Trawling the cheap pages of the less salubrious press in my Saturday ritual of Elvis sightings, drug store cowboys and area 51 bullshit, I stumbled across a story that made me sober up from my trash story reverie. The porn star, Dakota Skye had been found dead in her motorhome in LA on Wednesday. The cause of death was not released, however, pertinent to the story was the fact that a few days previously Dakota had posted a photo on her social media of herself topless as she walked in front of a George Floyd mural. Under this picture she had written the words: ‘Happy GeorgeFloyd day in santabarbara <3 dakotaskye equality&fair treatment for all. Dope mural.’ For this she was subjected to the usual social media feeding frenzy dogpile, where she was hung, drawn and quartered with words, threatened and summarily ‘cancelled’. She is now dead.
Dakota (and I am deliberately using the name of her alter-ego), the woman who was told by the world that the only thing of value she had was her body and access to it, who was persuaded that her tits were her treasure, who was paid to show them to men, was then told, when she gave view of her body that so many have paid for and sought and demanded she gave, was subjected to a modern witch hunt when she failed to realize that in some instances this access was not welcome. Your breasts are the best thing about you, the world told her, and when she then offered them, albeit clumsily, she faced the wrath of the crowd.
No one expects a porn star to be good with words. Had she come to me I would have suggested “happy” was not a word to use – but come on, folks, you KNOW what she means. She means ‘in remembrance’ not in celebration. She then goes on to reference the good stuff – equality and fair treatment for all. She responded to the swarm by saying:
‘celebrating BAD cops being checked with abusing there authority against human beings … hello.’
‘No human being should die getting arrested.’
This is no racist hateful splurge of bile, no raised finger to the vital cause of racial justice in the USA, this is a porn star not being very good with words, and thinking that showing her boobs is a good thing because that is what The Man has taught her right from the start.
What I would have lazily tagged in a kneekick reaction if I wasn’t trying very hard as “a beautifully rendered visual reminder of Mr. Floyd and the ongoing struggle” in her words became “dope mural” , a more honest and heartfelt response in my opinion. For this inability to express herself in ways polite society finds palatable – when society created her in the first place – for her lack of knowledge of the formula by which to respond, and for her blind acceptance that her body is all she has to offer – and so thinking it was all she had and in her mind by flashing her boobs, offered what she had of value freely, she was destroyed.
I am not saying her naked breasts were appropriate, nor that the photo or the words were elegant or even suitable, but nor was the way the world created this persona – Dakota – which felt like they were. Lack of education, extreme grooming from childhood onwards, then falling into drug and alcohol abuse to deal with the pain of her experiences at the hands of men combined with the shattering of her personal space and bodily autonomy led to this ugly slip up. She was not spouting racial hatred, she simply did not have a clue about social mores. For this, Dakota would have benefitted from some gentle explanation why her photo and words were inappropriate. That is not what happened, she was hounded to the point where she either tumbled out of her precarious sobriety (her aunt said she had been sober for weeks according to various news sources) and overdosed, or else, the unspeakable, the other possibility that I cannot even think about without tears.
Lauren’s life mattered too.
This world created Dakota Skye out of the ruins of the life of Lauren K Scott. Lauren had been abused sexually, physically and verbally during her young life, she had fallen into drugs and alcohol in order to curb the pain from those images that ran through her head. The slo-mo replay of every act of degradation, every torture, every time it was demonstrated to her – and others like her, others like me – that she was only worth shit to the world because of her body and the pleasing face that was attached to it.
Lauren was a beautiful young woman, but it was not her beauty that was prized – it was her conditioning to accept a role as the receptacle for male sexual desire to be dumped into, conditioning that had started in childhood with abuse, with her ego and self worth being picked apart by myriad abuses, until the patriarchy and it’s agents created an empty shell to pose and play with, record and display. The soul that remained after the Patriarchy had created the shell, needed alcohol and drugs in order to subdue what was left of the fight. Lauren shed her identity, and out from that poisoned chrysalis came Dakota Skye, the porn star.
Her aunt commented that all Lauren wanted was to be loved. I know that desire, that thought that if you are cute enough, pliable enough, sexy enough, pretty and pleasing that maybe someone will love you, and that love will fill the void that is left by the abuses and patch together with sticky tape and brown paper an egg shell self worth. It leaves a black hole soul that sucks in all the attention and tries to use it as material to fill that empty space where love, safety and a secure childhood should have been.
That damage looks at desire and relabels it acceptance.
It takes lust and thinks it is a precursor to love. Only wanted and needed and made to feel cared for when she gave all of herself in the search for that panacea, pliable and biddable is the only rational way to be. Want to choke me? Go ahead, if you might then love me in return. Want to whip me? I’ll show you my strength and resilience, then perhaps I will be worth something. Want that woman to accept increasingly painful and depraved acts, telling her that in return she will ‘go places’, be someone, be given praise for her acceptance of what they will just take anyway, just tell her she is lovely, and a trooper and a sweetheart, and she will take any amount of dazing, physically torturous sexual acts in return for that praise.
Sex work is not a ‘job’, nor should it ever be something for which women should be shamed. It is the logical conclusion of childhood abuses and drug addiction, but I will lay off my Nordic model now posturing. I’m writing this for Lauren. This is just for her. She had nothing she owed to the girls coming up in the sex industry, she owes nothing in death to serve as a warning to others. She was a valuable person in her own right. I didn’t know her, but she deserves her eulogy by those that did, and who loved her, not for her body or her willingness borne from previous hurt, but because by all accounts she was a sweet, loving and kind young woman of 27 years of age, and she is now dead before her time.
I half considered looking at Dakota’s work in the interests of seeing exactly what the patriarchy did to Lauren. Just reading the titles had my hands shaking and that old desire for a bottle or a shot or a pill creeping up behind me. It is somewhat easily dealt with for me, at least nowadays. I take a moment and a few deep breaths and wait for it to subside. I retreat from what has caused the tide to rise up. I can do this because I have sole control over my body and what happens to it. I am not naked and raw and abused from men’s abuses, and the metal jaws of the adult industry that chew women up and spit them out. Porn is not empowering, it is not taking control or celebrating women’s bodies, it is the use and abuse of women who have already been damaged enough to accept the role of sex doll, who are already dehumanized and partially dismantled by abuse. Of course women in the sex industry use drugs and booze – it is the only way to cope with the dehumanization, and physical toll of the constant round of paid rapes.
For Lauren this written abuse, the threat of losing the ‘love’ she felt she had from strangers, her confusion at the response to her inelegant actions must have been terrifying. It must have felt like a loss of her safety, and as the survivor of various childhood abuses and a highly dysfunctional family (according to her aunt), for a fragile and broken young woman it was simply too much of a pile-on.
Lauren remained behind the mask of Dakota Skye, her aunt’s ‘sweet girl’ that gave most of her earnings to her family and who had lost her mother to addiction only a couple of years ago. It was Lauren who was backed into a corner without the weapons to defend herself, having being brainwashed to believe her body was a tribute to be offered up. It was Lauren who joins the 27 club, killed by the braindead message board and twitter piranha who are now parroting the socially acceptable zeitgeist formula of hashtags about bullying and offering reminders to be polite about the dead. These same mechanisms were behind Lauren’s death in the first place. It was Lauren who doesn’t get to live the dream of healing and moving on from Dakota and the sex industry. It is her family who is deprived of her sweetness and love.
In the end men cost Lauren everything she had. They used up that sweetness and beauty and need to be loved until they destroyed it in their search for cheap orgasms. Cheap for them. Not so cheap for Lauren and other women like her.
Rest in peace Lauren, I’ve got your back, girl…. even if I know you would have told me to fuck off if I had suggested that the sex industry was just more abuse and you needed to escape it’s clutches. I know you would have said exactly that, because I would have said the same a couple of decades ago. I would have yelled ‘no slut shaming!” and got back to the grind having justified my existence in my own mind, and secured the next bag which to me back then, was life.
Most of these little boys and the privileged protected handmaidens of the patriarchy who drove you to the point of no return have no idea what your life entailed, or what you did in order to survive and help those you love make it through. They don’t know about strength or damage or love as it exists for the female survivors of abuse, and they don’t even care to.
Lauren, you were one dope chick, and I am so very sad for you. You deserved better, I knew what you meant. Love, Paltry
So very sad..
I am more infuriated than sad I think.
So lovely to hear some compassion and empathy.