws or abuse any children. Therefore, he doesn’t deserve to be treated like a criminal or a sex offender.

I admit, I’d have felt a little sympathy for Mike if Dustin had actually put that birdcage on his head, though.

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