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Confessions: I Am A Plus-Size Webcam Girl

Life & Travel

The phrase, "Sometimes you have to do what you have to do," get's thrown around. A lot. But when you're stuck in a financial rut, and your choices for getting extra cash is limited, the same phrase takes on new meaning, and goes from "thrown around" to "real talk."

The truth in the "do what you have to do" phrase became real to me three years ago when my unemployment was set to run out. I had searched high and low for a job, and had no luck. I had just enough money left to pay one more month of rent, and a bit of groceries before imminent doom set in.

After running into one closed door after the next, I decided to get creative, and so I Googled "at home jobs." During my very frantic job search, I ran into a webcam modeling advertisement. I paid it no mind at first because there was one problem:

I am fat.

I never thought in a million years that someone would want to pay-per-minute to see me do things to my naughty bits, but curiosity really got the best of me. Not to mention that my bills had to get paid. I can't walk in heels to save my life so stripping was out. After signing up to be a web chat host, I shrugged it off for a few days. I mean who would be interested in me of all people?! Another Google search showed me that there were other plus sized women cam girls. I was already aware of plus sized women in the adult [film] world, just not with webcam. I also learned that there is a huge market for plus sized women doing webcam videos. It's a really diverse industry. I guess you can say I found the tiniest glimmer of hope in a job that kind of intimidated me.

To get my self ready for my first day on the job, I spent what little money I had on a new webcam. In my mind, it was due or die time. The next few days I got dolled up, but I couldn't bring myself to actually take the webcam out of the box and hook it up to my laptop. It hit me at that moment that I was scared.

But I was determined to keep a roof over my head.

The following night, after I dolled myself up again, I logged on to start my first shift as a cam girl. As soon as the site told me I was streaming LIVE, I wrapped my Hello Kitty snuggie around my head and body. I freaked out when I came to the realization that people can actually see me all over the world. Even my neighbor. Mom. Past employer.

As I sat like a deer in headlights someone logged into my chatroom, and asked me what was I doing.... That was a great question because frankly I was wondering the same exact thing. My first shift was 12-hours long. I made a whopping $37. I felt over joyed because well, those $37 were spent on me.

I was too broke to buy toys or lube for my cam shows so I had to make do with what I had. So on my second night, I defrosted my cucumber (you read it right). Looking back I remember the cucumber would defrost and there would be juice all over the place. After each shift I threw it back in the freezer. After about two weeks, it was done for.

It didn't matter anyway, because at that point, I was able to afford toys. I also met someone who would become a very close friend. He taught me how the website worked, what to say or do, and how each feature worked. I am thankful for him, because I probably wouldn't have been able to manage this job on my own those first few nights.

As each shift passed I started slowly growing my fan base, and my paychecks grew a little more as time went on. On my best night ever, I made just under $800 dollars. I made $11 dollars on my slowest night. I've also made $300 in an hour, just like I've made $0 in an hour. It comes with the territory and the nature of the business. I am by no means wealthy or debt free, but I can honestly say I've transformed myself into a confident woman who no longer walks into a room with her head down.

But somehow, my "lucky streak" started to fade away when I had to face one of the biggest hurdles that comes with being a webcam girl - telling my mom what I did for a living. In fact, I did the first two and a half years as a webcam model in secrecy because I did not want to worry my mother, and she already had a ton on her plate. I eventually told mom about my job after I had several setbacks around Christmas 2015. Two of them was the fact that my laptop and Internet were out of commision for an entire week, which meant no webcam and no money being made. I also had no idea how I was going to pay my rent. So I prayed that if a blessing came my way, that I would lead a more honest life. I guess you can say the blessing came in the form of a $700 credit card offer.

Just after I praised the heavens above I got a text from my mom. Somewhere in our text exchange, she asked me, "So what do you do for work? How do you make your money?"

I knew at that point, it was time for me to come clean. After a really long heart-to-heart, she ended the long text conversation with "go make that money honey."

I swear a thousand pounds was lifted off my shoulders. To know that my mom supported me meant the absolute world to me. Even today we joke about my job, and she'll ask me how work went. Everything is different now, even the energy I feel when working. I think because my mom was a single parent of four kids, she can genuinely understand how hard it can be sometimes.

The rough part of this job includes me not having a person who wants to know my spirit instead of my body. Most men claim they would date a cam girl, but when it comes down to it, they can't handle knowing that their girlfriend is off somewhere taking her clothes off for a living. I honestly can't blame a man for not being ok with dating a cam girl. Deep down, I wish men were more accepting of what we do, because the majority of us never meet our customers in person. But I crave human interaction, and the touch of a man's hands. My interaction with people is mostly on social media, where I'm networking, talking with with fans, or performing on webcam. I can tell you that it has been two years since I have hugged a man.

Perhaps being a webcam model is the reason why I'm somewhat afraid to date. A majority of men who I've allowed into my space ended up trying to use me for "freebies" rather than trying to get to know me.

I don't plan on doing this forever; however, it's how I survive right now. It's how I keep clothes on my back and food in the fridge. Plus, I haven't quite figured out what I want to be when I grow up yet. And I may never figure it out. But one thing I refuse to do is feel less than or hard on myself because I've chosen a non-traditional career path for the time being.

I'm still learning a lot about myself, and my hope is to teach women like me that it's OK to not fit society's standard of what beauty is as long as you are kind to yourself as well as others.

You can catch up with me on Twitter and Instagram @christyoncam.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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