Recently, I was scrolling through a Facebook group for girls that I'm part of when I saw a post from a girl debating starting an Only Fans account and asking for advice on whether she should do it.
*For anyone not aware, Only Fans is a app which as I understand it, lets you sell sexually suggestive or pornographic content to anyone willing to purchase.*
The majority of replies were from girls encouraging her to 'go for it' for a number of reasons. The reasons ranged from making loads of money, being 'empowering', body confidence and even 'making a good thing out of the pandemic.'
This got me thinking about how much society has changed over the years.
Not long ago at all, a topic like this was totally taboo, discouraged and barely even spoken about. Now though, it seems the majority think it's acceptable, if not admirable.
So, is only fans something you should do? And is it something that women should see empowering?
Put simply, in my opinion, no it's not. It's really not.
I often try to soften my opinions in order to not hurt anyone but I feel passionately about this. Apps like Only Fans are doing more harm to society than I could ever do with a simple opinion.
So if you do not agree with me so far, please continue reading this with an open mind and an open heart. I am not trying to judge and we are all different. However, I want to provide an alternative answer and approach to this question to give women a fair representation of what starting an account like this would mean, without glamourising it.
First of all, Only Fans may be empowering, but it is empowering for all the wrong reasons.
Nowadays, we live in a society that seems to repel from genuine hard work. People want a easy life (which is completely fine) but also want to keep up their image and "keep up with the Jones". This means that more than ever, people are attracted to get rich quick scheme. Unfortunately, there is no denying that some people have made a lot of money very quickly on Only Fans. So essentially, people may be attracted to an app like Only Fans simply because it is an easy way of making money.
But the problem is, content shared on that platform will NEVER disappear.
It may be a good idea now and you may just make a bit of money, but how you view yourself in the long term is so much more important than money will ever be.
As humans, naturally we are constantly changing.
I am a completely different person than I was 5 years ago and you will be too. You may feel fully grown up now but believe me, we aren't done growing until we aren't here anymore. Luckily most of the mistakes we make in our life are things that will help us learn and change, we can forget about it and move on.
But a mistake like putting content on Only Fans will not just disappear. It will be there for life, through all stages of your life. One day you may have children who will see it, managers who will see it or even your own employees!
You have no idea where your life could go and by putting pornographic content of yourself on the internet is the easiest way to shut a million doors for the rest of your life.
Then you have to consider the mental health effects of a decision like this.
I'm sure we can all think back to years ago where we said or did something that makes us cringe now. I still toss and turn at night about certain decisions I've made!
Making a decision that is glued to the internet is something you can never get away from and the mental health implications of that could be catastrophic. So, just because you think it is a good idea now, doesn't mean you are not gambling with your own future mental health.
When did sharing exposing pictures of ourselves ever even become thought of as empowering anyway?!
Nowadays, people have platforms on social media dedicated to body confidence where they constantly share the same message of "loving yourself" but pair it will more and more sexually suggestive poses. Is this where the line of being more body confident and making pornographic content has originated from?
I see far too many Instagram profiles that put the focus of their account on body confidence. However, if you look at the comments, they are attracting a male audience, not a female one. They claim they are doing to empower other women, but it seems the majority of people benefitting are men.
So, is the truth that some people are using body confidence as a front to attract a following and money no matter where it comes from? The result of this is that younger or more vulnerable girls who aren't thinking critically may believe that's what they HAVE to do to love your body.
You don't have to share pictures of yourself showing off skin to love yourself.
Covering up does not make you less body confident.
Look, as a woman I know that we have days, months or even years where we pick our looks apart and feel like we don't like anything about the way we look.
But at the end of the day, the answer doesn't lie in loving our bodies, it lies in loving ourselves and understanding that our body is merely a vessel for us to live in. Our bodies are to be respected and held with dignity, but at the same time understood that we have so much more to offer the world than just what we look like.
The girls on the internet encouraging you to 'just go for it', don't know you.
They won't be around to see you fall so it takes very little for them to suggest it's a good idea - it doesn't effect them!
Please make this decision for yourself.
Don't sell your dignity, gamble your mental health or create a portfolio of explicit pictures of yourself that will last a life time... just to make a bit of money!
It is simply not worth it.
As women, we all need to care more about reversing this rhetoric of exposing ourselves in the name of empowerment. Lets empower our minds instead and find joy in the wholesomeness which we seem to have strayed so far away from in our society.