In 2020, Rocky Paterra posted a song about telling people he was an accountant when asked about work.
The song went viral on TikTok among OnlyFans creators, strippers, and sex workers.
On TikTok, "accountant" is more likely to refer to an OnlyFans creator than an actual accountant.
On January 12, TikTok user @sentient.greenbean posted a video lamenting the fact that there were people on TikTok who still didn't know what the term "accountant" meant on the app. For those unfamiliar, on TikTok it typically doesn't mean someone who works with numbers - rather, the meaning has shifted to signify OnlyFans creators, strippers, sugar babies, and sex workers who frequently use it to refer to themselves and their work on the app.
"Y'all I thought everybody knew about this," @sentient.greenbean said in her video. "I made a TikTok the other day complaining about how a girl I know was trying to shame me and out me for being an accountant. And the number of people in the comments that were like 'Oh my god, why would you be ashamed of being good at math, why is that a bad thing?'... Guys, that's not what 'accountant' means."
The meme itself has roots in a viral July 2020 TikTok from actor Rocky Paterra (@rockysroad), leading to "accountant" and "TikTok accountant" becoming part of the language of TikTok itself.
The meme started with a viral video from actor Rocky Paterra
In July 2020, TikTok creator and actor Rocky Paterra (@rockysroad) posted a short song about what he tells strangers when they ask for what he does for a living.
Rather than explain that he's a "struggling actor" and that "auditions are a full-time job" when someone asks him what he does, Paterra says in the song, that he'd "rather smile and simply state that I have a full-time job as an accountant," later responding to hypothetical questions like "Where do you work?" with answers like "At a place where accountants work."
His song riffs on the vague obscurity of accounting as a profession (according to Northeastern University, accountants are professionals who are "responsible for keeping and interpreting financial records"). For that reason - and the relatable struggle of trying to explain a profession to those who aren't familiar with it - "I'm an Accountant" became a mainstay on TikTok.
Sex workers began to use the song to make memes and talk about their profession
As BuzzFeed News' Ade Onibada reported, sex workers on TikTok embraced Paterra's "I'm an accountant" song, using it in videos to discuss their work, share tips, and make memes. Some creators told BuzzFeed News that the sound allowed them to promote their work, or destigmatize it, while being funny in the process.
The "accountant" shorthand provides a humorous way to speak about careers that can sometimes be difficult to be transparent about due to stigma or platform policies, just as Paterra jokes about using it as a way from deflecting the idiosyncracies of being an actor. Its impact on the TikTok is apparent, and the meaning of the term has all but fully shifted on TikTok: now, "accountant" is just as likely, if not more, to refer to someone who strips or makes content for OnlyFans as someone who does accounting.
As of late February, the #accountant hashtag had over 645 million cumulative views and #accountantsoftiktok had over 68.7 million, and the vast majority of the top videos in each tag were people posting about their experiences making money from OnlyFans, creating fetish content, working at a strip club, or doing sex work.
In mid-February 2021, "TikTok accountant" spiked in search interest on Google. Seven months after Paterra's video, it's a testament to the term's longevity both on TikTok and online at large.
Read the original article on Insider