Webcam Performers Resisting Social Harms: “You're on the Web Masturbating… It's Just about Minimising the Footprint”


  • Rachel Stuart



This article will bring together Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of Smooth Space and zemiological debates of social harms to respond to the question set by Jane Scoular (2015): does the law matter in sex work? The regulation and policing of performers by hosting sites allow sites to avoid state-level legislation. However, site regulations cause performers to experience harm that traditional concepts of the law cannot address because the law is powerless against the intrinsic injuries done by neo-liberalism. The damages experienced by female performers were not generally criminal but nonetheless harmful to those experiencing them, even though generally no laws were transgressed. When performers did experience crime, the non-territorial nature of the internet prevented action from being taken. This article will explore the irrelevance of the law in the context of webcamming and the potential harms caused by academia’s fixed gaze on the customer, preventing consideration of the damages done to webcam performers by other social actors.