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OnlyFans: Not Only X-Rated

In the first few months of the pandemic, many of us quickly realized that we would be bound to our homes for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, people everywhere began to get creative and pick up new hobbies that could be done from the comfort and safety of their homes. Some quarantine hobbies became so widespread that they began to go viral, I think at one point I saw at least one photo of someone’s homemade bread on my Instagram feed every day. Apart from learning to bake, another quarantine activity began to gain popularity, and even made its way into Beyonce’s verse on Meg Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix.” As Queen Bey predicted, “on that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans,” and her prediction couldn’t have been more correct. 

OnlyFans was created in London back in 2016, as an online content subscription service where creators can earn money from those who subscribe to the content they upload. The platform first became popular with sex workers, as it allowed them to post content that would have been flagged or removed on other, more mainstream social media platforms. Pornography, both amateur and professional are allowed on the site, and makes up most of the content that exists behind the paywall. OnlyFans provides a platform where sex workers can upload photos, videos, and even interact with subscribers through direct messages for a monthly fee. Although not all content on the site is for adult viewers, users must be 18 years of age or older with proof of a government issued ID to create an account and view any content on the platform.

The monthly subscriptions and tips paid by viewers, breakdown into the content creator receiving 80% of the fees, and the company itself receiving the remaining 20%. With these numbers, creators of all kinds began to see OnlyFans as a potential business opportunity. It became especially popular after many people lost their jobs or saw significant decline in business due to the pandemic. Content creators of all sorts began to dabble with OnlyFans and soon photographers, artists, musicians, and even social media influencers became some of the largest creators to join the platform. Though some did join the site to post adult content, there were many who didn’t. Some came to OnlyFans to share their writing, recipes, fitness tips, and more exclusive content they felt merited payment. 

With the growing appeal of OnlyFans, influencers and celebrities alike have been trying their hand at the popular website. Rapper Cardi B, model Black Chyna, and Youtuber Tana Mongeau, and are just a few of the big names to have begun posting content and gaining significant followings on the platform. Hip -hop artist Swae Lee also took to OnlyFans to promote his new music, giving those fans who subscribed an exclusive look at the new music video. Jen Wolfie, former chef and social media influencer, was able to successfully convert many of her Instagram followers into OnlyFans subscribers, enabling her to make a significant income from her content. Some have even used the platform to do charitable work, like 20- year- old American Kaylen Ward. In January of 2020, she raised over one million dollars on her OnlyFans platform to donate to the relief efforts during the wild bush fires that devastated much of Australia earlier this year. 

OnlyFans was designed with the purpose of becoming a platform for sex workers, but quarantine brought the creativity out of all of us and transformed the platform into a place with much more diversity than was ever intended. OnlyFans became a sustainable source of income for many creators and even saved some careers during the pandemic when many were left without work. The platform has a unique security protocol that protects creators and their content, making it impossible to screenshot or record content, and if a user is found doing so, their account is immediately removed from the site. OnlyFans makes sense for a lot of people looking to make money without leaving the house, in a secure, discrete way. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself on Demon Time soon enough. 

Gabrielle is a Campus Correspondent and Social Media Editor at Furman University's chapter of HerCampus. She is a senior Communication Studies and French double major who loves vintage clothes, a well-curated pinterest board, and being a part of the HerCampus community!
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