Opinion | OnlyFans announcement exposes creator economy fantasy

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Photo Courtesy of Only Fans

The “OnlyFans” logo is pictured above. “OnlyFans” has provided an outlet for people to post photos of themselves.

By Dennis Austin, Senior Columnist

On Aug. 20, news broke that OnlyFans would be banning explicit sexual content from its platform in October. Following outrage from their base of fans and content creators, they reversed their decision. 

The initial announcement sent shockwaves across social media, with comparisons made to Tumblr’s similar decision in barring sexual content in 2018. This decision — made by the London-based company — led to many sex workers wondering what would happen to them. 

It is simple. Many of these creators should have never created an OnlyFans account to begin with. 

According to data, the average OnlyFans creator takes home $180 per month, which calculates to a little over $2,000 per year. What OnlyFans has done, like most internet sensations, is create a sense of falsehoods in its creators. Only 1% of its creators account for 33% of profit, and 10% of creators account for 70% of the profit. 

To put it bluntly, many of your wannabe, fantasizing sex workers would be better off working at McDonald’s, where, according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a crew member is a little over $23,000. 

Statistically speaking, a few creators only seek considerable profit, meaning that for most users, they would only bring in minimal profit. When looking at megastars on the site — such as movie star Bella Thorne or other famous sex workers — keep in mind that these people already had a built-in audience from other platforms. Thus, earning an obscene amount of profit is not out of the ordinary. 

This is not the reality for your average user on this site. 

For many of them, they do not have the resources or skills to market their products. It’s comparable to people who seek to achieve internet fame by becoming a YouTuber. Not saying it is impossible, and certainly there are stories of creators who have amassed a great amount of wealth by having a YouTube account, but that is the exception and certainly not the norm. 

What this OnlyFans news has shown us is that there is no quick fix to economic independence. 

Brutally speaking, opening an OnlyFans account requires little to no skill at all. Flashing full-frontal nudity online is a skill-less endeavor and certainly does not require the intellectual capacity it would require in an occupation — such as in medicine or engineering — where there does require a benchmark of strong intellectual readiness: A monkey could turn on a camera. 

I do concede that it does require a great degree of skill to successfully market yourself online, be it YouTube or OnlyFans. Keeping up to date on trends, being aware of changing social landscapes, are all tenets of a successful internet business and explains why sex workers on these platforms have had their success. 

Lacking these skills and not having the business savvy in seeking out a dependable consumer base will result in a failed internet presence. 

As disastrous as this may be for the OnlyFans creator who has ten subscribers, fear not: Learn a skill, return to college, seek a long-term career that guarantees a good salary and life/work balance. Being an internet star is not meant for all of us, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

One other issue this OnlyFans debacle disclosed is the laziness of particular people: Individuals willing to turn on a camera and pleasure themselves instead of seeking out other opportunities that will require them to put in effort in other areas of work. 

Easy and fast money is not always good money and tells us what happens when people are not prepared to handle the collapse of an industry, which admittedly, is volatile given the social stigma surrounding sex workers and pornography. 

The OnlyFans bubble, at some point, will burst, and unfortunately for many of its creators, their delusions of grandeur will soon confront realism.

Dennis is a senior in LAS.

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