Opinion Piece: these opinions are my own and do not represent the sex work community as a whole.
TLDR - the rise of anon accounts dragging fellow sex worker's because they can’t identify their own internalized whorephobia, or accept that their experience doesn’t encompass the industry as a whole.
The sex work world shifted drastically when social media became an easily accessible means of marketing and reaching prospective clients. With that shift also came knowledge, awareness, community and the ability to communicate to an audience that doesn’t just encompass those within the realm of sex work.
As with all social media platforms, there’s good and there’s bad. There’s difference of opinion and there’s hate. There’s also moments of love, support and encouragement!
There’s been a noticeable increase in anon accounts recently, especially within the sex work community; and here’s why I choose not to support or encourage other SWs to go Anon.
First, you may be wondering; what is an Anon account?
An Anon (Anonymous) account, specifically within the context of the sex work social media realm, is an account that is separate from that sex worker’s professional account (main account). It oftentimes is in stark contrast of the persona and marketing they portray on their main, and may be either a positive/humorous or negative outlet for venting or opinions they have. Some of which could cause controversy, loss of followers, or even loss of income if they were to voice those opinions or statements on their main.
So what’s the harm? Trolls exist all over social media right? Just keep scrolling!
You’re right, they do, and oftentimes it’s easy to point out trolling behaviour and just ignore it. I often just roll my eyes at the “reply guys” or ignorant comments as they simply aren’t worth the energy to address.
But here’s when anon accounts go from satirical and humorous to harmful and dangerous to the community:
I’ve seen an uptick in anons who are bitter, disgruntled and burnt out from sex work. They are sharing the darker sides of the industry that some of us face everyday.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing this side of the industry and humanizing the experiences of many sex workers. Every industry has its good, it’s bad and it’s ugly side. And I don’t believe in the glamorizations in any form of labor. It tends to only lead to disappointment and resentment when expectations are not met based on the flourished version of what you thought your journey might entail. All that being said, I believe it’s important that these anons (and all sex workers on social media) aren’t projecting their own individual and nuanced experiences onto the community as a whole.
As many of you already know, I’m very outspoken, especially on social media. Whether that’s been good for business or scared off potential clientele; this is just who I am and how I choose to participate in this industry. I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions, whether I agree with them or not. I’ve always taken the approach of “we can agree to disagree, but we can exist in this same space respectfully also”.
I’ve also said, “the day I think about creating a anon is the day I retire”, because if I can’t say what I say and then stand behind those words, I’ll have lost respect for myself and what I believe in.
This belief has also held me accountable! Because if I am second guessing myself on whether to share something on my main, or wonder Is it the right thing to share? Is it a harmful opinion that I need to reevaluate? And if I do post something that is not acceptable, causes harm or perpetuates stigma and stereotypes around sex work; I want my community to educate me, hold me accountable and make sure I learn from the mistakes I may have made.
I can be stubborn, controversial, ignorant and wrong. But I can also be understanding, compassionate, eager to learn and grow.
And I can’t do any of those things hiding behind a keyboard with no real consequences to hold me accountable for my actions.
These reasons are why I believe that the majority of anons can be dangerous within our community. Not only for the mental health of the user, but to the community’s wellbeing also.
Many other sex workers have questioned “are they just clients, trying to stir up controversy and encourage the tropes surrounding this industry?”
I wish I could believe that was the truth, and maybe for a small percentage it is.
However; with recent radicalized, ex-sex worker, anti sex work and “red pill” conservative types coming out of the woodwork; I’m not so sure these anons are just clients stirring the pot.
I feel as though the emergence of a particular former sex worker, so blatantly speaking for our community as a whole, has also brought out the internalized whorephobia in other sex workers who have had traumatic experiences.
These anons are looking for somewhere to put the blame, to express their internalized shame, their insecurities, their mistreatment and their anger. And where better than anonymously within the community they now resent? The same community that can perpetuate glamour and success, independence and financial freedom. This resentment is understandable, as these anons are constantly being exposed to (and also required to participate in) a smoke and mirrors marketing campaign to entice the next suitor.
Not everyone in sex work has had a positive experience, that’s true, and valid and not a point of contention. And for the privileged and lucky ones, they may have had many wonderful experiences with little barriers within their own journey.
The important thing to remember is that none of us have shared the exact same journey. We are hurting ourselves by making assumptions about others, projecting our insecurities or traumas on others. Seeing someone else’s success and wondering “why not me?”, while that designer shopping bag and shoe box actually sits empty and staged on the floor.
You are allowed to be happy in this industry and you don’t need to justify that happiness to anyone. Your success may not be the same as someone else’s perception of success.
You are allowed to be angry, disappointed, lost, lonely and unfulfilled. You are not alone in those feelings.
What we shouldn’t be doing is tearing each other apart for any of those things. Anons, you deserve to share those feelings and work through them. But not at the expense of others. And if you need support, there are many of us in this community that will support you if you reach out and accept the help.
With love to all in this community.