OnlyFans: Selling Sexy
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OnlyFans: Selling Sexy
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that OnlyFans: Selling Sexy is a primer about the online site where subscribers pay content creators to see their pictures and videos and have a personal connection. It's been called "Instagram for porn" and celebrity involvement is compared to appearing in Playboy in decades past. In the short documentary, we meet a few creators who came from diverse backgrounds -- one young woman is a car mechanic, another had an office job, another was a comedian and adult film star. Two men, a model/fitness buff and an adult film actor, are also profiled. Across the board, the creators talk about how much money they make and hope to make -- they are considered entrepreneurs. Buttocks are seen in this short documentary, while breasts and genitals are blurred out. No sexual acts are shown, but they're mentioned (threesomes, for example). Much coarse and sexual language is used ("d--k," "f--k" "t--ties," "p---y," "ass," "whore," "boobs").
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What's the Story?
ONLYFANS: SELLING SEXY is a short documentary from ABC News that delves into the careers of a handful of content creators on the OnlyFans site. For a subscription price, fans see their nude photos and their sexual escapades, and they can direct message the creators to feel like they have a personal relationship. The platform was legitimized when celebrities mentioned it (Beyonce, in the song "Savage") or signed up for accounts (Cardi B, posting no nudes), but when former Disney Channel star Bella Thorne famously joined and made $1 million in just one day sex workers were incensed. She signed up to research a role, and faced claims of being a "sex work tourist."
Here, though, the focus is on the formerly unknown creators' experiences on the platform: the good (the money -- creators keep 80%), the bad (the insults, the desensitization to what they're exposing), and the practical (one creator says, "I always said I wanted to be social media famous. I wanted to be financially stable... right now, I'm just riding this wave until it's gone.").
Is It Any Good?
It's not news that people are willing to pay to see sex and nudity; the fascinating aspect of this five-year-old "Instagram of porn" is how much control the content creators have over their business. A year ago, most parents probably hadn't heard about OnlyFans, but when pop stars and a former Disney Channel star associated their names with a platform, people paid attention. The documentary does a cursory but decent job of covering the history and 2020 breakout of OnlyFans, and the five creators featured are clear that they earn good money and like being entrepreneurs who have to be their own CEO, CFO, marketing department, and talent.
The ABC News documentary is less than an hour long and doesn't dive deeply enough into the OnlyFans world. The five creators profiled are all successful adults, and most concede with a shrug that their boundaries keep moving to make more money. Another documentary, #Nudes4Sale from the BBC in 2020, paints a darker picture. Research conducted by the BBC looked at 7,728 profiles advertising "nudes4sale" or similar on various platforms, not just OnlyFans -- a third of Twitter profiles appeared to belong to an underage individual and many of those used OnlyFans to share their content. It would be illuminating for ABC News to follow up in a year to see how the platform and the creators have evolved.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about OnlyFans and the adult content industry. How is the adult content industry portrayed in OnlyFans: Selling Sexy?
What do the creators consider their personal boundaries? How are those tested? How do you anticipate their boundaries are different in real life than they are on OnlyFans?
- Premiere date: February 15, 2021
- Cast: Nikki Glaser, Bella Thorne, Donnell Rowlings
- Network: Hulu
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: April 11, 2022
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