“I’d be mortified if someone thought I was putting my bum online for some fucking Gucci sandals”: Liminality, ownership and identity – A case-study of sex work on OnlyFans
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Ford, Amy. (2022). “I’d be mortified if someone thought I was putting my bum online for some fucking Gucci sandals”: Liminality, ownership and identity – A case-study of sex work on OnlyFans. Dearcadh: Graduate Journal of Gender, Globalisation and Rights, 3. doi:https://doi.org/10.13025/7zy3-8c09
This research explores the nuances of ownership involved in online sex work and investigates the liminal nature of sex work. This article details a case study of a British woman using the OnlyFans platform to post explicit adult content. This case study is framed within the literature discussing both the mainstreaming of sex work and stigmatisation attributed to sex workers, maintained by heteronormative gender scripts and rape culture in a digital era. Through multiple narrative-style interviews, an in-depth case study exploration was conducted into the experiences of an online sex worker, using the pseudonym Ria, during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown in England. Two key themes of liminality and ownership emerged. The overarching theme of liminality focuses on the conditions of an in-between space, and encapsulated Ria’s experience of online sex work. The theme of ownership concerns Ria’s physical content on the OnlyFans platform, extending to her ownership over her body in the online context. This case study has captured a snapshot of the ways in which online sex workers using the OnlyFans platform may experience a variety of liminal states - exploring links to the ways in which sex workers are perceived in society and how this impacts their ownership of their content, their identities and ultimately their bodies.