The Fraudulent Whore

Anna R.
November 4, 2023

On claiming the sex worker identity and getting over imposter syndrome.


Who knew you could have imposter syndrome over being a sex worker? But I guess you can have imposter syndrome over anything and everything.

For the longest time, I thought I had no right to claim the identity of being a sex worker. So much of my work wasn't focused on sex, but rather the hyper fetishization of my fat body. I was making clips, chatting, and doing other things, entirely concentrated on feederism and fat fetishes. And frequently felt like because I wasn't getting hardcore fucked that I had no right to take up any space in the identity.

For those who might not be familiar with these fetishes, in short, feederism is a subculture of fat fetishism that is centered on the act of gaining weight, body changes, and eating. Other divisions within the subculture have crossovers with other kinks like vore, BDSM, goddess worship, health and medical, splosh, and others. Fat fetishism and feederism are not mutually exclusive but often have a lot of overlap in the community. While I don't think the fetish or community is entirely bad, I feel it is particularly harmful towards fat women and often focuses on nonconsensually putting this fetish and desire onto unknowing fat women. Countless forum sites are devoted to tracking the perceived weight gain of celebrities, old acquaintances, or other unsuspecting strangers. And, of course, not everyone in the fetish participates in this behavior, but it would be wrong not to mention its existence. I also feel like having this context also connects to the unique complexity of doing this kind of sex work.


Like many other kink and fetish communities, there are issues with racism, homophobia, and transphobia; the community harshly enforces all the world's power dynamics into its "play," whether conscious or not. For me, it wasn't an empowering community, and one I didn't intentionally seek out...but instead stumbled into being young, naive, and desperate for money. While my fatness was admired, it was often the only trait about me that seemed to matter. I was just a fat object. I often feel this fetish is less about admiring fatness and defying mainstream beauty norms. Instead, it is about extorting power and control over bodies that, in modern mainstream beauty, have been deemed as not sexual. 

At any rate, so much of my sex work was tied up in fetish work and feederism content and services. I was making a lot of clips and content around eating and implied weight gain while playing up every fat stereotype and troupe you could imagine. I never did sex work congruently; I would drop in and out when I needed the money or had the emotional capacity to handle my clients. I wasn't public with most of my work early in my career, keeping my work secret from even my closest friends. I didn't have the terminology to explain what I was doing, and I couldn't move past the deep shame and self-hatred I had for myself. I feared being seen as those stereotypes I was playing into, a fat, sad, gluttonous, desperate mess. And while I had some understanding of what sex work was, I didn't fully understand the vastness of it.

My primary exposure had been that of the standard media. Hookers, whores, sluts. I didn't think that was me, not because I didn't want to be that or because I thought I was better than that, but because I hadn’t seen my experiences reflected. I thought someone would look at me and laugh, saying what I wasn't doing was any work since I was only eating naked on camera. But if a fear of having someone laugh at you and claim your work isn't work isn't a universal sex worker experience, then I don't know what is. 

Reflecting on it, it's incredibly ironic. I was experiencing something so universally experienced by sex workers and didn't even realize it; I was too siloed in my shame. I didn't want to diminish the labor of sex work with what I was doing. I constantly told myself to suck it up, be thankful, and repent later. I feared people wouldn't see the emotional nuance in fat fetishism and identity-based sex work. It's a different kind of emotional labor. I was playing into the same stereotypes I desperately tried to escape from for my entire life. I didn't want to be a slob; I didn't want to hear men talk about how fat they thought I looked or how hot it was that I was "destroying my health." It’s important to mention that I struggled with binge eating for significant parts of my life, so as you might imagine, it is not ideal for my mental health. 

I hadn't realized how to compartmentalize my work, let alone feel empowered. I didn't want to make the fetish content I was making, but at the time, I didn't have the ability or skill to figure out how to pivot out of that niche. And in case it isn't clear, expanding into new fetishes, kinks, markets, and customers, is FUCKING HARD. It requires a lot of research, time, energy, and often financial sacrifice. I sometimes still beat myself up about being unable to pivot successfully, even though I never wanted sex work as a career. I tell myself that if I had just worn something different, used better hashtags, and didn't have a double chin, things would be different. Maybe if my whole personhood was removed, maybe then I'd be successful. 


I imagine some people might think I should have just stopped doing fetish work then since, emotionally, it wasn't viable for me. But the truth is, it's tough to leave, especially when that's your entire livelihood. It gets even harder to leave when you start thinking that all people see you as is a whore, and no matter how smart or good at other things you are, that's all people will reduce you to. It took years and a lot of failure to make sex work, not the entirety of my income.

While I am confident with a lot of my work and knowledge, sometimes that imposter syndrome rears its ugly little head and calls me a whore. To be completely vulnerable, I feel this the most in tech spaces. I have this sense of dread that everyone will just see some absent-minded whore, with no real knowledge of tech, and therefore has no right to be in the space or even working in the industry. That form of self-doubt is winning far less these days, thanks to the kind words of friends in the industry and the increasing conversations around sex work. I do think some spaces, like Out In Tech and Trans Tech Social, are far more welcoming and eager to celebrate sex workers than other environments. 

For a long time, I never claimed the identity of a sex worker, but one day, something just clicked. I stopped caring about how others might perceive me. I knew what I had experienced. I knew I was tired. I knew what I was doing was work, and I knew that people were getting off from what I was doing. I started to unpack my own internalized perception of sex work and really embody those learnings. Sex is vast, so why wouldn't sex work be? 

I'm sure some people will say feederism and fetish workers aren't sex workers. Whatever, they are losers. Sex work tied to marginalized identity is challenging for some people to process. It requires nuance and emotional maturity. So much of this type of sex work has to do with directly challenging power imbalances, stereotypes, and commonly perceived perceptions of what is sexually acceptable for someone in that body. It can be incredibly healing or incredibly traumatic. Sex work is a delicately powerful identity, one I proudly claim. Sex work has taught me so much, and I will continue to show up in every space, including vanilla work spaces, proudly claiming this labor and identity. I am eternally grateful to all the sex workers before me for their teachings, labor, energy, and sacrifices. 

Resources & Readings:

SWOP Chicago 

Sex Worker Outreach Project USA (SWOP)

Global Network of Sex Work Projects 

Third Wave: Sex Worker Giving Circle 

We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival

How Sex Changed the Internet, and the Internet Changed Sex 


To be clear, I don’t think there’s any one way to be successful in sex work. I don’t think fatness makes you any less desirable or sexual. This writing is not meant to reflect how I think others should be in the industry but rather an insight into how my internalized hate allowed my imagination to run wild.