Exploitation of women and children has been around since man roamed the earth. With the evolution of technology, advancements in medicine, exploration in space, smart phones, and smart cars we might have been fooled to believe man had evolved into a humane being. Apparently that isn’t the case. We care about frogs, dogs and global warming. But where do girls fit in in this world of exploitation via online sex, and publications like Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan? In a world where women in many places today have little or no rights, are frequently abused and used as a commodity, what are women supposed to do?
In 2016 Tim Stokely launched “OnlyFans” in the United Kingdom as another social media site but with a twist — members of Onlyfans can go behind a pay-per-view window (PPV) to view their favorite celebrity, model or members of the sex industry. Many OnlyFans members have instagram, Twitter and other social media sites. On some of these other social media sites young women have posed in very provocative lingerie. These same young women celebrate and encourage their followers to find them on OnlyFans once they turn 18 years old, which is the legal age to go behind the PPV private viewing.
OnlyFans followers can pay to see full body nudity and sexual acts. The New York Times calls OnlyFans “the paywall of porn.”
During the Covid pandemic the physical sex industry took a hit because of social distancing, which caused a huge ramp- up of PPV sexually explicit acts as a way to make money. There is big money in the sex industry. Anyone that has been on social media has seen images, videos and posts that were once exclusive to adult male magazines or secretly hidden behind closed doors. The sad reality is that it is affecting so many young girls and women who are hoping to cash in using these new platforms. This is exploitation of women for gain.
Big money in the sex industry has over the years pushed the envelop in the pop music industry. Former Mouseketeer Britney Spears left behind her wholesome Disney image to use sex appeal to gain popularity and become a major pop star. Every adolescent girl wanted a Britney doll, wanted to dress like Britney, dance like Britney; and adolescent boys had her posters on their bedroom walls. Britney took a page out of Madonna’s playbook but targeted a younger audience. Miley Cyrus took the trend even further beginning with her Wrecking Ball big hit. Then in 2019 the #MeToo movement was born (it evolved during the confirmation hearing of a supreme court justice). The mixed messaging continues with the marketing of sex towards a younger audience. Sexual assault and harassment allegations are on the rise showing no sign of slowing down because of this.
CEO Tim Stokely in May of 2020 saw an average of 200,000 new users per day. In April of 2020 subscriptions jumped 50% as a result of Beyoncé mentioning OnlyFans in a song. OnlyFans has a variety of users (besides members of the adult entertainment industry), from models to fitness trainers to actresses and celebrities like Blac Chna who charges $50 a month to access her page. And Actress Bella Thorne claims to have made more than $2 million on OnlyFans in one week.
There are so many examples of women being brutalized and exploited in the world, especially in the Middle East. Yazidi girls in Iraq have been captured and used as sex slaves. A young humanitarian American volunteer was captured by terrorist al-Baghdadi and forced into sex slavery. The “Grooming Rape Gangs” have operated in the United Kingdom since the late 1970’s, perpetrated by Pakistani migrants who target low income British white girls. In Sweden authorities tell women to dye their hair black so as not to draw the attention of migrant rape gangs. The Equality Act currently being debated in congress actually harms girls in women’s sports. Have we really evolved or has the battle for women’s rights fallen out of favor? Have the gains made by women, i.e., the right to work and a seat at the boardroom table, been for naught? Or have we failed to evolve at all with regards to women’s rights and mutual respect?
What is the affect of these internet sites on young girls? What is the message young girls are receiving in this era of exploitation? With the breakdown of the nuclear family, latchkey kids are often at home alone and unsupervised. These same kids are viewing Onlyfans! And, Hollywood has not helped by pushing the envelope, with movies that were once rated “Adult-only” now being rated PG-13. Our youth today, particularly girls, are at risk.
A few years ago I spoke to a female undercover officer who was posing as an online minor trying to catch pedophiles. She reported that adult men are posing as minors trying to entice young girls to meet and have sexual encounters. Where are the feminists calling out these internet sites like Onlyfans? As a social media user I have accidentally stumbled upon pornographic acts as I browsed sites like Twitter and Instagram which are accessible to minors. What are we teaching our most vulnerable and precious commodity?