Back in September of 2019, the flames for the deadly Australian brushfires were sparked and have been burning ever since. Activists, celebrities, and everyday people have been rioting and campaigning all over social media about the devastating effects these fires are having on the lives of Australian natives as well as hundreds of animal species that have lost their homes in the blaze. The fires have also sparked (no pun intended) and continue to fuel the conversation about climate change and the danger our lack of action as people poses not only to Australia but the entire planet.
As the fires continue to be fought, many donation campaigns have started up in the hopes of raising money and awareness for the catastrophe. There’s a long list of celebrities that have donated large sums of money to the firefighting efforts, but one woman, in particular, has taken the internet by storm with her unprecedented methods. Her name is Kaylen Ward, otherwise known as the Naked Philanthropist (https://twitter.com/lilearthangelk), and as of January 7, she’s raised an estimated $1 million dollars for the cause by selling her nudes.
Yes, you read that right. On January 3rd, the LA-based influencer and sex worker tweeted that she would send nudes to everyone who dmed her with confirmation that they’d donated to any one of a list of fundraisers for the effort to fight the fires. Her offer blew up and hundreds of thousands of people have donated in exchange for Kaylen’s nudes. The backlash that followed her was almost as substantial as the funds that she raised. Her Instagram account was deleted for “violating guidelines,” and she was allegedly disowned by her family and the guy she was talking to at the time. Despite the backlash, however, Ward continued to shamelessly send out her nudes in exchange for donations, and her efforts have started up a beautiful conversation about the stigma society places around sex workers, especially when comparing her efforts to those of A-list celebrities.
For example, Kylie Jenner also has announced her pledge of $1 million dollars to relief-aid efforts, but an argument can be made that it’s not enough, since Kylie has recently made a name for herself as the world’s first self-made, female billionaire, making her $1 million donation equivalent to a mere 1% of her total net worth. Additionally, Jeff Bezos has come under fire for only pledging $690,000, which is not only significantly less than other celebrities but has also come out to be .00059% of his wealth. That’s right, the richest man alive has donated less money to the Australia fires than a woman selling her nudes on Twitter.
This has understandably resulted in outrage from the internet, and the Naked Philanthropist is revered as a modern-day hero, gaining hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, and it just goes to show the amount of respect that sex workers deserve. For as long as anyone can remember, the sex-work industry has been shamed, stigmatized, and degraded, especially for women, and yet it remains an incredibly lucrative career option. The fact of the industry’s profitability demonstrates a shocking double standard in which sex-workers are degraded, disowned and dehumanized, and yet there remains a fervent expectation that the services they provide remain available. People love to watch porn, but refuse to respect the people that provide it.
Ward has made a powerful statement, however inadvertently, with her naked philanthropy, proving that her work is not only valuable (according to the hundreds of thousands of people who donated), but also an innovative way to save the planet and do some real good. It’s clear that people will pay for nudes, so the money may as well go to a cause that will help better the human experience. Since her success with her fundraiser for Australia, Kaylen has tweeted out her offer again, this time to raise money for the earthquakes in Puerto Rico. She’s discovered a brilliant way to raise money that the top 1% refuses to give to people and causes that need it most, and has taken back her power, demanding respect for her career.
By shattering everyone’s expectations for what kind of person a sex-worker is, she has forced people to confront their toxic double standard. All this to say if you’re someone who likes to watch porn and asks for nudes but still refuses to acknowledge or respect the people that provide it for you, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Here’s a list of links you can donate to aid in the firefighting efforts:
Fundraiser for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund by Celeste Barber https://www.facebook.com/donate/1010958179269977/
Fire relief efforts for indigenous people: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fire-relief-fund-for-first-nations-communities?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet
Give basic necessities: http://www.givit.org.au/disasters
Donations for animals: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-thirsty-koalas-devastated-by-recent-fires
Support for rural communities: https://frrr.org.au/cb_pages/supporting_bushfire-affected_communities.php