I’ll start this article by stating that I wish I did not have to write this article. People should not be pressured to conform to societal norms and expectations. We live in a free country, but the fact is we are not free.
We have to follow the unwritten rules of Western civilization or we’ll likely face prejudice and discrimination. And that’s basically what social stigma means.
Prostitution is an uncomfortable word for a lot of people because it’s one of those things that is traditionally considered unacceptable, immoral, or disgraceful. People associate things like drugs, desperation and exploitation with the word prostitution.
The euphemism for prostitution becomes sex work. Sex work becomes a broad category that encompasses any exchange of sexual service for monetary or other compensation.
Sex work now encompasses adult modeling, which includes webcam modeling, and the stigma remains.
I recently saw an episode of House where a porn star was admitted. I was horrified by the portrayal of judgement and discrimination that permeated through so much of the writing; even some of the porn star’s lines were ridiculously stereotypical. Although this doesn’t pertain directly to webcam modeling, it is a better known branch of the sex industry that shows up in media, and media influences how people think of sex work in general.
Why are we so afraid of anything that deviates from our personal definition of normalcy?
Why does the LGBT community exist?
Why are tight-knit conservative religious communities a thing?
Why are sex workers deviants?
As far as I’m concerned, we are all in this life thing together. It doesn’t have to be “us” vs. “them,” but sadly it so often is.
At the root of social stigma, we find silence and fear. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rocking the boat. Fear of judgement. Fear of failure. We are afraid to deviate from what is currently considered normal and acceptable in society, and so we lie silently in our personal closets.
I love this Wiki snippet:
“Stigma, though powerful and enduring, is not inevitable, and can be challenged. There are two important aspects to challenging stigma: challenging the stigmatisation on the part of stigmatizers, and challenging the internalized stigma of the stigmatized.”
It continues regarding a study,
“…sex workers in [a red light district in India] have effectively challenged internalized stigma by establishing that they are respectable women, who admirably take care of their families, and who deserve rights like any other worker. This study argues that it is not only the force of rational argument that makes the challenge to the stigma successful, but concrete evidence that sex workers can achieve valued aims, and are respected by others.”
Society is progressing, but unfortunately so many people are not yet open or prepared at this point to accept any form of sex work as a viable career path. Perhaps we need to launch a “Webcam Model Pride” campaign to raise awareness and challenge that stigma. Yes, yes indeed we should have our own parade.
I look forward to the day that I can confidently come out of the closet as a webcam model.
In the meantime, there are a couple of ways that camgirls (and camboys) approach this social stigma conundrum.