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Alyssa Funke of Casting Couch suicide shows society’s fear of women and porn

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Alyssa Funke of Casting Couch
Is a woman who dares to go beyond gender expectations just a ‘slut?’

There are many women who pursue careers in fashion, advertising and for most they get on with their job, forever mindful that their appearances are being carefully scrutinized. Then there are women such as Alyssa Funke who turn to stripping, or pornography to earn money, to explore their sexuality and satiate their need to be in front of the camera, but sometimes society will exact a price on such females.

Belle Knox responds to Alyssa Funke suicide: ‘I also considered killing myself.’ 

Alyssa Funke, Casting couch porn actress commits suicide after online harassment 

Since the untimely suicide of Alyssa Funke, questions have been asked as to why investigators have refused to assign cause to rampant bullying the 19 year old was receiving from former school mates (once her porn video was out) and if that may have resulted in her feeling shame and taking her own life.

To date investigators refuse to take that route, instead preferring to believe that the young woman simply killed herself because she was feeling depressed, grappling with money problems and trauma at home.

Which forces the question are investigators and the media who have since come to examine this woman’s demise judging her for the choices she made and preferring on some level to devalue her death, her essence, and critiquing her for taking such routes? Which is to say can a woman expect to be tossed aside if she fails to follow conventional, prurient paths and be open season to slut shaming ?

While one young woman, Belle Knox came to embrace her sexuality in the face of harassment at the (prestigious) school she attended (yes how dare she consider such a vocation only reserved for the down and out and slutty?)  Alyssa Funke instead falted and perhaps began to believe that for some reason she was less than human, and the immoral gauche ‘slut’ that many such women are made to feel. Never mind what women who pursue careers in straight up fashion and those of you who are forced to constantly wonder if you are being regarded as ‘trash’ for bait simply because you choose to take pride in your appearance and even your sexuality.

So what are we to make of Alyssa Funke’s suicide? Should we expect more women to inflict mortal harm to themselves and is the ever feeling need to be loved and accepted so prevalent that a young woman can be made to feel less than whole if she chooses not to subscribe to certain prescribed notions of what constitutes correct female conduct?

If only you could have just held on Alyssa and let the pain pass.

And then there were these comments on the web that made me wonder as well:

Im not for sure what she thought would happen but she had to have known people would say bad things. They may want to say its bullying but if she was depressed and doing porn she had more problems going on. Idk. But I just wish they could understand in a few weeks things will change, in a few years no one will remember whatever is so humiliating now. It would have gotten better. I wish someone could have gotten through to her.

Guarantee 99% of the dudes trashing this girl watch porn.

I almost feel bad. Choices have consequences and if you can’t live with them than don’t lay on your back and think you are a superstar when you are just being used, and abused.

How the fuck is a woman who chooses to go onto a fucking “casting couch” a victim? This little whore wanted to suck and fuck and get paid…she did just that. Once the footage hit the mainstream ( which she knew it would, and consented to ) she got shook and felt guilty. Big fucking deal. A lot of little sluts do the same thing, but don’t kill themselves. They soldier on in life with their “dark secret”. This kid simply couldn’t handle it and killed herself…trust me, nobody gives a fuck about her at all…

I think the porn stigma comes, in part, from the notion that sex is bad and people who enjoy it or are not ashamed if enjoying it are also bad. Like shame about sex is natural.

It’s objectification at its finest. People have no problem using sex workers for their own pleasure, but asking them to treat them like human beings is unfathomable.

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  • dijon

    My heart goes out to this beautiful but lost child. While not knowing the full details of her upbringing, she clearly faced challenges throughout her life that most others don’t face. For the most part, she rose above those challenges admirably, and I commend and respect her for her many achievements. She made a mistake. We all make mistakes. I wish I would have known her to assure her that all is forgiven, that she is truly loved as a beautiful person, and not just a sex object. She was just too young to understand these things. Those who rudely and vulgarly judge her for her sexual choices need to examine their own hearts. Cruelty toward others, particularly the deceased, is not a path toward wisdom. Let’s show the girl some respect.

  • Jeremy

    To my friend OlderFeminist: You’re throwing pearls to swine. They won’t understand you, no matter how clearly you explain it. To “Starbong”: my real name is Jeremy Hilty. I am not afraid to use my real name. I am not ashamed of the truth. I have nothing to hide. Porn is wrong, and it does ruin everything. A beautiful young woman is dead. If she wasn’t bullied, she felt remorse strongly enough to end her life. There is no good use of porn. We have perverted God’s good gift to the point where we are okay with everything. I will stand for Jesus Christ, no matter what you think of me.

  • Jeremy

    “…Society’s Fear of Women and Porn” is in the title of the article, which the rest of us took the time to read, Blanche. I am saddened that morality makes you so angry. I made nothing up, however.

  • OlderFeminist

    Scallywag, you raise some good points, but your language is too strong when you talk about “bullied”. Again, the negative comments, rude as they may have been, were hardly up to the snide standards of many teenagers online, and are not credibly relevant to a suicide unless the young woman was severely depressed, had family issues, and succumed to public fillming and exposure to sex with a stranger–all of which are factors which must be taken into account. The “tip of the iceberg” to the cyber bullying as stated by Ms. Blah Blah above (we’ll assume her attempt at discord is simply the best she can do) is a fabrication. There are no other quotes or taunts or bullying, in any article, none even put forth by the deceased’s mother who was able to be interviewed and quoted, but could offer no further examples of statements of any kind.

    There’s a huge contingent of people who loathe porn, including former porn stars, with good reason. Of course people are going to judge this behavior–it bumps upgainst strongly held value systems, whether other people agree or not. Free to participate in porn? Sure. Free to react to that participation? Yes, of course.

    That would not, of course, include threatening behavior online, of which there was none. But of course it’s going to include a negative response. And don’t kid yourself, everybody judges, including those who obviously feel porn is a benign and normal sexual choice. I’m judged by that value system, as are some of the other commenters the is articles.

    Again, Allysa, barely a young woman, had a screwed up life on many levels. And her tragic death was the result. But making her a martyr to cyberbullying as a result of her porn just doesn’t cut it in this case.

  • Blanche Starbong

    Where in the article did the writer try to encourage people to be more comfortable with porn? Please elucidate me. Or you can just keep making crap up.

  • Blanche Starbong

    Blah blah blah. Porn is always evil. Blah blah blah. Sexuality is bad, m’kay? Blah blah blah. The fact is you don’t know what all she went through. Those few examples of online commentary are but the tip of the iceberg. Get off your high horse and show some compassion for those women you pretend to want to save.

  • Joseph

    You raise some compelling points of views. Here’s my line of logic- a woman or a male should not be condemned if they choose to exhibit or explore their sexuality irrespective of whatever facet/guise they choose to do it in- even pornography.

    The fact that a woman is made to feel inferior and subpar in my mind is not a mindset that is or was instigated by the porn industry, although I do agree with you, the industry has much to answer for and they are not the true champions of female self empowerment as Belle Knox has always insisted.

    That said there is something fundamentally wrong with society when a woman or a man is bullied, denied, devalued simply because they choose to appear, aghast in a porn film. It is their sole business and they do not need anybody’s permission to do so. That is what I find reprehensible- the judging and sanctioning of such performers.

    If there is one thing to be learnt from this, one must have a thick skin to pursue certain vocations, expressions (it is not for us to assume what is self empowering but for the individual themselves) and to not allow oneself to buy into the negative stereotypes and moral judgements, as Belle Knox to her credit has managed to do.

  • Joseph Michael Reyes

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous articles written on this tragedy. It’s incredible that this gets covered as a cyber-bullying issue here rather than a referendum on the exploitation of the most vulnerable by the porn industry. Alyssa Funke had a troubled childhood and a series of woes she found herself unable to outrun. What seemed like an easy way to solve money problems, produced heavy consequences…too heavy for someone with a history of depression. Instead, the writer, here, like most left-wing nut cases continues to promulgate the ridiculous notion that any sex is empowerment when, in fact, it’s the actual ownership of one’s sexuality which is empowering. A concept which Mr. Koulouris reduces to Belle Knox’s handling of shame. The world would be better served by helping women from ever having to feel shamed rather than helping them deal with it. However, when Playboy is funding many of the supposed feminist groups, I guess one should expect nothing less.

  • Jeremy

    I can’t agree with OlderFeminist more. I wasn’t even sure that the author of this piece understood their own position by the end of it. There is such as thing as absolute morality, whether people like it or not. These women may say they seek to explore their sexuality and empower themselves, but they are looking for love and acceptance, however they can find it.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like to be young these days. When I was in college, the worst you might do was make a dirty VHS tape; today you can instantly post anything worldwide, with no chance to regret it and pull it back. A beautiful woman with a beautiful mind, wasted over a mistake. I can’t express how sorry I am. Encouraging people to be more comfortable with porn is not the answer.

  • OlderFeminist

    Rampant bullying? No, they were stupid thoughtless comments, but they didn’t rise to the level of bullying. This is a tragic story on many levels. And one of those levels is that porn is so accepted, so normal, that writers like that of this article just can’t comprehend that the experience of porn itself might have helped do her in (along with the history of depression and family dysfunction that the writer failed to seriously consider.) And men in porn, while I agree are not subject to the shaming women are, are hardly held up as models. The quick “slut shaming” finger pointing has a lot of shrill defensiveness about it. You just can’t scream “sexism” whenever a moral (and, yes, morality still enters into it) component arises in the discussion. This labeling is designed to shut the conversation down and pretend that women are feminsts if they act like the worst examples of men, buy into the current male notion of the worst kinds of sexuality. Nobody ever said feminism was equal behavior; it’s equal opportunity under the law, and there’s a difference. Girls and Women, you don’t have to buy into to the male definition of public, harmful sex. It’s not empowering. And, by the way, it’s not anymore rampant in Europe than it is here, so don’t even go there.

    My deepest sympathies to Allysa’s family and to all caught in the addictive web of pornography.