Retired Porn Star's Racy Ad For Equal Pay

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Sasha Grey equal pay campaignBelgium copied the U.S. when it started its Equal Pay Day a few years ago. Over here, lawmakers and advocates spend the holiday quoting stern statistics about the gender wage gap and proposing legislative fixes. But Belgium's approach is a little bit different. This year, the group Equal Pay Day produced a sexually explicit PSA for the occasion, which features former American porn star Sasha Grey. (It was too graphic for us to include, but you can watch here after you verify that you're 18 or older).

The commercial, which runs just over a minute, shows the beautiful 23-year-old looking pensive, as she talks about her various post-high school stints as a secretary, teacher, waitress and nurse. Naked men and women -- slightly out of focus -- engage in sex acts in the background, as it becomes clear that the jobs Grey is talking about were on-screen roles, especially when she notes, "as a nurse I actually made more than the doctors."

In the most jarring moment, Grey says, "I like doing really dirty things," and describes in detail one sadomasochistic sex act, while staring straight into the camera.

"Porn is about the only way to make more than men. Find a better alternative," the movie concludes, and directs viewers to the organization's website.

This is a dramatically political turn for Grey, who was one of the most in-demand starlets in the adult film industry for three years, before she retired at age 21 and transitioned to mainstream acting and modeling. Her career was "distinguished both by the extremity of what she is willing to do and an unusual degree of intellectual seriousness about doing it," wrote The New York Times in 2009. She represented herself through her own agency, LA Factory Girls -- a reference to Andy Warhol's studio, as well as Factory Records, the indie label of New Wave bands Joy Division and New Order.

This makes her a fitting, although controversial, choice for Equal Pay Day, as it tries to raise awareness of how much less women earn than men in Belgium, which various studies have found to be anywhere from under 10 percent to as high as 25 percent. The holiday was celebrated on March 8 this year, to represent the roughly 15 months that women have to work to earn the amount a man does in 12.

The American Equal Pay Day employs the same symbolism, and so given the larger pay gap here (estimates range from 18 percent to 23 percent), it won't be celebrated for another five weeks.



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