This comes into a strange intersection when brought into the world of pornography, or the filmed and produced product of these types of interactions. The "empowerment" aspect comes from those who enjoy these types of interactions (say what you want about the nature of these individuals and the origins of their desires, they are multiplicitous and you'll just like a dick because you don't expose what others perceive as your "faults" or "insecurities" for all to see) being able to participate, display them and communicate with others who also find pleasure in them. flagamuffin, insomniasexx all of my friends that do porn enjoy doing porn, and many times are getting off just as much as it looks like they are, it is not simply a matter to many of them as an equivalent exchange or "gaming" a system with their bodies, much as that may seem to be the case for the author of the article, but the use of your body and your image is a thing that is constantly considered and assessed. They get more choices than you think, and it is an actual job, plenty of makeup is applied, pills are taken to maintain erections, and time is of the essence, but those that do well just actually enjoy themselves and are having fun. Those individuals try to work with each other as often as possible, it is not for everyone and the same people have separate motivations from shoot to shoot, even. Many of the "degrading" websites that you see are, as is described, completely fictional and part of the fantasy of many participants. The ability to be able to express something that brings them pleasure and communicate that to others who enjoy that dynamic is empowering. To be robbed of the ability to participate in that, through shaming of the participant for even documenting it and presenting it, is an abuse of that power, and hypocritical of those that consume it.
It is also of note that no one ever writes articles about the positive feedback and aspects of porn, and, even when tried to be viewed in a sexually normative environment, sex workers are simply just mitigating taboos and defending themselves. My partner works in a very specific genre of porn, and has cultivated an environment around her wherein she is greatly respected, and in some respects, worshiped, by her fans, so this is somewhat specific, granted. People tweet at her and email her all the time about how she has had a positive impact on their sex lives, they share her work with their partners, and her ability to express her sexuality (which she is very positive about and does not stem from insecurity) brings all parties involved a positive experience. While this comes from many occasions as monetary transaction, many see this for what it is and pay an amount to be able to maintain her site and keep getting content they enjoy and say as such.
I think the biggest factor at play here, from my projection based upon experience, is that there is a border crossed with the author's experience. She one week was a "normal" girl at a college, and then it is "revealed" that she also does porn as well. She is not a "porn star" that goes to school (as some of my friends do and have never experienced the derision she has experienced, most likely due to their identification and vocalization as sex workers in their everyday lives), or just simply a sex worker who goes about her day (though they face some similar issues from time to time), but the "revelation" that she participates in pornography gives the same impression that many women face when they are "outed" as being sexually promiscuous and open, not just a specific reaction to the "pornographic" self revealed.
Whenever I am out with my partner and eventually her job comes up, one of two things happen, and usually together: people who do not participate in pornography (man, woman, trans all equally) become a little more... reverent. Cis men usually get a little flustered and shyer and never have I seen anyone act negatively towards this information when looking her in the face. Sexuality itself is powerful and I can literally see how those in control of their sexuality and the ability to express it in contradiction to normative culture which typically involves some degree of shame or knowledge that this is not a typically "public" affair or topic react to it in deference. I don't believe that this is due to just some "shock value" of it being said out loud and violating some social, secretive pact, but rather just some recognition that it seems like something they could never themselves do. The strongest and most boisterous men get a little more withdrawn and respond with something like "That's cool, I'm totally cool with that" in slightly more nervous tones, and a lot of cis women light up and want to begin the second part that typically happens: the questions. A bunch of them.
Honestly, most of the negative feedback comes from a couple inclusive sources: anonymous taunts and threats/whatnot or anger from family members and friends for somehow "shaming" them by proxy. I believe that the displayed person that is on a monitor, fulfilling your fantasies, and absorbing your gaze is a facet of that interaction, not of the person themselves, and the danger that the victims of harassment and shame encounter is due to "breaking down that wall" and synthesizing with those fantasies as opposed to being a proxy for them, which is the same danger that rape victims face, that they are seen as a means to an end, that they "owe" the abuser the pleasure, as opposed to a positive, equal exchange, regardless of all the aesthetics (fetishes) of the interaction. It is very telling that people, and some of you here, regard them as "victims" or just "exchanging their bodies" for profit, that promiscuity=low self esteem, because even the inverse, that they are "whores" and "sluts" (in negative terms) both play into the same facade: that pornography is unnatural and somehow negative to some degree, when in reality, it is simply outside of your terms of behavior that you are used to.
Making reductionist arguments about the nature of sex in the context of porn belittles those who knowledgeably participate in it.
Kink.com is not the most ethical site, people have reported very negative experiences with them. This goes for many other sites as well, almost all sex workers have had negative interactions of some fashion, which is not so different from your jobs, but more emotionally extreme and personal, as you can imagine.
I am not speaking for all sex workers, just my experience, and I absolutely do not speak for feminists, I know there are plenty that see all porn as negative, and I absolutely do not want to take away that argument or ignore it, and my interpretation of interactions with patriarchy are very much so limited to my (white, cis male) privilege, but I empathize as much as is possible with anyone who deals with a constant culture of prejudice, so forgive me if my words or belief do not reflect yours.
Seriously, I gotta eat lunch now and I've been typing this out instead of prepping for a meeting. No regrets.