We All Owe Adriana Chechik A Lot More Respect
If you've ever masturbated to porn, you owe porn stars your respect. It's as simple as that. You can call out issues in the adult industry, have problems with its glorification or the way it warps society's sexual mores, and object to any number of controversies, drawbacks, and failings of sex work, but if you use it, you respect it. No exceptions. We often have the same contempt we have for sex workers as we do our garbage collectors and fast food workers. You don't get to belittle garbage collectors if you still want your garbage collected, and you don't get to bully fast food workers and still expect your cheeseburger with fries. When it comes to Adriana Chechik though, we don't seem to have gotten the message.
Chechik is a former porn star, now streamer, and many in the press and public eye have found it difficult to let go of her past. We like to humiliate women, as a society, and even though we consume vast quantities of pornography and therefore need workers to keep producing it, we struggle to see sex workers as anything but their job, even as we mock and dismiss it. Being a porn star is definitely an interesting job – if Chechik were a former librarian, it would never be mentioned because who cares that she used to be a librarian. But it has quickly gone from a cool backstory to a thumb to keep her under.
This week, Chechik was one of TwitchCon's many casualties in the foam pit. A knee high pit of foam blocks on a hard concrete floor was one of the convention's entertainment spots, and it was exactly as unsafe as it sounds. Chechik landed awkwardly in the pit, breaking her back in two places and requiring immediate surgery. It's an excruciatingly painful injury that could lead to lifelong health problems. Esports outlet Dexerto tweeted the news with the caption 'Former porn star Adriana Chechik gets her back blown out', before later deleting the post.
I don't like to fling mud at other outlets. I don't think it serves any purpose. I also think Twitter can overreact to things, and replies that Dexerto is evil, that whoever tweeted it should be immediately fired, and a lot of other hyperbole by people more concerned with scoring a public dunk than for Chechik's dignity don't help in this situation. Chechik is in part a figure of note because of her past, and that's a bigger issue than one outlet using a sex pun to describe her injury. However, it is pretty telling that even a broken back is not quite enough to garner sympathy for her when there's a chance to score some internet points by laughing at her. She's just a porn star, who cares, right?
Having gone from the adult world to streaming, Chechik has jumped into another much-maligned occupation. Streaming is one of the most influential and fastest growing forms of media, but it does not get its due. It's just playing games, right? Anyone could do it. That's why everyone who ever tried it is a millionaire and nobody ever fails at it. For women, it's even easier. All they have to do is be pretty. That's why women routinely dominate the top earners chart.
In a way, porn and streaming are very similar. Both require you to remain constantly in an online persona, both build parasocial relationships with fans, both see the vast majority of the animosity and mockery aimed at women even as the biggest profiteers are male. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Chechik found streaming to be more toxic. In porn, people only tend to know your name if they're into the industry on a deeper level than casual consumption. With streaming though, Chechik seems unable to go anywhere without being bullied and humiliated for her past. All she does is have sex and play video games, why should I respect her for that? She gets paid lots of money for it while you do it for free. Seems like you're the idiot here, not her.
TwitchCon is not the first example of this. Chechik was previously banned from the Twitch Rivals No Build Event in Fortnite due to her past, although Epic Games later apologised and claimed it was a misunderstanding, reassuring her that she would be allowed to participate in future events and that Epic had no issues in working with her or with her streaming Fortnite. Would this have been cleared up had Chechik not bravely decided to call it out in blunt terms, knowing it would open her up to further hate from fans unable to believe that sex workers deserve to be treated as real people? None of the hate Chechik gets is morally based. Nobody in her mentions and DMs feels pornography is evil and that she is a sinner. They just like to humiliate women, especially women with control over their sexuality.
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