Teddy Hall JCR renounces ties with porn actress Jenna Jameson

College News News

Students at Teddy Hall voted to remove pornographic actress and entrepreneur Jenna Jameson from their list of “Honorary Members” in a JCR meeting last Sunday.

The motion, submitted by president Ed Benson and seconded by the welfare officer Ellie Pryer, originally noted that “having said porn star as an honorary member of the JCR reflects badly on us as a student body, we are not in the business of promoting an industry that is often (if not always) demeaning to women, which propagates the idea of the female body as a sex object”.

The motion further raised concerns over potential applicants being put of by a “student body that elevates a porn star to ‘legendary status,’” as the Honorary Members feature on the JCR’s public website.

During the course of the debate, an amendment to change the description away from “Queen of Porn” was rejected in favour of an amendment that removed Ms. Jameson, but not for the reasons originally proposed.

During the course of the debate, these original reasons were deemed by some to be endorsing a negative attitude towards sex workers. Instead, the motion passed with the amended reasoning that: “We don’t agree with the reasoning for which she was made an honorary member – as it was done for a group of ‘lads’ as a joke. We don’t disagree with sex workers”.

President Ed Benson commented: “When I submitted my motion to remove her as an honorary member it soon became clear to me from discussions with JCR members that it was poorly worded, it was seen by some to make the case for removing Jenna Jameson because she was a sex worker. I must make it clear that this was never my intention.

“This was about undoing an embarrassing piece of Teddy Hall history, as she was proposed as a sexist joke by previous members of the JCR who do not reflect the progressive attitude of Teddy Hall today”.

Despite the amendment, the debate over the original and adapted motions have caused consternation amongst many, especially on Oxford feminist group Cuntry Living.

Paigan Aspinall, who published the original minutes, was struck by the tone of the debate: “The attitude in the room was really torn; some people raised some really good points (about remembering our past mistakes and reclaiming them), but there was also a lot of negativity; when I spoke about Jameson’s past life (she was raped twice before age 17, etc) and what she had gone on to do, I was met with giggles and sarcastic comments.”

Aspinall added that the proposer was keen for friendly amendments to the motion, and she believes that: “I don’t think [Benson] thought the motion through and really regretted it, and wanted to change it not to insult people”.

Cuntry Living administrator Alice Nutting commented on the post: “How is this a ‘positive change’? [In my opinion] it would have been a really good (and feminist) statement to have a sex worker as an honorary JCR member”.

Cindy Gallop, former Somerville student and entrepreneur, famous for her TED talk on attitudes to the porn industry, told the OxStu: “The answer to why this issue has arisen lies in the headline of my open letter to David Cameron and Silicon Valley – “Don’t Block Porn, Disrupt It” … I would love to see today’s generation of Oxford students, especially those concerned that this motion shames porn actresses and actors, apply their intellect and brilliance on graduating to disrupting and innovating in the adult industry, and as I say in my letter to David Cameron, ‘turn the British porn industry into something to be proud of”. 

Others listed as Honorary Members on Teddy’s Hall’s JCR page include Tom Cruise, J.K. Rowling, and Ahmed, “kebab-maker extraordinaire.”

IMAGE/© Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com