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Friday, July 7, 2017

Strip Club Shenanigans: Introduction

Yeah, not an original title...let's move on.

For the past few years, I have been trying to convince a friend of mine to blog under a pseudonym about her sex work. (She is working on it.) Then I realized how hypocritical it is of me to give her the push while I "have" experience of my own - "have" as in I did not partake in the sexual stimulations, but worked as a waitress in a strip club in Texas. I posted on Facebook, asking who would be interested in reading my stories and observations from when I did that, and I received an overwhelming positive response. So here we go.

I am going to make this into a series on this blog, but I am not sure about how many posts I will end up making, or if the series will ever truly end. For the safety of the joint, customers, and workers, I am not going to publicly disclose the name of the place I worked. Remember that while I do have a unique experience, I am only one person in a sea full of people in the industry, and experiences will definitely vary by location as well as by individual. However, I do think with my BA in anthropology, my insights are worth looking at.

In 2011, a former friend convinced me to start working as a stripper before I went off to college. I knew that my family would not be accepting of this, so I decided to look into being a waitress. Depending on the days, waitresses can sometimes make more than the strippers, which is a positive. However, I liked the freedom that the strippers had of being independent contractors, a system that would work better for my situation anyhow, since I wanted to do this near the end of summer, nearing the time I had to fly into Washington for my first quarter. Luckily, I was able to work out a deal with the establishment where I could work as an independent contractor but as a waitress.


Just because I didn't work as a stripper doesn't mean I didn't play around on the poles with other waitresses when things were slow.


I do not remember how I ended up choosing that - maybe because it was the closest to where I lived? Despite only going to be working as a waitress, my parents were the opposite of thrilled. After a lot of arguing and crying, they begrudgingly "let" me work there. I was 19 at the time. Since I did not have a car of my own and had no license, I had to pay them $10 for gas money each day I worked.

We agreed that my first day of work would be on a Sunday. Little did we know that Sundays are actually (one of) the busiest days of the week there. I did not want to work night shifts for several reasons, so I would only do day shifts. Day shifts were from 11 am to 7 pm, and evening shifts from 7 pm to 2 am. I ended up working almost solely on Sundays, until I came back the next summer (and some other times) to work on Sundays and Fridays.

Overall, I enjoyed working at a strip club. I would recommend it for those interested working in any aspect of it, with a few caveats. I would consider working there again if I needed a lot of money (according to my standards) in short notice.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about my experience, or if you would like me to address a certain topic in a later post.


Whether as a writer or a waitress, I like it when people tip!



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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Interview with Kamtaro, a camgirl

As a young woman, it is hard for me to not be aware of the work known as camming. If you are not doing it yourself, you may have seen ads for cam sites or have had friends who became webcam models at some point. For anybody who does not know, camming is a form of online sex work where the model (usually a woman) talks with or performs sex acts for their audience. This article in The Stranger provides some more information, albeit there is a bit of romanticizing. Again, as a young woman, I know many around my age who have turned to camming, with results and experiences that aren't typically covered by the media. As a proponent of various kinds of sex work, I wanted to include a post about camming on this blog that gives an inside look at this particular occupation. This is the resulting conversation with my friend Kamtaro...




***


1) How did you become interested in camming?

A co-worker of mine was talking about it, and I thought it sounded like a fun way to make money on the side. I imagined it would be easy, just chatting with guys online and getting money for it.

2) How long did you do it for?

About three years, off-and-on.

3) What were some of your best experiences?

There was one man who called himself Barney Stinson that tipped me around one hundred dollars, and another who bought me a new webcam.

4) What were some of your worst experiences?

There were constant idiots requesting I do things for free, unsolicited "advice" from other models telling me I'd do better if I just got naked right away, and someone referring to me as a "Miley-Cyrus-looking-bitch".

5) Why were you adverse to the idea of getting naked right away on camera?

I wanted to be paid. I wasn't there to give a free wank session. If they wanted the goods, they'd have to give me something in return. Some guys have claimed that getting naked first will bring in more tips, but I've found that it isn't true, or that the money that comes isn't satisfactory - usually not even half of what I'm trying to get for that level of nudity.

6) Why did you quit camming?

It was too much work, with little-to-no pay-off, and I felt like it was getting risky as far as my personal life was going, since I started finding videos of myself on other websites that I didn't consent to sharing on. One of my friends had a guy from one site find her on Facebook and try to message her on there.

7) Have you done or considered doing private cam sessions, such as over Skype?

I used to consider it, but decided not to. I didn't want to give these guys even more ways of contacting me if I decided to leave the business.

8) Now that you no longer do it, what stands out most about your camming career?

How ridiculous the whole premise of it is, and the unrealistic expectations of how much money I'd make. It's hard to put into words why I think it's ridiculous. The clientele is usually rude, won't pay, and they'll become angry or demand too much for not enough money (guys wanting me to put stuff in my pussy - which was against cam site rules - for a measly two dollars).

9) What do you think camming businesses can do to help their models?

Better security, doing more to protect their site and models from being hacked, and protecting the videos and shows the models do from being recorded and put onto other sites.

10) What do you think is the future of the camming industry?

I think it will continue as it is now. Some women will get lucky and find an audience, others won't.

11) If someone expressed interest to you about wanting to try out camming, what advice would you give them?

I would let them know not to get their hopes up too high. You're not gonna double your income, you're gonna get sick of the audience, and you're gonna find your videos up for free on porn sites. If you do any private chats, expect that client to harass you and demand more of your time or more out of you than you're willing to provide. You really need to dedicate a lot of time and find a niche to become successful, from my experience. I think that looking at your camming career as a business would make new potential models think twice before joining.



***


Most of what Kamtaro said does not come as a surprise, since she has told me most of this information before. (In that, I admit of a conscious bias of knowing what juicy bits to try to to squeeze out of her.) However, I had no idea that one of her friends had a stranger message her on Facebook, after finding a video of her cam session. That does not surprise me, though. In another interview I have done with another friend, she told me that people who knew her (she did not know their real identities) compromised her identity by writing out her full name in the public chat of her camming page. (This particular interview is going to take a while to be published, as she requested that its publication coincide with the startup of her blog.)

With what I have heard from my friends, finding videos of themselves online that they did not agree to have recorded and/or uploaded was the final straw of their camming careers. To have these videos taken down, they need to file DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notices, which can be a hassle. It is hard to run a business if people in your personal or professional life cannot find out about it. From what I have listened to over the years, it seems that people should only become cam models if they do not mind their friends, family, co-workers, etc. finding out about this line of work (and a lot of Americans who have done or do sex work usually do not like it to be known publicly, which is very understandable). I have also observed that many who have gone into camming have done so after receiving overly optimistic and idealistic visions of what camming is really like.


Unfortunately, I don't cam, but you can always give me money in exchange for my writing!



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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Was Bill Clinton checking out Ivanka Trump at the inauguration?

Well, was he?

Answer: I do not have the answer.

If this post is not actually about debunking whether or not he was, then what is the point of this?

In the era of fake news being brought to the attention of, and even being covered by mainstream media, I think it is important to understand the virality of the video.

On my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed many people were sharing the video, which was posted by Being Libertarian. By reading comments, commentary, and the caption to the video itself, it looked like the video contained definite proof of Bill Trump staring at Ivanka Trump. Before I go any further, please watch the scene for yourself.


Thanks to the video, the page got thousands of likes, and the post itself received a plethora of likes, shares, and comments. It was highly popular. However, since then (maybe due to copyright laws), the video was taken down. Unlike this YouTube video, the video on Facebook was of high quality, and was a single shot, versus this video has a transition. (I think this video has a transition because it takes a while for Hillary to look at her husband, and it wants to get straight to the point.)

Even though the quality and editing of the original video I watched and this one are different, they share something in common - we do not even see what/whom Bill is staring at.

So why are these versions of the video going viral? Because of the captions and titles of the videos. We had the image, but all we needed was a suggestion to let our imaginations run wild. I see similar sensational headlines, usually having to do with a male politician "checking out" a woman who is not his wife. When I watch the video, everyone had been in the middle of turning their heads, and it just "happened" to be paused at an awkward-looking moment.

For this headline to go even more viral, the videos should have been edited to include a video of Ivanka at the inauguration, especially if cut into the middle of the clips of the Clintons. And that is what I found from some of the videos listed on YouTube. The problem is that we do not even know if the cuts to Ivanka Trump are happening at the same time, and even if they are, if Bill is even looking at her. To be fair, the photography and videography necessary to conclude whether or not he was staring at her would probably be hard to come by, especially since there were so many things (and more important things) happening at the inauguration.

Whether or not Bill was "mentally undressing" Ivanka (like I saw a few articles describe it), we will probably not know for sure. However, anybody seriously sharing these videos have been very misled. These are people who are confirming their biases that Bill is a terrible person. (There are so many other things that you can talk about regarding that, if you that is what you are going for.) A similar (but not identical) situation is currently happening with a video TMZ shared about A Dog's Purpose with its usage of cut clips, headlines, and captions.

"I see you sharing that video."

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