clubs. In April 1998, twenty women were stripping for the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG).217 In these virtual peep shows, “star performers” are available on weekends, but most of the week local women staff the strip-sets for US$20/hour. 218
“Natalia” While Warshavsky, owner of IEG, lives in a half million- dollar condo and drives a new Jaguar, “Natalia” is paid US$20/hour to strip and perform sex shows for buyers over the Internet.219 While “Natalia” claims that stripping makes her feel good about herself, “Natalia” is not her real name and she doesn’t want anyone to know she earns money this way. She says she strips for IEG because her other job does not pay enough to support her and her family. She conceals the stripping from most of her friends and family. She describes the depersonalization that other women in the pornography and prostitution industries undergo. She takes on another personality in order to act out the scenarios required. “Out there, I’m a completely different person than I am in here. This is my shadow side.”220
As in other parts of the pornography and prostitution industries, women assist in the exploitation of other women. At IEG, the “Director of Talent” is Mara Mehren. A former operator in the phone sex business, who moved up in the business with Ian Eisenberg; now, at 35, she video-captures the sex shows in Warshavsky’s IEG warehouse. She controls camera angles and monitors who is logged on and for how long. She is the high- tech version of the brothel madam making sure the men get their moneys worth. 221
An advantage of stripping on Internet live shows may be that the women don’t have to physically deal with men, as they do in strip bars and clubs.222 Many women report the lack of physical contact with men is an advantage to stripping for online prostitution industry sites. A few former “porn stars” have set up their own Web sites.
Madeleine Altmann, 33, of New York owns, runs and strips on Babes4U Web site. Her operation represents a US$100,000 investment for computers, video equipment and high transmission telephone lines that can handle streaming video. She videos herself dancing and stripping, then transmits it to buyers on the Internet. She says, “I would never be a stripper or a prostitute. I don’t want to be near the clients or see them.”223 Although Altmann herself doesn’t want to have any contact with the men, she has other women who work for her engage in sexually explicit computer “chat” with the buyers. 224
Other Forms of Violence Against Women on the Internet
Other forms of explicit and extreme violence against women and children can be found on the Internet.
During an Internet search on rape, an activist found a Web site with a message from a man asking for someone to rape his wife because she didn’t like having sex with him. Visitors to this Web site left messages with their email addresses indicating that they were willing to rape the woman. Thanks to investigation and complaints to the Internet Service Provider, this Web site was taken down.225 Another woman found a Web site that