When I heard the story about the suburban mom whose kids were kicked out of their Catholic school, because it was discovered that she “models” for OnlyFans, I was livid. Why are women canceled for consenting to sex work? It's her body. It’s her life. Who are you to tell her how to use her sexuality? What right does someone else have to impose that right onto someone else? Or to take it away from her? Or to punish her for it? Or worse yet, punish her children for it? How utterly tragic and traumatic to take away her autonomy.
According to People, among other sources, Crystal Jackson says her explicit photos were leaked to the school her three sons attend, who are now kicked out. She claims to be making 150K in revenue a month. But she had to pay a social consequence for her job. (Then again, I am aware of the possibility that sharing this controversy could be a way for Jackson to garner more publicity, but for the sake of this rant, I am taking it at face value.)
Choose Sex Education Over Repression of Women’s Autonomy
While some articles refer to Jackson as a “model” others consider her job as a form of sex work as she is using her body and sexuality to offer a service. Regardless it doesn’t matter, but what matters is that she was canceled. This goes back to the feminist notion that wherever there is a prostitute, there is a client, so when there is a demand there is a service, and when there is a will there is a way: when there’s a John, there’s a Doe.
Actually, Simone de Beauvoir recognized that the prostitute, like the man, is also an exploiter; she prostitutes herself, not only for the money but for the “homage men pay to her otherness” (Tong, 208). It’s like so much in life:
You can’t make someone stop doing something because you forbid it or shame it. You can only make an impact if you use it as an opportunity to educate. It’s what educators would consider a teachable moment.
It’s when you seize the opportunity to teach a lesson out of something that happens organically. It’s all in using the moment as an example to teach a lesson. So if we know that sex work exists, then why not teach to that? Why fire a mom because that’s the job she chose to do?
It is obvious that she was only discovered and reported because someone purposely looked for her; it’s not like she hurt anyone doing her job. Besides, even if she wore a sign that read I like getting naked for money, it still wouldn’t hurt anyone, and yet people feel the need to reprimand and shame her for this decision. A decision that was made by her about her own body.
Why are people so fixated on women using sexuality as a form of power when there are very real social issues impacting the hearts and minds of our youth like racism, drugs, and an increase in mental health issues? Why does society continue to play into sex as being dangerous, shameful — and bad?
When Sex Workers are Canceled their Autonomy is Stripped
If stripping women of their rights for expressing their sexuality does not reflect patriarchy, then I do not know what does. The school board is part of a system that is reprimanding a woman for using her body to earn a living. She is now not seen, nor heard, but shamed in her community to the point that the everyday life of her kids has been impacted. Some may say she deserves it. But do they? Who pays here? Because the kids do.
So while OnlyFans has placed the power into the women’s hands, society is taking away that control. It’s just too much for some people to handle:
This new-age sex service industry of self-employed women who don’t have to answer to anyone can still find themselves landing in hot water, and answering to everyone, and their damn mother.
The porn industry is being revolutionized as we speak. From cam girls to OnlyFans, this live virtual interaction cannot be beat, skyrocketing especially during the pandemic. The site has 60 million users and 750,000 content creators globally. Content providers keep 80 percent of their income, while the company takes the remaining 20 percent. Unsurprisingly, OnlyFans attracted many new users during the Covid-19 lockdown (Evening Standard).
Some feminists believe that this site is just another form of sex work and female oppression, as women are mandated to do certain actions within the various platforms of the site. But, the thing is the woman signed up, and the woman chose that platform— that is if she isn’t being exploited by someone and that is a dark avenue nobody knows enough about. Is anyone going to truly be responsible for the regulation of the App?
I am not saying there aren’t women on OnlyFans who are being exploited: underground sexual exploitation is real, and must be addressed. But, then again there are women who are autonomous Girl Bosses, such as Jackson, who were canceled, humiliated, and targeted like a Salem witch hunt due to online sex work.
The oppressed rights of sex workers have always been there historically, from prostitutes and strippers to porn stars, and now it’s carrying over to sexually interactive online porn hubs. What do you think? Is OnlyFans empowering for women? Or is it sexual exploitation? And if so, then is it the clients who do the exploiting? Or is it the app? Or the technology?
But the woman pays the price, right? She’s the scapegoat of the whole operation, isn’t she? I think not.
Bindel, Julie. The Evening Standard.“OnlyFans is sex work and pornography – stop calling it ‘empowering’.”https://www.standard.cseo.uk/comment/
comment/onlyfans-sex-work-pornography-empowering-bella-thorne-a4545501.html> September 2020.
Goldstein, Joelle. People. Mom Who Makes $150K a Month from OnlyFans Says Catholic School Expelled Her 3 Sons Because of Her Page. <https://people.com/
Tong, Rosemarie. Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction. CO: Westview, 1989.
Lindsay Soberano-Wilson’s debut chapbook Casa de mi Corazón: A Travel Journal of Poetry & Memoir (Poetica) is coming soon. Find her on Medium, Instagram, or Twitter @Poetry Matters. Lindsay Soberano-Wilson © 2021.
If you liked When the Sex Worker on OnlyFans was Canceled, then you will like, I Should Have Been More of a Slut, or I Awoke from a Wet Dream, Only to Realize I Had Lucid Dream Sex: