Conference

Sex Workers on TikTok: Transparency, Normalization and Algorithm-Based Marginalization

Author
  • Chelsea Davis (Iowa State University)

Abstract

The social media platform TikTok has risen in popularity among Generation Z users. Information about sex work, especially from the perspectives of sex workers, is available on the platform, giving the public unprecedented insight into this industry by hearing from professional sex workers in a casual setting. Despite increasing visibility of sex work and sex workers, those who are BIPOC, queer and/or hold other marginalized identities are othered within this already-othered community, as TikTok’s algorithm pushes white, cisgender sex workers to the top of users’ feeds. Using feminist media theory and an intersectional framework, this study examines the ways in which sex work is discussed on TikTok, whether this dialogue contributes to a normalization of this work among younger generations, and how algorithm-based platforms further marginalize BIPOC, queer and other marginalized identities.

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Published on
05 Mar 2021
Sex Workers on TikTok: Transparency, Normalization and Algorithm-Based Marginalization