Document Type



Online sex work, or erotic labor, refers to sexual services that are provided via the Internet for compensation. Views of sex work range from empowering and agentic for sex workers, rife with violence and victimization. Various frameworks (Jones, 2016 Vance, 1984; Weitzer, 2010) examine the balance between these extremes; but often lacks nuance. I examined female and non-binary online sex workers’ experiences with misogyny and how they cope with it. Zoom interviews were conducted with 15 participants ranging from 18 to 33 years old. Using an intersectional feminist lens and thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2020), two overarching themes were identified: 1) Lemons, which encapsulates two themes representing unpleasant experiences with misogyny and 2) Making Lemonade, which includes two themes representing how online sex workers coped with misogyny, or ‘turned lemons into lemonade.’ Results suggest that experiences are complex, and I labeled the dual spectrum dynamic and micro/macro dynamic to capture these nuances. These two frameworks show how empowerment and oppression are operating on individual spectrums simultaneously, as opposed to one trumping the other, and that micro factors such as empowerment, validation, and agency are operating under larger macro systems such as misogyny and/or capitalism.



Thesis Comittee

Teresa K. King, PhD., Thesis Advisor
Joseph R. Schwab, PhD., Committee Member
Sandy Neargarder, PhD., Committee Member