according to feminist porn star casey calvert she's only objectified when she wants to be

We catch up with feminist, bookworm, and porn star Casey Calvert after her feature on Caitlin Stasey's new viral website, Herself.com.

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Feb 5 2015, 5:55pm

24-year-old Casey Calvert is a committed feminist and professional porn star. Growing up she was just like any other girl, insecure about her body and embarrassed about her sexuality (hers was an inclination towards hardcore BDSM). Fast-forward to today and not only does she take her clothes off and have sex for a living, she does it as a means of expressing her sexuality and empowering herself as a woman. Because, for Casey, porn isn't about objectifying women, empowering the male gaze, or even a means of funding some long-term drug addiction, as it is, sadly, for many. It's about exercising her right to choose what she does with her body, which given the porn industry's negative reputation for encouraging violence against women, abusing its stars, spreading STIs, and desensitising its viewers, is a very rare thing indeed. Yes, she still lets guys get off to her, but, for Casey, that doesn't mean she has any less control over her body. "I am only objectified when I want to be,'' declares the American beauty, which, in an age where revenge porn is rampant, intimate selfies of female celebrities are leaked all over the place, The Sun's Page 3 is still very much at large (despite the rumours), and where a D list male celebrity got evicted from Big Brother (yes, it's still going) for touching a glamour model's breast without her consent, is important to remember. Someone who shares most of her beliefs is Australian actress Caitlin Stasey who recently interviewed Casey for Herself.com, the online platform which sees nude photos of real women, un-airbrushed and un-hacked, accompanied by deeply intimate insights into their character. We caught up with Casey to talk about sex, feminism, and her experience of porn. Introducing Miss Casey Calvert.

Tell me a bit about yourself and where you grew up…
I grew up in Gainesville, Florida in an upper middle class family. I was a very shy kid, with a small group of close friends. I certainly wasn't popular in any sense of the word. I was a tomboy and a bookworm, and really I still am. I've always been very close with my parents. I wouldn't change a single thing about my childhood.

What do you do and why?
I live my life the way I want to live my life, because I can.

How did you get into porn?
I started working as a fetish and art model in my junior year of college. It was never something I sought out; I was just exploring my personal fantasies and met the right people. They told me I was pretty enough to be a model. I thought they were crazy, but I gave it a try and fell in love with it. After I graduated, I decided I wanted to make modelling my career, and decided I wanted to do it right. I was already naked on the internet, and porn, to me, was the next step. So I did a lot of research, and talked to my parents before I took the leap and moved to LA.

What do you get out of it other than the obvious?I'm curious what the obvious is. Is it sex?
But anyway, I get two really important things from doing porn. One, porn allows me the opportunity to explore my sexuality and try new things in a way civilian life just doesn't allow. And two, porn gives me the financial freedom to live my life the way I want to live it.

You seem to ooze confidence, was there ever a time in your life where you were embarrassed about your body or your sexuality?
Oh yes. Growing up, I had zero self-confidence. I always thought I had a nice body, but I never for a second thought I was sexy, or even cute. I thought I was the smart girl, not the pretty one. As for my sexuality, I was ashamed of nothing more until I started exploring it.

Have you ever experienced discrimination because of what you do?
Yes, of course, everyone is quick to judge someone who does what I do. But I take it with a grain of salt. Those judgements, while frustrating, do not define me.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yes, without a doubt.

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me is a woman's right to choose.

What do you say to those who argue that porn objectifies women and that nothing good can come from it apart from emphasising male supremacy?I tell them that I am an example of why that isn't true. I agree with them that the final product I produce often appears as though I am being objectified. But the reality of the situation is that I consented to everything that I was doing. I am only objectified when I want to be.

Does that kind of negativity bother you?
Yes. In my perfect world, people that do sex work are viewed no differently than people who do any other kind of work. But until our society lets go of the stigma we have surrounding sex, that negativity is never going to go away.

Does being a pornstar define you?
Not at all. I like to say that I am a fairly normal 24-year old, with a fairly normal life. I just also happen to do porn.

What is the biggest misconception about pornstars?
That we are all damaged in some way - that we wouldn't be doing porn if we were "normal". People think that we are doing it to support a kid, or a drug habit, or that we were raped by our daddies. Sure, some of us come from unfortunate circumstances, but most of us are here because we want to be.

You do a lot of charity work, how important is it to you to use your status for a good cause?
I'm lucky, I have a lot of Twitter followers, and if I can use that do to some good, I'm all for that.

How can porn bring about female empowerment?
Porn has given me something that nothing else can - control over my sexuality. Women struggle with their sexuality - accepting it, exploring it, using it—their entire lives. But not me. Sexuality is a huge part of being a human being, and I own mine. Not many people can say that. Porn has empowered me, and it empowers many of the other women who participate in it the same way.

What would you say to girls who are afraid to express their sexuality?
I would tell them that there is nothing to be afraid of.

You recently posed naked for Caitlin Stacey's blog, was the experience different to when you pose nude for X-rated shoots?
I had worked with Jennifer Toole before, for a catalogue shoot, so it was great to pose for her in a completely relaxed context. We spent just as much time chatting as we did shooting. But to answer your question, yes, it was inherently different.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I will still be working in the film industry, whether in adult, mainstream, or both. I will still be in love, and I will still be doing what I love.

Describe yourself in three words.
Strong, independent, unique.

Credits



Texto Tish Weinstock
Fotografía Jennifer Toole