OnlyFans Isn’t A Safe Platform for “Sex Work.” It’s A Pimp.
(Link) OnlyFans Isn’t A Safe Platform for “Sex Work.” It’s A Pimp. – New York Times
Sept 6, 2021
By Catharine A. MacKinnon
We are living in the world pornography has made. For more than three decades, researchers have documented that it desensitizes consumers to violence and spreads rape myths and other lies about women’s sexuality.
In doing so, it normalizes itself, becoming ever more pervasive, intrusive and dangerous, surrounding us ever more intimately, grooming the culture so that it becomes hard even to recognize its harms.
One measure of this success is the media’s increasing insistence on referring to people used in prostitution and pornography as “sex workers.”
What is being done to them is neither sex, in the sense of intimacy and mutuality, nor work, in the sense of productivity and dignity.
Survivors of prostitution consider it “serial rape,” so they regard the term “sex work” as gaslighting. “When the ‘job’ of prostitution is exposed, any similarity to legitimate work is shattered,” write two survivors, Evelina Giobbe and Vednita Carter.
“Put simply, whether you’re a ‘high-class’ call girl or a street walkin’ ho, when you’re on a ‘date’ you gotta get on your knees or lay on your back and let that man use your body any way he wants to. That’s what he pays for. Pretending prostitution is a job like any other job would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.”
“Sex work” implies that prostituted people really want to do what they have virtually no choice in doing.
That their poverty, homelessness, prior sexual abuse as children, subjection to racism, exclusion from gainful occupations or unequal pay plays no role.
That they are who the pornography says they are, valuable only for use in it.
Pornography’s power became clear once again last month, when OnlyFans, the London-based subscription service, announced that it would ban the “sexually explicit” from its platform, before abruptly reversing course amid criticism.
…According to the A.C.L.U., a longtime defender of pornography, “When tech platforms like OnlyFans see themselves as arbiters of acceptable cyber speech and activity, they stigmatize sex work, making workers less safe.”
On the contrary, it is the sex industry that makes women unsafe.
Legitimizing sexual abuse as a job makes webcamming sites like OnlyFans particularly seductive to the economically strapped.
…Though OnlyFans said its motive for the now-retracted ban was to comply with the policies of credit card companies that process payments on the platform, there is some reason to think that the platform was trying to get ahead of its Pornhub moment [article on New York Times site], in which the possible conditions of its girlfriend fantasy — youth, diminished agency and destitution among them — might be exposed.
Allegations have already been made of inadequate screening for incest, bestiality and child sexual abuse.
…There is no way to know whether pimps and traffickers are recruiting the unwary or vulnerable or desperate or coercing them offscreen and confiscating or skimming the proceeds, as is typical in the sex industry. OnlyFans takes 20 percent of any pay, its pimp’s cut.
…Equally missing in the conversation is any concern for people who have been forced, pimped or deceived or had their intimate pictures stolen.
Much of the commentary on OnlyFans’s once-proposed rule wails that the consumer should have the right to buy what the producer should have the right to sell.
Meanwhile, the coerced, violated, exploited and surveilled have no effective rights against being bought and sold against their will.