OnlyFans: The porn industry is changing, and womxn are taking control

By Olivia Stringer

One of the world’s most popular porn sites, Pornhub has been under immense fire recently after it emerged that videos containing abuse of womxn and minors were very slow to be removed from the site. 

This has caused many people to boycott Pornhub and a petition to permanently shut down the website and have its executives held accountable for aiding trafficking has received over a million signatures. Journalists at Vice have criticised Pornhub for profiting from “content that’s destroyed lives, and continues to do harm”. Thus, people are turning to alternative ways of accessing more ethical pornographic content. 

Is OnlyFans a revolution for the industry? 

One site which is quickly becoming a favourite for porn users is OnlyFans, the subscription based social media platform which asks users to pay a monthly fee to access the accounts of each creator they want to follow. Launched in 2016, the site now has 24 million registered users and is mainly used by amateur pornographic models.  

Unlike sites like Pornhub, OnlyFans allows its users to be completely in control of their bodies and their incomes, and creators can decide how much they want to charge people for subscriptions. Earners can also receive tips from subscribers as well as extra money for more personalised content. Moreover, creators can choose to post whatever they want and are under no obligation to do things which they feel uncomfortable with.  

It is empowering to see that the people who appear in OnlyFans content are the ones who are profiting off it, making OnlyFans far more ethical than traditional porn sites where producers pressure womxn into signing contracts which give them no ownership over the videos they appear in.  

Owning your sexuality 

When asked why she made the decision to start an OnlyFans account, 21-year-old student Katie said that she felt that men had taken advantage of her in the past by using her for explicit pictures and videos. OnlyFans was a way to control that, whilst also allowing her to make a bit of extra cash. 

“If they want to see it that desperately, they can pay for it!”, she said. Katie now makes a few thousand pounds a month from her account. However, a BBC Three documentary released in April revealed that some of the UK’s top earners on OnlyFans can receive up to 40K a month from their subscribers.  

“I like it because it’s a way to own my sexuality. I’ve always been an advocate for people, especially girls being able to do whatever they want with their bodies,” Katie told me.  

The ability to chat with content creators directly and ask for personalised pictures and videos makes OnlyFans extremely attractive to users as it feels more real than conventional porn.  

When asked if she ever feels pressured to post content that she does not feel comfortable with Katie told me, “I find people are quite respectful of boundaries. People generally ask if what they want me to do is Ok, and if I’m sure I’m OK sending it.” 

Perhaps because of its more personal nature, users are more respectful of the models, because they are able to see them as real womxn.  

With the coronavirus pandemic leaving many sex workers out of their traditional work, OnlyFans has also helped to provide a way for them to create socially distanced content, so that they are still able to earn during lockdown. 

The downsides of OnlyFans 

However, although the site appears to be an easy and attractive way for womxn to make money, OnlyFans is far from perfect. In order to prevent underage users or fake accounts from using the site, creators have to provide a picture of themselves holding photo ID before their account is verified. Despite this, underage users still manage to cheat the system by using older siblings/friends’ IDs. Thus, OnlyFans needs to take further steps to prevent minors from gaining access to its site.  

Additionally, Katie also stated that sometimes users have taken advantage of her by asking for personalised content and then refusing to pay her or by groups of friends sharing one subscription between them. She feels that this can take a lot of the fun out of the experience.  

Taking control 

Womxn are beginning to take advantage of what they can gain by taking control of their own sexuality.  In January 2020, a womxn who calls herself the Naked Philanthropist took the capitalisation of her body to the next level by sending nudes to anyone who donated ten dollars to help stop the Australian bushfires. The Naked Philanthropist raised over a million dollars for the cause and gave ‘ethical porn’ a whole new definition.  

It is empowering to see women taking control of the sex industry after thousands of years of it being dominated by the wants and needs of men. Although OnlyFans is not without fault and still has steps to take to ensure that its content is completely ethical, it is a massive step forward for womxn wanting to take control of the capitalisation of their own bodies.  

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