Viceland & Slutever’s Beginner’s Guide To Camming

Last week, a promo for an episode of Viceland’s Slutever show went around on Twitter, causing quite a bit of upset. The promo tweet was for a Slutever episode (Season 1; Episode 6) on cam girls – and what was shown had many camgirls up in arms about the lack of sex positivity & whorearchy – if not outright whorephobia.

Unfortunately, like many movie trailers and television promos, the clips shown are removed from their context — a practice which does a huge disservice to the audience. And, in this case, was deemed harmful to cam performers themselves. Because I know this is often the case, I refrained from comment until I watched the episode in question.

As most readers, followers, and clients know, I’m not a cam performer; but in watching the Slutever cam girls episode, I was able to get some context for the “upsetting” promo-tweet. And as I suspected, it was not as bad as it seemed.

It’s of paramount importance to note that while the Cam Girl Boot Camp Trainer, Lilia Zavala,  of LA’s Studio 20 did correct the show’s host, Karley Sciortino aka @Slutever, about being “classy” and neither showing nor saying ‘cunt’  — Zavala did so in terms of training within the confines of Studio 20’s brand. (FYI, Studio 20 is based in Romania.)

Such things were not a statement or condemnation of women or cam performers who opt to use the word “cunt” or show it off. It was simply a matter of Studio 20’s cam girl brand being more about playful tease than other more explicit or direct forms of adult entertainment. This is what brands do. They differentiate themselves in the marketplace. And, as seen earlier in the show, there are more graphic & direct cam girl offerings presented – without any judgment.  As Zavala herself noted, “There are other platforms they go to for that. But this particular website I work with is very classy.”

So bitching about that one point of view — out of context — should stop. Ideally, it never would have happened — context is always important! (Personally, I think the selected bits were to showcase the hostess’ “slut” image.)

The Case Of The Misunderstood Promo is now solved. But I’m not done yet. Since I watched the whole show, I have a few other comments to make.

Some of the cam girl’s comments on the popularity and future of camming included noting that camming is “interactive,” “personal,” and “more of a reality show than porn – my reality porn.” Rather common — and spot on. At least for those who prefer visual adult entertainment.

As Andra, PR Manager at Studio 20, noted, camming’s not all about being a traditional beauty aka cis, white, blonde, Barbie image. “She needs to be fun, be smart. It doesn’t matter if she’s white, black, chubby, skinny, big boobs, small boobs, because we found out that in this business everybody’s somebody’s type.”

Amen.

When asked if most cam sessions result in something sexual happening, Andra at Studio 20 noted that about 60% of the time it does. (Yup, that means 40% of the time it is not.) Andra also noted that the draw of camming is building a relationship — and she feels this will only grow as ” a lot of people don’t have the time or want relationships in real life nowadays.”

Sciortino seems surprised.

(Honestly, after so many decades in sex work, I am continually shocked and amazed at people who are shocked and amazed to discover that sex work is a lot like being a therapist or at least simply providing companionship. I should no longer be surprised by this response; but I continue to be!)

At Studio 20 L.A., we meet a top banking, fulltime cam girl, Nikita Banx (@nikitabanx on Twitter). She says the top two interests or kinks she sees are feet and small penis humiliation (sph). She also points out that she’s on cam for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.

This is when Slutever/Sciortino realizes just how broad the job of being a cam girl is. “You have to be a therapist, you have to be sexy, you have to be like a girlfriend, but you also have to be like a dominatrix if someone wants it.”

To which Andra replies, “You have to be a woman. That’s all in the job.”

(Which might just be my favorite bit from the show! All the labor women provide that sex workers are savvy enough to profit from!)

The show’s host responds, “This is stressful.”

And Sciortino hasn’t even realized yet that girls at Studio 20 don’t have to take care of as much of the business side of things, including marketing, as that’s what Studio 20’s 50% – yes, 50% – take covers.

That’s the corporate camming side of things. Now the show delves into the indie side of camming.

We are now meet Ona Artist (@OnaArtist on Twitter), a woman who started her cam career on Instagram. One day, she posted a butt pic — and her world changed. Here, it is worthy of mentioning, that we are introduced to Ona as a professional photographer is taking photos of her. In other words, she spends money to make that money. It’s not just selfies which create the fame and popularity of over a million followers. No matter how great your ass is. What Artist says is that you need “photos that pop, photos that really hit the algorithm well.” And they don’t just take themselves. Clearly, Ona knows how to work the social media system.

To this, Slutever/Sciortino responds, “Wow. Being a cam girl is like a lot of work randomly.”

Randomly?!

Uh, whatever.

It’s a business. That’s not so random.

But then Slutever/Sciortino redeems herself. She says she has respect for Ona and cam girls and their “slutty industriousness.”

Slutever/Sciortino asks, “Do you think that camming is the future of pornography?”

Ona Artist responds, “Yes I think it’s the future – I think it’s already here, actually.”

Now Slutever/Sciortino wonders what that means for “us, the horny masses.”

So our hostess interviews Dr. Melinda Chateauvert aka The Whorestorian (@whorestorian on Twitter), author of Sex Workers Unite! A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk.

Slutever/Sciortino asks about the popularity of camming in adult entertainment.

Melinda “Mindy” Chateauvert responds, “I think that camming has been popular for a long time and I think that the rise of camming was aided by not only changes in technology, and the fact  that  a lot of women who were interested in camming could do it by themselves, but also for a lot of women this was a safe way of doing sex work but not actually having contact with clients.”

Since Chateauvert isn’t into slut-shaming or any of that crap, I take this simply as a fact. Some simply do not wish to be hands-on, full-service sex workers. And that’s OK. Sex work — and the type of it — is a choice.

Chateauvert is also asked if camming will replace pornography. “I think it is very separate. It’s a different kind of performance but I don’t think one will replace the other.”

(I feel the same way about phone sex. It is different, it is its own thing. One doesn’t necessarily replace the other because there are unique aspects and connections to each form of entertainment.)

But back to Slutever and Chateauvert as they discuss the ever-surprising notion of not masturbating but “just talking with a sex worker.”

Chateauvert, The Whorestorian, says, “People want to have someone who they think they can talk to about things that they may not want to share with a person they consider respectable.”

Slutever thinks she’s catching on, and tentatively asks,”So in a way, the sex worker is non-judgemental because they’re in a position which is like sort of seedy…”

Chateauvert clarifies. “Right. I mean their view is a sex worker has experienced everything or knows everything and is not going to make the judgement – and also because we expect sex workers to be confidential and that’s, you know, a super kind of rule number one in the trade is you don’t betray a client’s secrets.”

Absolutely!

After noting the “slutty confessional” nature of camming, Slutever realizes that clients are private about their “voyeurist hobby” (something my survey data supports), — yet we still manage to have a brave male client willing to discuss his camming habit. Well, a bit… Evan, one of Ona Artist’s biggest fans, does share that why he watches. It’s “a little bit of sunshine” during the day, an “escape.” (Which is why I will always caution you about the subjects to blog and tweet about!)

As you might imagine, watching Slutever as she watches Evan watch Ona is more than a bit awkward — thankfully, we jump back to the Whorestorian.

Our hostess asks Dr. Chateauvert, “Do you think that camming will fill in for actual human relationships?”

Kudos for Chateauvert’s reply: “No. I don’t see us going to some sort of sci-fi future where 12 people live in the same room and are only talking to other people via Internet, but I think camming actually facilitates interaction in a way that is much more comfortable and safer and open.”

Ditto many other forms of sex work.

Overall, this specific episode of Viceland’s Slutever, is totally worthy of watching. Even with all my spoilers. *wink* Because, you know, it’s a television show with images — moving images. And because what stood out to me might not be what’s important to you. So do watch it if you’re at all interesting in camming.

Just note that you’ll have to get over the vocal fry of the host (and a few other people).

Is this your first time here? You may wish to read this post and my Statement Of Purpose asap!

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