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For Black Models Scroll Down: Webcam Modeling and the Racialization of Erotic Labor

An Erratum to this article was published on 26 October 2015

Abstract

This article presents data from a sociological investigation of online webcam modeling. Webcam models represent a cohort of sex workers who sell a range of erotic fantasy to online voyeuristic patrons—from benign conversation to exotic strip tease to explicit sex acts. First, the article presents descriptive data based on participation observation on the website of focus, which here will be called mostpopularcams.com. Second, this article presents statistical analyses of models’ success as measured by the website-generated camscore (how the site measures monetary model success) with the independent variables of race and nation of origin (N = 343). Also drawing on data from participant observation, and by applying intersectionality, this study aims to highlight the intricate ways that race-, class-, and gender-based inequities are perpetuated on a popular webcam site. Webcamming is a form of online body work that is highly racialized. Given that scholars have recognized the ways in which the conditions of labor impact a sex worker’s success, experiences of exploitation, job satisfaction, and agency, this article examines race as a factor that overwhelmingly thwarts the success of black women in the online world of webcam modeling.

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Notes

  1. This is a pseudonym for the website.

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Jones, A. For Black Models Scroll Down: Webcam Modeling and the Racialization of Erotic Labor. Sexuality & Culture 19, 776–799 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-015-9291-4

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Keywords

  • Webcam modeling
  • Racialization
  • Erotic labor
  • Intersectionality
  • Sex work
  • Body work