Adult performer and director Stormy Daniels would like to remind us that oral sex does not make her a villain. It is also not a reprehensible thing to do, whether it’s done on camera or in private. It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t need in 2018, but here we are.
Daniels replied to a Twitter user who opined that her career choice makes her an evildoer. “@StormyDaniels is the villain. She sucks cock on video for money. @Newsweek, please post videos of her ‘art,’” wrote @Madeitacross, as though an adult performer’s job is shameful and nefarious. In a marvelously-executed clapback, Daniels wrote: “Well! Smack my ass and call me Maleficient! [sic] I didn't know sucking cock makes you a villain. Haha!”
Maleficent is, of course, a badass Disney supervillain who protected a magical forest in her youth, and became evil only after suffering a terrible betrayal. Disney’s retelling of Maleficent’s story forced us to humanistically re-examine a reviled character; Daniels is challenging our culture to do the same for herself, and other women in her profession. And like Maleficent, Daniels is also a badass. In a recent New York Times op-ed, Jill Fillipovic called her a “feminist hero,” noting her “dogged refusal to be quiet and her unflagging insistence that she isn’t the one who should be embarrassed.” And like Maleficent, Daniels was done wrong by, who else, a powerful man who believed that his money could purchase her silence.
But Daniels is not ashamed of her job, which @Madeitacross astutely notes involves performing oral sex on film. Porn is not bad. Oral sex is not bad, either — last time we checked, it can actually be very good. By forcing us to confront our notions of “good” women, i.e. those who are pure, of “good substance” (as the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani condescendingly called his clients’ three wives) with “bad” women, who work in the sex trade, Daniels reminds us that the villains are those who say awful things to women online. Or say awful things about women in a bus. Or admit to sexually assaulting woman on the aforementioned bus.
Daniels is fighting the real evil in this story: a felonious system that is meant to keep women like her in place. The crooks are already going down, but she isn’t one of them.