“Hey, I like your look! Sell me photos?” Uh… No.

Heyyyy! Seems it’s time to do this. Again.

In case you haven’t been following me since my days on the independent circuit in the Seattle area: Welcome! My name’s Avispa, I’m a professional luchadora, and when I have time away from working shows for CMLL I have armpit hair. Please, kindly hold your applause until the end of the rant.

I’ve previously written about people being shitty and judgmental about my armpit hair. Check out my blog post on that topic here.

I’ve also written about people crossing the line in their internet interactions with public figures, specifically female & femme performers, in this post here.

Today, we combine BOTH topics! Read on for: How to not upset a femme person by asking for paid photos online when that’s not a service that person already provides! So, here goes.

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Imagine this. You’ve never spoken to a man (1) before. Then, out of the blue you get a message from him that goes something like this:

“Hey, I like your look! Sell me photos?”

I’m going to stop right here to say: Not ok. This is not an ok message to send to anyone sight unseen. Unless you know that’s something they do, DON’T ASK. It makes us (folks who receive that sort of request) very, VEEEERRRYYY uncomfortable.

Some context: Yesterday I posted a post-workout photo where you can see the tiniest hint of armpit hair if you really zoom in. Today I found a message in my Patreon inbox, and a new pledge (yay!). The initial wording, however, was a big red flag. I played it cool, ignoring the subtext, then— bam! The response I was admittedly already expecting. Cue the “bad adrenaline.” It’s a shaky fight-or-flight feeling that combines anger (“Not cool! Why would you think that’s ok?!”), fear (“Fuck, does this person follow me on other platforms? Will they see if I publicize this issue?”), anxiety (“Am I overreacting?”), and a general discomfort and deer-in-the-headlights paralysis regarding how to respond.   

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We’ll start here: Folks have diverse interests. That’s great when you’re among consenting adults in sanctioned spaces (private homes, places where paid sex work occurs, gatherings of folks with shared interests, etc.). The human experience is varied! Yay! I wish you the best of luck finding partners and communities that fit you.

Point two: Sex work is valid work. I know I’m painting with a very broad brush when I place “requests for non-nude photos for money” under the umbrella of sex work, but I certainly feel like that falls under a similar or adjacent category. Adults who choose sex work— get that money! You provide important services and deserve a safe, lucrative, and harassment-free work environment.  What’s more, in an uncertain economic situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems as though more folks who don’t normally sell photos of themself for money are beginning to do so. Just look at the number of pro wrestlers who have started an OnlyFans account with the stated intent to monetize risqué or explicit content for subscribers. Again, go forth and successfully diversify your offerings if that’s a strategy that fits you.

Final point: While asking for photos for money is not inherently problematic, it’s NOT appropriate to solicit photos for money from people or public figures who do not offer that as a service. Don’t expect access to some form of “secret menu.” Folks who are comfortable selling photos of themselves (or parts of themselves) likely already advertise that fact. Again, see OnlyFans.

This is not the first time someone has requested photos of my body parts for money. I’ll be clear: Other than promotional photos, I don’t personally feel comfortable selling photos of myself (or parts of myself) for money by individual request. That’s simply not my bag. Again, no shade on folks who do.

I’ve caught a lot of shit for/ gotten tons of misguided “complements” from people on account of my armpit hair. I’ve gotten plenty of requests for photos of my feet. All of this makes me triple-examine any photo of myself that goes up on social media.  Please don’t add an extra layer of “how are folks viewing and using this content?” for me to agonize over by sending messages that clearly cross a line.

End rant.

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NOTES:

(1) Yes. This post is yet again aimed almost exclusively at cis-het dudes. Why? Because I’ve yet to get a creepy or overly-insistent message from a woman, a femme person, or an openly queer person.

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