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How OnlyFans can change the debate on the female body in Italy

Two content creators detail to nss magazine their experience on the social media

How OnlyFans can change the debate on the female body in Italy  Two content creators detail to nss magazine their experience on the social media
@bbadapple
@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw
@bbadapple
@bbadapple
@bbadapple
@bbadapple
@bbadapple

Among the websites that became popular during the lockdown months, OnlyFans is the one that sparked the most heated debate. As controversial as it is, OnlyFans' success bears witness to an important evolution: the social network had the merit of normalizing and bringing the conversation about porn into the mainstream, both in terms of how it is created and how it is consumed. As the everlasting discussion about Pornhub, its responsibilities and the role it continues to play in the representation of sex goes on, OnlyFans puts the "power" in the hands of creators, free to show what they want, when they want, and at the price they want, finally giving a voice to those who have never had one in the sector. 

As expected, the perception of the platform was not unique, but on the contrary, it immediately caused a clear division, between those who think it is the last remaining feminist bulwark, capable of making women regain their power, and those instead who see it as yet another commercialization of the woman's body. In Italy, in particular, the debate was very limited, further proof of the mental closure and cultural backwardness of our country, especially when it comes to sex, women and pornography, and has already demonstrated in the revenge porn cases and in the male chauvinists' reactions and comments to highly questionable seduction courses. For this reason, nss magazine has decided to speak with two Italian content creators, @bbadapple and @vicky.ohw, to find out what it really means to work on OnlyFans. 

I don't believe much in the concept of feminism as it has been exploited by the industry in recent years, but I don't to get into it. It's wrong to think that creators are only women but it's clear that in most cases the world of sex working is affected by a sexist mentality that pours all its violence on women. It is necessary to re-educate to respect and non-violence and at the same time to give rights to this category of workers to make sure that everything becomes as safe as possible. In the same way, speaking of commodification leads erroneously to think that control and power are once again in the hands of those who use the service. This is why I believe there is a clear difference between commodification and the use of one's resources for profit: every sex worker must be master of themselves and their business, @bbdapple told nss magazine. 

@bbadapple
@bbadapple
@bbadapple
@bbadapple
@bbadapple
@bbadapple

The debate on the legitimacy of OnlyFans is part of a broader picture, in a society, here in Italy, that fails to open an honest conversation not only about sex but about the business that revolves around it, and again, about the role that women may have in this industry. If the common perception is that OnlyFans is a form of legalized pornography, isn't it always a better platform than others, first of all, PornHub, which fail in protecting their workers and that in general give a distorted image of women's role in sexual intercourse? From a mental point of view, we still struggle to accept that a person, even more so if a woman, can decide to sell her naked pictures, her intimate videos, for pure profit, seeing it as a job, or at least a side business. 

I really consider it a job like any other, which allows me to afford my lifestyle without giving up some extras and at the same time ensure necessary expenses (eg medical). [...] I can say that I earn more than what I expected. In addition to the standard memberships, I sell extra services, private treats, just about anything. I like to personalize videos and sell them to individuals. The prices are diversified according to the request and the presence of other people besides me. I have a fairly varied tip-menu, which I believe is competitive in terms of pricing. Many offer less than what I ask,because they don't know what I'm risking, I'm willing to negotiate but up to a certain point, continues @bbadapple. 

@ohwvicky is very vocal on her work on OnlyFans: 

I have always been a woman who likes to show off and for the last 4 years I have been showing my body and personality on Instagram without making any profit out of it. I started working on my Onlyfans page at the end of March, during the lockdown, creating and selling content on this paid platform to monetize the time spent building loyalty and cultivating the interest of my users. From March until today my profile has earned 36672.83 US dollars of which I have collected, after the 20% fee withheld by the site, in total 29338.26. Considering the exchange rate we are talking about 24848 euros, obviously subject to Italian taxation, the state in which I live and in which I am the holder of a VAT number. 

@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw
@vicky.ohw

The nature of the platform itself, where each creator has a profile with private content that can be accessed through a paid monthly subscription, as well as premium content that requires an extra fee, protects creators financially and strengthens the loyalty of their own fan base, without resorting to partnerships and external sponsorships. 

Among the most popular categories, there are undoubtedly bj, cumshots and any type of request that includes a second person. They want to see me undress, play sports, play with my boyfriend. The most purchased video was one of me squirting. Many prefer that I do what I want, that I amaze them, without making specific requests. Others just want to talk, exchange impressions or feelings. While others want me to watch them masturbate, @bbadapple says. 

It's clear that it's almost impossible to find a meeting point between very polarized opinions on a phenomenon like that of OnlyFans. Many are not ready to refer to these creators as sex workers, while they will find it much easier to call them 'whores' and 'sluts'. It doesn't take much to imagine the outraged posts - of men and women - that at the next discovery of a Telegram chat or at the leak of an intimate photo from OnlyFans will return saying "She called for it, she knew what she was in for", de-legitimizing what is actually a job. Or again, those who hit on those same creators on IG and that can't come to terms with rejection, precisely because having such a profile definitely means that they're easy girls. In general, it is very difficult to understand that a woman - who perhaps calls herself a feminist - can voluntarily decide to sell her photos, as if the two things were antithetical. This type of limited vision has very little to do with the Catholic heritage of our country but is instead connected to the family and social sphere in which many people grow up, regardless of gender. 

Opening a debate on these topics means having the feeling of being in front of a wall and that apart from a few "enlightened" realities (Milan is not yet in its entirety) it will take a long, long time before the combination sex + women become the norm, and no longer the exception to the rule. OnlyFans can be the first step in the right direction.