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My life as a porn star

Kaley Kennedy, Opinions Editor

Admit it. You’ve Googled yourself. You’ve typed your name in quotation marks and hit enter, wondering, just a little, what would come up.
Would it be a photo from a high school debating tournament when you still had braces and hadn’t yet discovered contacts? Maybe your top hits will include message board fighting from when you were 15, or an embarrassing family website on www.geocities.com (complete with cheesy animation), or your face in some newspaper’s streeter.
The truth is, in this age of digital reproduction, most of our 2,000 parts are out there on the web: past and present, flattering and embarrassing, absurd and tiresome.
I don’t ever Google my name. But I’m not going to pretend I’m a self-righteous luddite. As the majority of my friends know, I am kind of like a lost child without my Blackberry.
I don’t Google my name because it’s futile. Googling “Kaley Kennedy” just brings up a seemingly endless roll of sites for Kaley Kennedy, the young co-ed porn star, instead of Kaley Kennedy, the young contemporary studies student.
I’m not particularly offended. I don’t really need to heed to warnings about what potential employers will find when they Google my name – they’ll find a pile of spam.
However, it’s actually quite a useful thing to share your name with an Internet porn star.
People Google their names, not to see what the Internet knows about them, but instead to know what will happen when someone else Googles their name. Maybe you’re worried what a potential employer will say, or what your parents (or kids) will see, or maybe you’re really concerned about an old photo you don’t want any potential romantic interest having access to. You’re only worried about it because you know people Google names all the time.
Before there was Facebook, there was Google. Maybe you Googled your crazy professor, or maybe the cute girl you met at the history society social. Maybe you’ve Googled the “smart kid” in your class. Or my favourite: maybe you Google an old friend/classmate/crush in search of what they’re doing now.
You’d never admit you Googled someone’s name. Unless that is, they share a name with an Internet porn star.
“Hey – do you know there’s a porn star with your name?”
Yes, I know that there is a porn star with my name. It’s definitely hilarious and random, but, no, it’s not embarrassing, demoralizing or shameful. There aren’t many times when porn, sex work and feminism come up light-heartedly in conversation. Often, people ask me if I feel disgusted or upset that I share a name with an Internet adult entertainment star, and then we get to talk about why I don’t.
I get to talk about some of the things I’m passionate about – prisoner justice, sex worker rights, feminism – with people who are not necessarily up on the legal and social impacts of the criminal justice system, all while we have a laugh.
Sure, there are times when sharing a name with such a lady has reminded me that we still live in a sexist, misogynist society. I’ve had people make inappropriate comments to me about sex work or jokes about serious and intense realities faced by women. Once someone even implied that my opinions and beliefs would be worth less if I were a sex worker.
Those are the times when sharing your name with a porn star are the most disheartening: when you remember that people who do sex work are seen, not as humans, but as insignificant images. Throwaways. When you remember that sex workers are raped and beaten and don’t have anywhere to turn, and then, a classmate tells me how I should exploit my name to get laid – those are the times I feel ashamed.
All in all, Kaley Kennedy the porn star has been a good addition to my life. Once in a while I get a sketchy, random Facebook message. Sometimes I have to get on a soapbox. But for the most part, it’s just a funny and random product of how technology and sex go hand in hand.

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