The Atlantic

A High-School Porn Star’s Cry for Help

When did we lose the ability to interpret the signs of a girl in bad trouble?
Source: Getty

Stockton, California, is inland, hot, 20 percent poor, and crime-ridden. The top nine employers are schools, hospitals, the government, and Amazon, which has two giant fulfillment centers in the city. No. 10 is O’Reilly Auto Parts. It’s a good place to leave, if you can. As ever in places like this, the high schools are full of trouble and promise, and one of them—Bear Creek High School—has lately been in the news because of two of its students: Bailey Kirkeby, a junior, and Caitlin Fink, a senior.

They are thoroughly creatures of the modern age, but what impresses me about both of them is how deeply they also exemplify some of the most enduring traits of girlhood. They are hopeful, concerned about fairness, foursquare on the side of the underdog, and drenched in a romantic vision of life, in which sorrows can be easily overcome and infinite happiness is always on the horizon. Like every girl since the beginning of history—and surely, to the last syllable of recorded time—they are subjects of great interest to people who don’t mean them well. Let’s get to know them a bit.

Bailey, who is 17 years old, has long wavy hair, glasses, a heavy course load, and a raft of positions at the school newspaper, where she is the managing editor and news editor, as well as an entertainment columnist and a staff writer. Her bio posted on the paper’s website suggests that she is the kind of girl to putstaff.” One ticket out of Stockton, please.

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