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We Need to Talk About Our Culture’s Sexual Obsession with Barely-18-Year-Olds

We live in a culture that has an expectation that when pop culture figures turn 18, it’s free game to consume explicit images and videos of them. But why?

You may remember her as the “Cash Me Outside” girl from Dr. Phil. Today, Danielle Bregoli is widely known as teen rapper Bhad Bhabie—the youngest female rapper to ever hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2017, and the youngest artist in the last decade to go platinum with her hits from 2018 and 2017.

This year, she’s breaking even more records—but not in the music industry.

Days after her 18th birthday in March 2021, Bregoli created an X-rated OnlyFans account, promoting it in an Instagram post with the caption, “From now on i’m gonna do whatever the f— I want.” Her OnlyFans bio reads, “Crazier than u think DM me. I am on here every night responding.”

Related: “My Uncle Is One Of My Fans”: Real Horror Stories from OnlyFans Creators

In just six hours, she claimed to have earned $1 million dollars on OnlyFans.

Breaking OnlyFans records

The previous record-holder was actor-model-influencer Bella Thorne who made more than $1 million in her first 24 hours on the platform back in August of 2020.

And, one year later, Bregoli announced on her Instagram in April 2022 that she netted over $42.3 million from her OnlyFans page.

Store - Trafficking

Bregoli is charging $23.99 per month for access to content on her OnlyFans page. Subscribers are also promised the ability to direct message with her.

When Bregoli launched her OnlyFans in April 2021, she shared a screenshot of her earnings on Instagram with the caption “Not bad for 6 hours. We broke the f— out of that onlyfans record.” The image showed a breakdown of $757,526.08 from subscriptions, $267,675 from DM payments, and $5,502.35 in tips.

A year later, this is how her numbers stand as of April 2022.

Screenshot of @BhadBhabie’s Instagram post, announcing her OnlyFans profits

Now, she reports $16.6 million in subscriptions, $161k in tips, and $25.5 million in DM payments.

Creators on OnlyFans receive 80% of the revenue on all of their earnings. The platform also places thresholds on single tip amounts, and how much money users may spend per day on the platform—giving those who have been on the platform “for a long time in good standing” a higher limit.

Related: OnlyFans Reportedly has Lax Moderation and Underage Content, BBC Investigation Finds

Bregoli started receiving requests to create a not-safe-for-work OnlyFans account while she was still underage.

In 2016, U.K.-based OnlyFans launched as a platform where celebs and influencers can directly monetize their custom content, receive tips, and charge subscribers for direct messaging. The site soon gained a reputation for hosting X-rated material. In 2019, the New York Times coined OnlyFans as “the paywall of porn.”

“You turned 18. So where are the nudes?”

Danielle Bregoli isn’t the only celeb whose followers have had an expectation to consume explicit content of them as soon as they turn 18.

Billie Eilish is just one of many other pop culture figures who had trolls hounding her to “take off her clothes at 18.” The seven-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter turned 18 on December 18, 2019.

Shortly after, sexualized tweets of her in a tank top went viral with the caption, “billie eilish turned 18 today…?? Y’all know what that means.” Attached to the tweet were three photos of Billie, all of which objectified her body, with captions that described her as “thick.”

BHW - General

In an interview following the sexualized tweets, Billie shared, “My boobs were trending on Twitter! At number one! What is that?! Every outlet wrote about my boobs! I was born with f—ing boobs, bro. I was born with DNA that was gonna give me big-a— boobs. Someone with smaller boobs could wear a tank top, and I could put on that exact tank top and get s—-shamed because my boobs are big. That is stupid.”

Billie also retaliated with an Instagram post (caption now deleted), “U mad i turned 18 & didn’t immediately take all my clothes off?”

Related: Billie Eilish Began Watching Porn at 11, These are the Devastating Impacts She Says It Had on Her

In interviews over the last few years, the star opened up about feeling “terrified” to turn 18. She shared she preferred to cover up in baggy layers to keep part of herself a “mystery” and avoid being judged.

“It kind of gives nobody the opportunity to judge what your body looks like,” she shared. She also clarified that her personal style isn’t meant to be used to shame women who choose to dress differently than she does.

When Billie was 19, she told Howard Stern in an interview that she started watching porn when she was 11.

“I think it really destroyed my brain, and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn. I think that I had sleep paralysis and almost night terrors and nightmares because of it. I think that’s how they started because I would watch abusive BDSM and that’s what I thought was attractive. It got to a point where I couldn’t watch anything else—unless it was violent, I didn’t think it was attractive.”

Listen to this part of the interview, here. Note that this portion of the interview contains graphic and descriptive language:

Where does this sense of sexual entitlement come from?

These are examples of current events that are all too common. So much so that most people may not bat an eye when they see the headlines. However, the underlying concept is one that’s deeply concerning—and something we should all pay attention to.

We live in a porn-obsessed society that has no problem expecting that when pop culture figures turn 18, it’s free game to consume explicit images and videos of them—and this same society seems to believe those celebs should make that content readily available. Not only do trolls pressure and sometimes harass individuals to share explicit content long before they turn 18, they feel it’s their right to do so as soon as that person is of legal age.

Related: An Inside Look at OnlyFans Management Companies that Allegedly Exploit Creators and Trick Subscribers

The fact is, this cultural sexual entitlement complex is both a product of porn culture and also a fueling factor of porn culture, too.

Porn sells the idea that whatever your object of sexual desire, you should have—at the very moment you want it. And if there’s no porn out there of the person you want to see, deepfakes make it possible to create fake porn videos of almost anyone without their knowledge or consent.

In the porn world, one’s own fantasies surpass human dignity and respect. The porn industry doesn’t have adequate safeguards to ensure if the “performers” are there consensually (or if they’re really over the age of 18), and portrayals in porn are permissible even if they’re abusive, violent, or unrealistic, or if the content harms consumers and relationships. And the industry as a whole certainly doesn’t seem to care who is harmed or exploited in the process.

Whether someone has just turned 18, is younger, older, a celebrity, or your next-door neighbor, no one inherently has the right to consume that individual for their own gratification—especially without their knowledge and consent.

Related: Real Cases of OnlyFans Content Creators Getting Stalked by Fans

This way of thinking is fueled by porn, and also feeds the demand for more porn to be produced. This is a cycle that continues to escalate, unless we do our part to make it stop.

At its core, the fight against porn is the fight for human dignity—for every person. People are not products.

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