Words by: Coby Renkin Art by: Carla J. Romano
I can’t say I consider myself an expert on Only Fans, the mechanics of a straight, cis man’s brain, nor do I claim to speak for all women in the world. I do however consider myself, with a whole lot of confidence, a feminist, with lived experience as a woman and a slight social media addiction.
The unfortunate reality of these three facts is that I have been both subject to and an observer of the expectations of women under the male gaze.
While I, and I’m sure many other women, would love to make some sort of commission from the men who show us unwanted attention or carry a certain expectation in regard to the way we present ourselves to the world — let’s be real, it’s probably a bit far-fetched.
But welcome to the twenty-first century, now there are women who have done the next best thing. From Only Fans to raunchy Instagrams and everything in between, there are women profiting off the male gaze. And if you’ve been exposed to these creators’ platforms then you’ve also been exposed to the hate, threats and abuse that they receive on a daily basis.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, then I’m sorry, but you’re not paying very close attention. What you’ll notice when you do, is that most of this hate is from men.
Interestingly enough, it’s the men that follow, subscribe to, or at least give the odd stalk to, these female creators.
The core of the issue here is that these are men who clearly are interested in the content that women produce, yet they actively go out of their way to put them down for it. Double standards? Hypocrisy? Just plain misogyny? Whichever one springs to mind first, bingo.
The reality is that while we have come a long way, so many men still, (maybe without even realising it) subscribe to the notion that women owe their body, their appearance and their sexuality to men. So, when women don’t ‘pay up’ and instead, they get paid, these men get mad about it. Women are taking control of the narrative and put simply, men don’t know how to read that book.
If you’re insecure, just say that. Because I’ll bet you anything that commenting on Anna Paul’s photo and calling her a slut isn’t achieving what you’d hoped, nobody’s buying into your bullshit. Anna is simply too busy driving her custom-wrapped BMW and riding up and down her in-home elevator to worry about you and your misspelled, derogatory comments.
I don’t have the answers, and this feels more like a rant than anything else, but I think it’s an important conversation to have. Because while we’d like to think it’s just the Brandons and Chads of Instagram that perpetuate stereotypes around sex work, it’s also our friends and our families. We have a long way to go.
So, here is my completely non-expert but well intentioned opinion on the above:
- If the world of Only Fans or similar is not your world, still have the conversations, call out the crap and play an active role in dismantling a system that impacts every woman, sex worker or otherwise.
- If it is your world, or you think it might be, then fucking get it girl. Use what you’ve got and make some damn money. And when you do: charge premium, baby.