OnlyFans and the Changing Face of Pornography

Originally published at: https://quillette.com/2020/11/19/onlyfans-and-the-changing-face-of-pornography/

Late last week, I warily opened the latest article to be written about OnlyFans, a platform that allows creators to monetise social media posts behind a paywall. I began using the site back in 2017 when it was still in its infancy, and when no one outside the freelance modelling community was talking about it.…

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Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

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If some of them are young and impressionable, or perhaps have never had a girlfriend of their own, their interactions with me, however limited, can help to teach them a bit about what they’d value in a partner.

Oh, dear.

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More significantly, just because you are paid for it doesn’t mean you should. But neither does the fact that you take payment for it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t – either do it or take payment for it.

This is the border zone of libertarian thinking. A woman who will take, shall we suggest, $50 dollars for a fuck, is a whore, but a lady who will seduce a billionaire and accompany him to Davos is what? A fine lady, no doubt!

The boundaries of “consent”, “potential harm” and negotiating power are tricky. On the face,this seems like a good, relatively freeing business model, in which the artist is offering a product, more nearly directly to the customer, as compared to a model with ‘agents’, ‘brokers’, or ‘pimps’ who have some power to negotiate their percentage, but more importantly than their percentage, effectively conclude to control the business model.

This is a concept we don’t always recognize in talking about “monopoly.” It isn’t always so much about the monopolist’s power to “dictate the prices”, but about the “business model” under which the ‘commodities’ are defined, and the ‘customers’ are allowed to bargain. It is the power to define the product, and permit the customer.

On the face, writer’s view is reasonable.

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Model Mayhem kinda sorta ended up like that as well.

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I have no desire to chastise the author for how she makes her money. Why should I? She’s not a gangster, or someone who sells crack to kids. There are lawyers and motivational speakers who do worse. George Soros made his money in a far, far more despicable way.
Also, the main platform for actual prostitutes is Instagram: those models don’t end up on a luxury yacht in the Emirates by kind fate.

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I’d go a different direction here.

You’re attempting to demonstrate that there are convoluted ways in which these women are being taken advantage of that they don’t see. I disagree. Not about whether they are (or can be) harmed, but about who’s responsible. They are definitely responsible for their behavior, and the answer is not to invent a rationale for saying they shouldn’t have the right to do what they’re doing.

No, the answer is to understand what I wrote in my short, yet meaningful comment:

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Whether you should or shouldn’t be allowed to do something is not the be-all and end-all of whether it’s a good idea. What is legal is not necessarily moral. What is legal is not necessarily smart.

I don’t think people should be legally prevented from eating a gallon of ice cream every day, but that’s not because I think that eating a gallon of ice cream every day is a good idea.

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This isn’t any sort of border-zone. Straight up prostitution rests comfortably within the framework of libertarian thought and ethics. It doesn’t even present any tricky internal paradoxes.

So much less so a subscription site for tame, self-produced pornography, with a business model lacking even the potential for any sort of de-facto coercive mechanism. The content producers are under no obligation to keep producing, the subscribers are under no obligation to keep subscribing, and there are no middle-men or rent-seeking third party interests.

You keep qualifying with “On the face…”. Do you have some reason to think there’s another level?

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We are making a generation of wankers, so that we will have no children and have to import more foreigners to support us with their tax doallr as we sink in a dotage sans any family but the State.

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I knew a guy who was totally in love with this cosplayer. He claimed to understand that he knew he was just one of a million but the way he spoke about her was as though they were a real couple.

He was also in love with a fictional character from DC comics, Black Canary. He claimed to understand she was fictional, but again, he did not act like he understood that she was fictional. There are some wierd people out there. I dont think the performer/fan dynamic is always as healthy as she makes it sound.

Anyways the article is right that at least it’s a step up from traditional porn, for the performers.

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Oh golly, look here, honey! It says some men like watching naked ladies so much they’ll pay for it. And some ladies like stripping so much 'cause it makes them a lot of money.

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Gets them a lot of attention too.

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One thing that did make me sad about this article is just how absolutely fake everything is nowadays. For example, the author mentions how she and a client watched a movie “together” “as friends”. Not really, after the movie, he is expected to be a paying client, she is expected to be a fantasy service. They don’t get to know the “real person” only an avatar. The “realness” is just an illusion of something real. The connection isn’t real, it’s purely digital. Digital likes, digital friends, fake news prompting you to have this or that emotion like an emotion machine, prepackaged identities in identity politics etc. You buy a Nike shirt so you get to be a walking billboard for Nike etc.

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Remember it’s nothing personal.

This is one of the saddest things I’ve read. A hooker and stripper (let us be honest) is defending herself and her fellow hookers and strippers from the awful charge of… not being Socialist enough.

First, what she is, is very sad. This “model”'s parents must be proud.

Second, it is sadder some idiot thinks the really bad thing about a web site where strippers and hookers advertise their wares is… that some of them make more money than others. What could the reason for that possibly be? :thinking: probably racism or late capitalism.

Third, it is saddest that the hooker finds it important to defend herself and her co-workers from the feminist’s charge. Both agree the only thing possibly wrong with a web site where thousands of women sell their bodies is that it might not be socialistic enough, or that some psychologist might disapprove of the effect on the “clients” or “workers.”

At least the author is more honest than the feminist. She is quite clear she’s selling her body for the money. The feminist outraged at the economic inequality between the “performers” is dishonest. It seem obvious the real reason for her outrage is pure envy. She knows nobody would ever pay a dime to see her “perform,” and that is why she’s against it.

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Perhaps not. But that’s more for her parents to decide than us.

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Despite having no modelling experience at all, she is now one of the site’s top 0.3 percent of earners. She didn’t win a lottery; she merely entertained so many people, and did it so well, that she’s reaping the rewards, which include her own house.

When so many topics have become so disputed by now, even the weather, that you can’t talk about with almost anyone, it’s fortunate that sex remains. I understand this. And it can be pleasant, I agree. So, I don’t want to put the shame on you, Ariel. No offense intended. I selected one of your kind lines just for the fun.
Are you really sure this young and gorgeous person didn’t win the life lottery? The meritocracy, here, is not entirely her own, is it?

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The point is that what she is doing is shameful. This remains so whatever her parents actually think. But I am willing to bet they are mortified, both at what she does and at their own failure of raising her.

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Well, there goes my diet.

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