Anonymity (from Greek ανωνυμία, "name-less") refers to the fact that a person's identity is not known. Such a person whose identity is unknown is called anonymous.
Anonymity can have many reasons. Sometimes the information of an artist's or author's identity has not been preserved through history, although his work has. In other cases a person does not want to be known and therefore uses anonymity or pseudonymity deliberately to protect his or her privacy.
Anonymity and pseudonymity
Sometimes it is desired that a person can establish a long-term relationship (such as a reputation) with some other entity or field of work, without his/her personal identity being disclosed. In this case, it may be useful for the person to establish a unique identifier, called a pseudonym.
Examples of pseudonyms are pen names or nicknames. Also many people chose pseudonyms as their user names (login names) to protect their privacy by not disclosing their real name. A pseudonym enables the other entity to link different messages from the same person and, thereby, the maintenance of a long-term relationship. Although typically pseudonyms do not contain personally identifying information, communication that is based on pseudonyms is often not classified as "anonymous", but as "pseudonymous" instead. Indeed, in some contexts, anonymity and pseudonymity are separate concepts.
However, in other contexts what matters is that both anonymity and pseudonymity are concepts that are, among other things, concerned with hiding a person's legal identity. In such contexts people may not distinguish between anonymity and pseudonymity.
The entertainment industry
Theater and movie actors, musicians, and other entertainers, often adopt a "stage name". Usually this occurs when a person's name is considered unattractive, dull, or difficult to pronounce. Thus, actor Archibald Alexander Leach was changed by the film industry into Cary Grant. Other times, names are anglicized to mask ethnicity or nationality. For example, Frederick Austerlitz became Fred Astaire, Bernard Schwartz was changed to Tony Curtis, and Charles Dennis Buchinsky was shortened to Charles Bronson.
Adult video performers
It is rare for anyone working in the pornography and spanking video industries – in front of or behind the camera – to use their real names. Most prefer the anonymity of an alias. Mainstream television actress Jaimee Foxworth performed in ten X-rated films using the name Crave. Other adult performers create catchy, sometimes humorous, screen names for themselves such as Lotta Top, Candy Barr, Ginger Snaps, Candy Cane, and Dita Von Teese.
Spanking actress Niki Flynn (real name unknown) took her screen name from "Nicki Brand", the character played by Deborah Harry who becomes a video dominatrix in Videodrome (1983). Flynn, now retired from acting, writes spanking stories under the nom de plume Fiona Locke. Snow Mercy, a pun on the phrase "no mercy" is a regular cast member in the My Spanking Roommate video series. The alias for dominatrix performer Alexis Payne (aka Alexis Reid, Alexis Paine, Carolyn Alexis Payne) is a variant on "pain". The domineering Belinda Clark usually appears in fetish films as Mistress Gemini.
Performers in adult videos often use multiple aliases, especially when they appear in different film genres. For example, spanking/BDSM actress Greta Carlson made pornographic films as Allison Brach, Barbi, and Leita. She also appeared in a few mainstream B-movies under the name Sherri Graham. Desi D'Angelo, who made dozens of videos for House of Milan and London Enterprises, also did a few mainstream films billed as Jasae.
- "Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority."
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