Self-Care Guide for Queer Cam Workers and Content Creators
If you’re a cam worker or engaged in other forms of adult content creation, particularly if you’re queer and at risk of added harrassment, self-care is a must. KathTea gives their tips on navigating expectations and caring for your sense of self.
Speaking as a person who is often misgendered (both accidentally and on purpose) it seems that not looking “typically attractive” in the world of camming and fetish content can be quite disheartening. Not only are you bombarded by what society believes is beautiful, people in the comments section are reinforcing it.
I present myself one way in front of the camera, but at home I’m the kind of person who wears no bra, a makeup-free face, tank top and boxers. What kinds of steps can we take as professionals to keep up our self-esteem in a looks-focused industry where online harrassment is frequent and we have our own personal insecurities to contend with? How can we promote ourselves when we’re in front of the camera and maintain our personal needs the rest of the time? Self-care is something we all need to do.
While this article might be intended for sex workers and fetish or cam content creators, I hope this works for everyone as well.
It’s fine to unsubscribe/Unfollow/Unfriend
Social milestones aren’t the end-all and be-all.
Believe it or not, the milestones that Facebook sends you actually don’t mean anything. It took me a while to understand that unsubscribing from a channel, unfollowing on Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr and unfriending a person on Facebook is purely superficial. It doesn’t change anything about how long you’ve known a person online. Don’t be afraid to let go of some things and move on. If you ever change your mind, you can always come back.
Curate your feed so it doesn’t feed your insecurities.
It really helps to remove certain pages from your feed if certain things about those people cause you to feel insecurities about yourself. For instance, let’s say you follow someone who’s extremely popular in your circle and well-known for their bust size or chiseled abs. Sure, admiring people is great. However, on the days your self-esteem is low, this can feel damaging to you. Worse still, you may compare your numbers against theirs. So don’t be afraid to avoid those popular figures for a while!
Don’t. Read. The. Comments.
There’s a saying online: “NEVER READ THE COMMENTS”. That saying is true for every single social media page. Well, some places are better than others. So far my Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram have been decent. But YouTube and Reddit are the absolute cesspool of commentary – especially if you’re a fetish or adult content creator.
I currently disable commentary on my own YouTube videos and mention in my description box (aka the “doobly-doo”) that serious commentary can be made on Patreon by patrons only. I honestly find that, with YouTube’s default ranking system, there is a tendency for trolls, bigots, misogynists and the like to spark arguments, causing their comments to bump to the top. Frankly, I believe that if someone really wants to say something, they will figure it out.
Hide YouTube comments for casual browsing.
What about browsing YouTube casually, you say? There’s a way to do that too. Most browsers have extensions to hide comment sections. I use “Shut Up” and it works on almost every site I’ve tried. The only downside – of the extension I use, at least – is that they can also hide the comment box. When I want to add a comment of my own without reading the comments below me? I carefully scroll down just enough to use the box and not read the comments at all.
It’s Okay to Block
Depending on what website you frequent, you can either mute or block any trolls you face. A lot of people think that it’s important to “have a forum” even with bigots but frankly, if someone is calling you a “lonely lesbian c***” they probably have nothing to add to the conversation.
Twitter users can use the GGautoblocker which was created to block Gamergaters – which is a good start, since a lot of them have very sexist views.
Unfortunately, blocking and muting is far from permanent. I use the function to also block shady users with bigger followings, even if they have not directly communicated with me, because they might be sharing bigotry that I would rather not have on my feed.
Reddit tips for cam workers and similar professionals
Don’t read Reddit comments. Squint them.
My next tip on avoiding mean comments seems silly but it works on Reddit, for me at least. This site honestly has the worst crowd, since stealing images is rewarded and held in high regard while any “self-promotion” is frowned upon. What’s worse is that the “acceptable” look has to meet the mainstream adult work cliche (i.e blonde, busty, slim and fair).
If you’ve had negative experiences and want to avoid the comments yet still mark your inbox as read, just squint your eyes till the text appears blurry and open the inbox then close the tab/window when it’s finished loading.
Find categories to signpost in.
If you want to signpost your work on Reddit it takes a while to find the categories that suit your looks but try googling keywords followed after “reddit” (e.g reddit butch, reddit androgynous, reddit short hair, reddit small boobs). After you’ve found a few places you like, don’t be afraid to revive dead subreddits. Make sure to use the [self] tag to indicate a picture of yourself. Also read the rules if any.
Beware of posting the same thing more than twice. Crossposting is okay but there is “redditquette” for that, which I learned the hard way (people on reddit are rude, did I not mention this?).
When you crosspost, put “xpost /r/(subreddit)” in the title. e.g My dog this morning xpost/r/thisisaplaceholder.
Then proceed to add the subreddit mentioned in the comments e.g /r/thisisaplaceholder
The “redditquette” is just a tip for avoiding negative comments but I personally just gave up on reading them altogether.
Take Time to Yourself – the fine art of Triggering Tears for self-care
Did you know people in Japan (primarily women) hire “Crying Boys” who help clients cry and release their emotions in a safe way?
Personally, I like listening to low to medium tempo songs about self-esteem and self-love to get the ball rolling. WebMD says that letting down one’s guard and defenses can work to your advantage. I don’t believe crying in the privacy of your room over whatever negative thing you face online is a sign of weakness.
Some of my own favourite songs for this purpose are:
Melanie Martinez – “Mrs Potato Head”
If you want a little more confidence
Potatoes turn to french fries, yeah it’s common sense
All you need’s a couple more condiments
And a hundred thousand dollars for some compliments
It’s such a waste
When little girls grow into their mother’s face
But little girls are learning how to cut and paste
And pucker up their lips until they suffocate
I like this one because it’s quite cynical, unlike most popular self-love songs, but it touches on how altering one’s features has been normalized. While it’s not necessarily pro-surgery, it does discuss how some people do it for others and not themselves. If you’re getting anything done, do it for yourself.
TLC – “Unpretty”
You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up
That M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel
So damn unpretty
I’ll make you feel unpretty too
I like this one because it’s a classic song about personal image and people knocking you down. When I spent two years of my career with a shaved head, I was told in person and online that I “need” to grow my hair long to be “beautiful”, especially if said person saw me in a good wig. The reality is that my natural hair texture is thinner than a wig’s. So “Unpretty” is a sentiment I carry whenever random people want to suggest “improvements” to my looks.
MILCK – “Quiet”
Put on your face
Know your place
Shut up and smile
Don’t spread your legs
I could do that
But no one knows me no one ever will
If I don’t say something, if I just lie still
Would I be that monster, scare them all away
If I let them hear what I have to say
I can’t keep quiet
This is a song that makes me cry a lot. It was actually sung as a protest song during the 2017 Women’s March by protesters alongside artist MILCK and a choir. I feel like expressing frustration from patriarchy and bullies is oddly satisfying. Plus, the chorus is about how you can’t keep quiet despite all the surrounding negativity.
I’ve compiled these songs (plus others) in a Spotify playlist in case any more songs come up in the future.
Do Something Wild with Your Looks / Go Against the Grain
Regular commentary that gets us down is criticism about our physical appearance. While this might sound counter-productive, I fully believe in contradicting your critics and not changing yourself to meet their expectations, though it takes a lot of confidence to do.
For instance, I continued to maintain my shaved head even with my critics saying I’d look prettier with chest-length hair with bangs. At the time of writing I am no longer fully bald, but I have my hairline shaved similar to the style of Manchurian men, giving the look of a much higher forehead. In Asia there’s often a cultural preference for a smaller forehead, so people are more likely to fill in dips in the hairline than shave their hair for a higher forehead.
Some other things I have in mind to go against the grain in the future include getting permanent yellow irises or yellow eyeball tattoos, because it’s a trend in my culture for people to get European features including permanent grey, blue or green irises.
Guided Imagery & Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The cliche go-to self-care technique is yoga and meditation, which is great and all; I practice it too. However, after I started going to occupational therapy, I was taught how to practice guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation. So what are they? Prior to therapy, I had never heard of these activities.
- Guided imagery directs one’s thoughts to guide your mind towards a relaxed and focused state.
- Progressive muscle relaxation is where you tense a group of muscles as you inhale and relax them as you exhale. Muscles are worked on in order.
Personally, spending more than five minutes on anything is very difficult for me, be it work or play. My therapist kept that in mind when introducing these activities to me. The audio they use actually mentions that if you feel like you need a break, you can stop at any time. It’s about the journey, not the destination.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a therapist, you can find a lot of free versions on YouTube. It’s nothing that a bit of searching online can’t handle.
My final thoughts
This article is by no means exhaustive but my aim was to find self-care methods that aren’t often mentioned and have worked for me. Also, I really wanted to share self-care tips for sex workers, fetish models and cam workers, because we are often overlooked and self-care is something we definitely all need.
In fact, I am writing this as a form of self-care as well. It would be nice if someday we could all be accepted as who we are. No-one deserves such harsh treatment over the job they do.
Until then, we must learn to love ourselves and the people around us. Everyone deserves tender loving care.
Tagged in: sex positive