OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform where people can sell their intimate photos and videos for a price. But how big is the cost? Is this website another step in the direction of women taking back their bodies and as a result, earning money? Or is it a modern-day version of women selling their bodies for money to the patriarchy?
How it works
One of the things that made OnlyFans so popular was its ability to reach a wide audience. Its easy accessibility allows anyone to create an account and become a content creator. Therefore, being so user friendly, one becomes desirous of the idea that being rich and famous could be instantaneous. Once you create an account you can then begin to upload photos and videos that capture the attention of your audience through one of the most intimate and private aspects of yourself, your body. Eventually you will gain a following and start bringing in an income, simply for appealing to your audience. This idea that you can make a substantial amount of money through intimate photos of yourself sounds too good to be true. Here are the realities of starting an OnlyFans that no one talks about.
Some women, who have become content creators on OnlyFans, have said having their intimate photos praised by their followers on the platform has helped alleviate or even resolve low self-esteem. In that example, OnlyFans is perceived as taking back power from the patriarchy and owning one’s womanhood through this type of bodily use.
All OnlyFans content is copyrighted by the photographer, which means the content produced by the creator is personally owned. OnlyFans claims to watermark your content which places a custom signature on your content and will deter people from stealing and reuploading your content on different platforms. OnlyFans will also make your account private to help regulate what people can and cannot see. OnlyFans created a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) team that is accessible to all content creators to help flag and identify copyright issues. The team works to flag and remove copyright issues to help give creators a peace of mind about their content.
OnlyFans is extremely glamorized by the public. There is a universal idea about OnlyFans that if you post content, you will make quick money. Whether it’s a bikini photo, a picture of your bra strap, or a photo of your new pedicure, the idea is there will always be a positive cash flow because content is being created. What people fail to realize are the contingencies that come with having yourself associated with OnlyFans.
For instance, a majority of people on OnlyFans actually make less than $145 a month. A simple photo of you in a bikini won’t bring in big money. Rather, you need to have a moderately sized following and lots of marketing to actually bring in constant and healthy revenue on OnlyFans. With a content creating account, comes having to pay taxes on any income you derive from being a content creator on OnlyFans. Having an OnlyFans account requires you to pay income tax and self-employment tax on your net income. So, in other words, on top of your regular income tax, you also must pay self-employment tax which is a minimum 15.3% of your income. Self-employment tax is something people often don’t realize will make their tax bills higher than if they had a normal desk job. Also, there is a possibility it will be harder to find a regular job (9-5) after leaving OnlyFans because many workplaces find OnlyFans unprofessional. This is due to the fact that sex work is still very stigmatized in the workplace despite the fact that social media platforms have normalized a person owning and monetizing their sexual images.
The legal side
There are a lot of legal questions that arise with the idea that women are able to legally sell the most intimate parts of their bodies to the public for a price.
What happens if someone takes a photo or video from a woman who uploaded their content onto OnlyFans and used it in a defamatory way?
In California, leaking someone’s copyrighted OnlyFans content can result in a misdemeanor, face up to six months in jail, and possibly a fine up to $1000 if the content is distributed. But, to convict someone of stealing their OnlyFans content, the content creator must be sure of who leaked it. Finding the source can be difficult. Once the content is leaked to the public, it spreads onto multiple platforms from many different sources. Also, the content creator must be able to prove financial loss and ownership due to people illegally finding their content rather than paying for it on the OnlyFans Platform. Despite there being penalities for distributing OnlyFans’ exclusive content, there is no penalty for screenshotting it as long as this perpetrator is not planning to sell or distribute the content. This means people can save and store your content forever even if you delete your account. The fact that customers can save your content without your consent is definitely a reality you must be okay with before creating an OnlyFans. Your your content will never truly be gone.
What if someone creates an OnlyFans account claiming a false identity?
Impersonations seem to be a growing issue on OnlyFans as the site gains popularity. If someone creates an OnlyFans account impersonating another person, it can be reported to OnlyFans, or it can be reported to the police. The creator must then provide a government issued ID to prove their identity. Once their identity is proven the fake account will be taken down and the police will try their best to track down the impersonator and penalize them.
OnlyFans can be seen as the next step in the feminist movement because a woman on this platform can show confidence in utilizing her body in the way she sees fit – to control the images for monetization. However, it can also be seen as a step back in the feminist movement such that a woman is monetizing her body rather than using other resources and/or tools for monetization. There are positives and negatives to joining OnlyFans: it could allow you to never work a day in your life again if you become successful, or it could prohibit you from ever getting a job again if your regular job finds out and does not support its employees in creating an OnlyFans account. Nevertheless, OnlyFans is on the rise to becoming one of the biggest influences in the way society views sexuality and intimacy. Only time will tell whether OnlyFans’ influence on society is a good or bad thing.
Contact us if you have any legal questions regarding your own OnlyFans account, or you can listen to our podcast where we talk to an OnlyFans content creator to discuss her viewpoint of the platform.