Calling a Duck a Duck: The Take-Away from #ThotAudit

Image licensed under  CC0 Creative Commons

Image licensed under CC0 Creative Commons

Tax evasion is the bane of drug dealers, sex traffickers, and pretty much any other black-market professional. From the likes of the infamous Chicago crime lord Al Capone, to Former Vice President Spiro Agnew, this little insipid tick of the government has been a great tool to prosecute known actors in criminal markets when evidence of other crimes is unobtainable. This week the felony crime made news headlines again as an MRA named David Wu started a campaign called #ThotAudit, wherein he started mass reporting the “Premium Snapchat accounts” of women who recorded lewd and obscene material and sold access to it online. Critics of the movement took to twitter in defense of these “CamGirls” and “Sex Workers” claiming that this was essentially doxxing, and that those reporting were “acting like snitches. Defenders replied with a refrain of “If sex work is real work, then it must be taxed the same way.”

Personally, I don’t care much about the spin of the issue. My problem is in the labeling of the issue. These are not “girls with a side hustle”. These are not “CamGirls”. These are not “streamers”. They also are not prostitutes, hookers, or whores. By calling these women whores, hookers, and prostitutes, we incidentally lump them with legitimate victims in our society. The sex trafficked, the abused, and the desperate souls trying to escape literal poverty by any means necessary. Furthermore, by calling them “CamGirls”, you infantalise them and grant them a pass in the court of public opinion. These are grown women who know what they are doing and are getting paid for it. It is time we call these women what they are: professional black market producers of pornographic content.

If you don’t understand what I mean, this might shock you. While it is not illegal to consume pornographic material, (well if you’re an adult and there aren’t kids around) that doesn’t mean you can make porn. There is only one state where the production of pornographic content is legal in the United States and that is California. Due to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, It is also a HEAVILY regulated market. Permits, medical test, and all sorts of background checks and tax work must be done long before the camera starts to roll.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Does this mean I break the law when I sext my significant other?” The answer is probably not. While there was a time not long ago where you might get charged if a photo of you got blasted on the internet, most states have passed sexting laws which ensure that private personal pictures are not considered pornography.

However, when discussing our tax evaders, we must acknowledge that these laws do not protect the aforementioned women because they are getting paid. This function makes it a business transaction which is not personal, nor private. In fact, most of these women will even sell pre-recorded videos and pictures. Just because the resolution is of relatively low-quality doesn’t make it not porn.

Now I can imagine another rebuttal might be, “Why does the government have the right to say what I can and can’t do with my body?” That’s question is not without merit, and the answer is simply, that it doesn’t. However, this isn’t an issue of what you do with your body, it’s an issue of what you bring to the marketplace. These amateur pornographers aren’t selling their bodies, they are selling a recording, and an obscene one at that. The government views this as low speech, which is not protected by the Constitution and thus can be regulated at all levels. Frankly, it matters little what side of this matter you belong to. At the end of the day, to call a goat, a goat and a duck, a duck, these are pornographers, and it is our duty to acknowledge that.

P. S.

For those wondering “But what about strippers?”, stripping laws differ based on state, county, and even city levels, with some jurisdictions allowing the recording of strippers, full nudity, and some even for touching (by patrons or otherwise), however other jurisdictions allow none of this. Regardless, this isn’t a fair comparison, because these girls are selling recordings of themselves doing overtly sexual acts. This is a completely different art form, with different open market regulations, the same way theaters have different regulations from cinemas. They are fundamentally apples and oranges.