Morally superior, hypocritical, and sexist
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
As a great proponent of the global community the internet creates, it isn’t often that online movements make me angry. Trends like #TakeHerSwimming and the numerous challenges floating around demanding that people do dumb things just to satiate an online audience—stuff like that just confuses me. However, there are some darker sides.
Recently, online forums like Reddit have popularized reporting cam models, nude models with premium Snapchats, and erotic entertainment affiliated Patreon accounts to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and other various organizations dedicated to uncovering tax fraud. To me, the fact that this reporting is being done as a means of amusement is incredibly disgusting—and extremely sexist.
If you consume digital content, especially in the form of Twitch streams, you have probably heard the term THOT— “That Ho Over There.” It is basically a derogatory term often applied online to female streamers who use their sexuality or sexual appeal to garner views, subscribers, and personal donations from their audience. I personally have no issue with the women who decide to do this as long as it is their decision and they are not being coerced. I take ownership and use my body as I like, and I believe that everyone deserves that level of autonomy. I also believe that the people who give financially to this type of content are—I’m assuming, because you must be over 18 to watch these streams—adults who can do whatever they want with their money.
Here is where the break occurs between what I would hope is common sense and what is actually happening. As a consumer of digital content, if I don’t like something, I don’t watch it. I hate streamers who use racial slurs and I dislike watching streams where people either scream or don’t talk at all. If I find those things occurring, I move on to watch someone else. I think the problem is that people are so affronted by women making a place for themselves in this digital media space that they are offended by any female presence. Women who simply want a platform are “THOTs” until proven otherwise—as if there is some great internet authority that determines such things. Furthermore, women who do use their appearance and sexual appeal are subject to bullshit like this, which I would go as far as to say is the sexist equivalent of swatting!
People who partake in this reporting to audit agencies don’t seem to understand how dangerous doing something like this is. Many of the sites that these women use to receive this income do not give any way of monitoring how much money comes in. This makes it nearly impossible to report that income in any official capacity. Furthermore, these reports could lead to these women being audited, which is a very stressful process. If the IRS or CRA does determine that back taxes are owed, they can be exorbitant amounts—upwards of $10,000—that these women are now subject to pay almost immediately. This puts them in a desperate situation where suddenly their side business now probably becomes a necessity, assuming that it wasn’t their primary source of income in the first place. On top of that, in some countries or states, doing this type of work is illegal—so reporting these women might also get them arrested for sex crimes.
Morally, I find it incredibly hypocritical that these same individuals often blatantly brag about pirating porn, but somehow the fact that there is a woman out there demanding that someone pay for watching her specifically—that’s deemed unfair! I also find it highly unlikely that the same people reporting women for not claiming their online income are doing the same for their favourite Fortnite streamer. It goes two ways: If women should be expected to be transparent with the government when it comes to their extracurricular income, everyone should be.
I think it is very sad how easily people online forget that when they do something like this, it does have real-world consequences. However, historically it has been easy for the public to dehumanize sex workers—which is what this type of behavior suggests is happening. It is my hope that history doesn’t repeat itself, that we realize derogatory and discriminative terms and behavior should not be used as a source of amusement. However, every time we seem to be making strides as a society, another thing like #ThotAudit happens.