First thing they always tell you — Once it’s on The Internet, it’s there Forever. I remember being not exactly sure what that meant while also feeling the palpable fear that sentence always carried. Now I can tell you with confidence that I have discovered what it meant and gone beyond; and I have returned bearing gifts of how to emotionally handle the adult industry public opinion job hazard.
I have been doing live webcam sex and filmed adult videos for at least four to five years. 90% of that time was spent under an elusive but omnipresent heavy weight of keeping it a secret from my family and public at large. In fact, even after everyone in the city I lived in at the time (as well as people in at least 3 to 4 other states and millions more online) knew that I was an adult entertainer — my parents did not. Even after moving to a new city entirely to pursue further flourishing of my adult entertainment career, my Mother still had no idea how exactly I earned my living.
Truth is, we all have the equivalents of A.I. implants of the people closest to us in our brains — for instance, you can quote to me exactly what your Mom would say in a particular situation. That means you hear the echos of negative and hurtful attitudes in the back of your head if you have any unresolved cognitive dissonance. And trust me, you do. We all do. No matter how open I was with both strangers and immediate friends (and while I was eager for my parents to find out what I do so we can be over the whole issue) I still could not actually take that step myself.
Until a few months ago.
While you may successfully assure yourself in the strength of your slutty convictions, as long as there continues to be a feeling of need for privacy there is also that unbearable weight in the background that will endure to erode away your soul and mental peace until you come out and confront it yourself. Wage war on it. I dub us the Lipstick Warriors.
Truth is, you have to set them free. Everyone you have ever loved, you have to give them the opportunity to reject you and show the true colors of what kind of human being they are.
Then, you have to get mad.
Privacy is a tool we use to protect ourselves from the weapon of social judgment.
Think Belle Knox backlash as a microcosm of the slut shaming we all feel every day in countless imperceptible ways. The same slut shaming we hear in the back of our heads, quoting our sensible mothers and prim grandmothers and all of their nice, clean, wholesome friends.
Truth is, clean is a lie. Nothing is clean.
Any true expression of freedom is by definition an expression of rebellion. No matter what you do in life or what path you take, if you continue to follow your one true path there will be those who will try to enslave you, to bring you back into the fold of doing what they think you should. Stripping away all need for privacy, armored in righteous indignation, and armed with proven fact — you must make them pay for putting that social exclusion pain inside you. Social opinion is memetic warfare and judgment is the first act of aggression.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@annacherryontop”]Privacy is a tool we use to protect ourselves from the weapon of social judgment.[/tweetthis]
You have to bring up that righteous indignation to defend your right to your own life and strike down anyone daring to impose their limits on your life. You need to refuse to be swept down and swallowed by their bitter fountain of feelings of inadequacy. You have to refuse to be limited by the fears of others.
Telling my mom what I do for a living was one of the best things I have ever done in my life.
That invisible suffocating leash of fear of revealing the truth (see: fear of social rejection see: ostracization see: death) has been snapped and I have never felt freer, happier, and more unstoppable in my career because now there truly is nothing holding me back. No limits. While I was not perfectly fortunate to have fully over-the-top 100% supportive mother, I am rewarded with discovering that I am still loved and no less valuable to my parents as a result of my career choice. Fully keeping in mind that they have no right to make a value judgment on that in the first place, it is still a nice feeling and one not many adult industry performers are fortunate to feel.
Still, even those who have been severely hurt by social exclusion from their families, as a result of their adult work, will tell you that total exposure is a must and you will be better for it. As cliche as my favorite analogy is, this really is like ripping off the band-aid… except it’s a little more like breaking through a cocoon. You are limited and in pain in the darkness but you have to welcome that pain and rush towards it; expand towards that bright light you see and crave so badly; push through no matter how much it hurts because you have made the decision to follow this path, and BAM! You’re a butterfly.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@annacherryontop”]You have to refuse to be limited by the fears of others.[/tweetthis]
Deal with it by knowing that they have no right to dictate the terms of your existence.
Deal with it by knowing that you are perfectly allowed to erect a billboard showing you naked outside and inside and anyone raising even an eyebrow to that needs to go through some heavy self-acceptance. Deal with it by knowing that it is already too late to do anything about it anyway. You can hope nobody close to you will find out… and they might not, after all there are plenty of ways to cover your ass if parents suddenly announce “Uncle Joe from Muskogee said he saw you naked on the Internet!” But beware that you are sacrificing a lifetime of true freedom, knowledge of who truly loves you, and true realization of your dreams in exchange for the immediate gratification of ‘not tipping the boat’. In the end, it is all about whether you choose what price to pay or if you let the price choose you.
Originally published on Medium.com
Also published in “Coming Out Like a Pornstar“
5 thoughts on “Coping with Showing Your Junk for a Living: Privacy Issue”
I so needed this! I told my mom once, but stepped away from working for awhile for health reasons. Now I’m starting up again.. and actually living with my parents now (because of the health).. so this issue feels literally close to home. I have been feeding myself mantras of empowerment, and I know the time to tell them will come. In the meantime, I’m becoming stronger in my self-acceptance. I’m saving your article because it is FULL of it!! Thank you!
Thank you for your warm words! That is a difficult situation you are in but do consider that your parents may love you more than they judge your life, as evidenced by them inviting you in even after knowing of your interest in Sex Work. Many other performers can’t quite say the same :/
I would also suggest getting a copy of “Coming Out Like A Pornstar” (the book that featured this piece by me, and many other performers) on facing SW social stigma as a human being with feelings, and letting your parents give it a thoughtful read first!
Hi! My name is Ella and I’m an anthropology student at the United World College of Waterford Kamhlaba in Mbabane, Swaziland. I’m doing an ethnographic study on cam modeling as a sub culture and how it mixes sex work/adult entertainment with online communities (note: this is NOT about camming as a “social problem” but as a society/culture). Would you be willing to chat with me about it? My email is email@example.com if you’re interested 🙂
Thank you for reaching out, Ella. Up until now, I was not sure if Swaziland was not entirely made up after all 😉 I would be more than happy to talk with you on this topic. Expect my email shortly.
I think we are done dealing with semitist notions of sexuality that starts with an apple.. the world is NOT dictated by victorian ideals.. finally we can deal with sexy women and live a life free from capitalist bs.. doing what we love with our bodies! Deep down however, digital is just that – digital.. there is always some life to deal with later. L ive I n F ull E njoyment 🙂