I’m an Adult Performer. Here’s Why I’m Abandoning Amazon Wishlists.

I am sure that most adult performers can agree this is not the type of company we want to support.
August 30, 2021, 1:00pm
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GoAskAlex. Photograph by Miss Terra Forest/@missterraforest

GoAskAlex is an adult entertainer who launched her career in 2014 as a webcam model and online companion. Most recently, Alex won the 2020 XBIZ Cam Awards for Best Inked Model and 2021 XBIZ Awards for Overall Best Cam Model.

I like to think that the majority of people in this world have good intentions, and that includes my fellow performers in the adult entertainment industry. I can only speak for my own experience, but I’ve found the majority of sex workers I’ve met to be open minded, generous, and empathetic people; they certainly wouldn’t want to support corruption and abuse.

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Despite this, when you ask adult performers how you can send them a gift, many of them will link you to their Amazon Wishlist. This is because these Wishlists provide performers with a convenient, uncomplicated, and anonymous way to receive gifts from their fans.

With the quick and easy registration of an anonymous PO box, anything you can imagine is available at your fingertips—and your fans from around the world can send it to you at the click of a button.

If you ask most people how they feel about corporate corruption and workplace abuse, they’ll tell you they’re against it. As a society, we tend to believe that everyone is entitled to the same opportunities and rights; food, shelter, water, comfort—these are intrinsic to our survival and mental wellbeing. We know we all deserve access to them, but we don’t always act like it.

By this point, you are likely aware of the multiple labor rights violations Amazon (the largest employer in the country) is responsible for.

Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1995, Amazon was initially created as an online bookstore. This may sound innocent enough, but the framework of the company was designed to eradicate small businesses or "mom & pop" stores, and (once the competition was eliminated) hike up prices.

Today, Amazon controls 75 percent of online sales of physical books. Amazon now dominates retail around much of the globe. Overall, Amazon is projected to account for 40 percent of online retail sales in the U.S. by the end of 2021. 

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For Bezos, one of the richest people on earth with a colossal net worth of over $200 billion, spending $88,000 is as easy as spending $1 would be for you and me.

While Bezos spends his fortune on trips to space, every day new and horrible stories about working conditions at the company come to light. Amazon workers say they regularly have to pee in bottles because they don't have enough time to take bathroom breaks, a problem that's much harder for women. They have to follow cost saving routing algorithms that make them walk into traffic. Injury data shows that Amazon jobs are more dangerous than Walmart and UPS jobs. And despite these working conditions, some Amazon workers can't afford to live anywhere but their car. Much of this labor is spent on delivering products which quickly turn into waste at great environmental cost.

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I am sure that most adult performers can agree this is not the type of company we want to support. So why do we?

Because of the stigma and criminalization of sex work worldwide, those of us in the industry often struggle to accept payment through traditional vendors; In my personal experience, I struggled to open a business account at my bank because of their acceptable use policy. I was made to jump through hoops that most mainstream businesses don't have to just so that I could deposit my pay checks. It's no wonder that so many sex workers gravitate towards alternative payment options when we are often at risk of account closures or the seizure of our assets.

Amazon is an evil corporation built with the framework of exploiting workers for capital gain. It's also the easiest, most convenient option to receive goodies–and lots of them. We are faced with the difficult decision to either sacrifice the constant flow of gifts–or admit that we care more about our financial and material gain than we do about the exploitation of our fellow workers–and the environment around us. Rather than doing either, we make excuses for our actions and convince ourselves that our behavior isn’t all that bad. At the very least, we ignore the problem. After all, what can one person do?

In 1957, psychologist Leon Festinger published ‘A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance,’ explaining the discomfort people feel when they hold conflicting beliefs, or when their actions contradict their beliefs.

Experiencing cognitive dissonance may cause a person to feel anxious, guilty, and ashamed. As a result they will constantly rationalize their actions or choices, avoid conversations on the topic, and ignore information and research that opposes their existing beliefs.

I believe that cognitive dissonance has prevented many of us (both in and out of the adult industry) from making the right decision for our communities, for our local economies, and for our planet. The convenience and perks of Amazon (and other sites like it) have been tantalizing enough to dominate this part of our industry while cognitive dissonance has allowed us to pretend it’s not a problem.

I have come to the conclusion that it’s unnecessary, unethical, and inhumane to continue supporting Amazon and everything that it stands for. Though I know there are many who are not in a financially secure enough space to turn down the monetary gains associated with these gifts, I urge all of those who are to think seriously about their priorities. What is more important to us–convenience, or humanity?

For many years I’ve chosen convenience, and today I choose humanity.