Don’t wank with your right hand and slut-shame with your left.

If OnlyFans creators are  victims of ‘slut shaming’, why aren’t the people who fund this lifestyle victims too?

In the year 2021, it could be assumed that the world is a more accepting place than it has been ever before, however it seems as though sex workers have been left behind in the path of acceptance.

Sex workers have been victims of ‘slut-shaming’ since before the phrase even existed, ‘slut-shaming’ could be recognised over the years by the derogatory language that is often attached to prostitution and sex workers, (“whore”, “slut”, “prossie”), or by society blatantly out-casting and placing shame on sex workers for their sources of income.

An investigation has revealed that sex workers are still targets of shame and harassment after years of work to fight the stigma held against them for their career choice.

The feminist movement has fought to protect both male and female sex workers over the years and believes that working in the sex industry is a valid job and deserves protection just like any other career.

OnlyFans is a new online platform, which was launched in 2016, and was built to empower sexual content creators, OnlyFans differs from other porn platforms as it allows for the sex workers using the platform to private message with their ‘fans’ which helps to create an intimate relationship between the creator and the consumer which hadn’t been done before.

The platform is safer than other porn websites as the creator has full control and consent to what they produce, and the platform gives them the option to simply block a subscriber if they are uncomfortable which lets the creator have the power to choose who their audience is.

Consent is always important when it comes to any sexual encounter both in real life and in the online world, OnlyFans is thought to be a safer platform for sex workers compared to websites like PornHub, which often get caught up in non-consensual leaked footage, which is often known as ‘revenge porn’.

However, OnlyFans has recently been bashed after the reality TV star, Stephen Bear leaked a sex tape of another TV reality star, Georgia Harrison on the site without her consent, which shows how easy it is for anyone to upload footage without their consent.

An online magazine Back Bench wrote, “OnlyFans has been commended as a progressive alternative to the notoriously toxic pornography industry”, as most porn sites are run by men and create content for men.

 

Due to the coronavirus outbreak sex workers have had to work from home like the rest of the globe, so it is now easier than ever before to find sexual content online.

Websites like PornHub and OnlyFans saw a huge rise in creators and subscribers when the World Health Organisation announced the pandemic, it is estimated that OnlyFans has had more than 500,000 content creators sign up to the website since March, Back Bench wrote.

On OnlyFans, subscribers can request certain content for a price, and subscribers even pay for a conversation, this is nicknamed the ‘girlfriend’ experience, where creators build a relationship with a subscriber and get rewards for remembering details like their birthdays, for example.

However, working on the website is not as easy as it may seem, as Sydney a 22-year-old (not her real name and age as she wished to remain anonymous) who is a bisexual woman stated, “(OnlyFans) is sometimes harder than a full-time job. You have to promote (your account) for hours each day and sometimes you’ll only get a small number of subscribers from it.”

‘Slut-shaming’ could be defined as the stigmatisation of a woman for engaging in sexually provocative behaviour – notice how it is the stigmatisation of a woman and not men too?

In the modern technological age, ‘Slut-Shaming’ can be found everywhere – in the comments of a woman’s bikini photo on Instagram, in the comments on YouTube, and in the comments on porn websites.

It could be assumed that if someone can comment on it, there is a chance of being shamed for it.

It is devastating to see how common it is for sex workers to be mistreated online, and if you were to scroll through the ‘OnlyFans’ hashtag on Twitter you will see thousands of posts.

Some have a ‘thirsty’ reply commented underneath and many having hateful comments suggesting that the creator is a ‘slut’ for their source of income.

However, this wouldn’t stop Sydney from encouraging someone to create an OnlyFans but “only if they are prepared to possibly receive unkind comments as it happens almost every day.”

Whilst speaking with Sydney, I was hit with the sad reality that the people who work for websites like OnlyFans are more times than not, hit with hateful comments just for their source of income as she spoke about how she gets hateful comments from “a lot of men who are not interested and for some reason feel the need to express the fact that they think we’re ugly.”

However, Phoebe (not her real name as she wished to remain anonymous) who shares her account with her girlfriend Sydney, suggested that there were some positive benefits from the job, “I feel a lot more confident both in myself and my body but also within my relationship.”

Shortly after speaking with Sydney and Phoebe I realised how often they were targeted, I reached out to people who had publicly shamed OnlyFans creators on the OnlyFans hashtag on Twitter.

I messaged five people who had left hateful comments and had placed shame onto the creators on Twitter, and all five of them ignored me.

Their lack of response made me question if the ‘hater’ had felt regretful about their comments, I quickly discovered that two out of the five had removed their hateful Tweets after my DM request.

After being ignored I reached out and spoke to a male creator, Daniel (not his real name as he wished to remain anonymous).

Daniel started creating content for OnlyFans in early August this year, after being in a lockdown in America and losing his full-time job.

Daniel thought that he would only make a little bit of money to help pay the bills, but when he got started “the money came in really quick, and a lot has changed actually, I make twice as much on OnlyFans than I did with my full time job in a month.”

Daniel spoke about his new income very openly with his family as he “thought it was important for those around me to be aware of how I was living, but my Dad is great he helps me with the taxes” he laughed as he spoke about typically a sensitive subject very light-heartedly.

However, it was not as easy as it first seemed and after a while, Daniel realised how often he would get negative comments, “I get a lot of comments calling me the ‘F slur’ which is always a bit sad but it’s on their backs, not mine. People instantly judge you no matter what when you say you run an OnlyFans. I think I have it a bit easier as a white man as I know a quite few girls who get it a lot worse with the horrible comments.”

It seemed as though it was common for OnlyFans creators to be shamed for their sexuality, as Sydney and Phoebe (a bisexual couple) stated that, “men do make comments on having threesomes with us and they ask a lot of questions about us sleeping with men in the past – for example, they’ll be like ‘oh do you not like dick?’ And we’re like well we’ve had sex with boys if that’s what you’re asking but we’re in a happy relationship right now.”

Whilst completing this investigation, it was impossible to find a subscriber of an OnlyFans anywhere.

I reached out to Twitter accounts who had interacted with OnlyFans tweets to see if they had been shamed for funding this lifestyle but every single one ignored me.

However, whilst I was researching the realities of the sex industry, I stumbled upon episode 104 of The Receipts Podcast which guest-starred, ‘Brandy’ (her stripper name not her real identity) who had previous work in a strip club and was currently escorting.

Brandy claimed that ‘slut-shaming’ and hateful comments don’t come from “the sex, because people do it every day, but it is the idea of a woman profiting from sex, and that a woman can charge for her body because men feel so entitled to sex that they get offended when we as women take control of ourselves.”

As time progresses, it is hoped that the taboos of sex work keep getting broken and that as a society we continue to accept sex workers for who they are and not what their jobs are.

An online magazine, The Focus stated that they believe “It’s time the internet got used to unapologetic women enjoying their own bodies and sexual desires.”

It is time that we as a society start to place the blame on the people who disagree with sex workers rather than shaming the people who are working hard for their money.

About the Author

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Morgan Fotheringham
Student journalist as London South Bank University.