Culture Feature

Why Is Bella Thorne's OnlyFans Account Hurting Sex Workers?

Thorne raised $2 million in one week on OnlyFans, and users who rely on the platform for their income aren't happy.

Bella Thorne

NME

Actress Bella Thorne recently joined OnlyFans, a site that allows subscribers to pay for (usually "adult") content.

During her first week on the platform, she reportedly made $2 million in one day. Reportedly, Thorne advertised a revealing, explicit photo that cost $200 to access—but when fans opened the photo, they saw that Thorne was actually covering her chest. Many fans attempted to cancel the charge and demanded that the website refund their purchase.

Shortly after, OnlyFans changed its policy to cap pay-per-view messages at $50 and tips at $100. Many sex workers who rely on the platform for their incomes are upset, blaming Thorne's antics for the platform's sudden policy change.

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There's a particular kind of pleasure that comes from watching a former Disney star fall.

From Lindsay Lohan to Miley Cyrus, so many of our childhood icons have shocked us time and time again as they shirk off their guises of innocence.

Few have taken a choppier plummet than Bella Thorne. Since she starred on the Disney show Shake It Up with Zendaya, she's gone on to surprise us with her frank discussions of sexuality and chaotic relationships with women, men, and sometimes both at the same time. She's been embroiled in a number of controversies, most recently involving leaked nude photos that earned the ire of none other than Whoopi Goldberg.

Her latest project pushes things to a new level. At 21, Thorne can add "director" to her resume—director of a adult film, that is. She has now directed her first explicit film as part of Pornhub's Visionaries Director's series.

Entitled Her & Him, the film seems to have gone through many iterations before reaching its final form. In a behind-the-scenes video about the project, Thorne stated that the film began as a Christmas-themed horror movie, but instead turned into something "beautiful and ethereal."

Still from 'Her and Him'Image via Metro

Wait, what? How does an explicit film go from a Christmas-themed horror movie to a story that "depicts an edgy twenty-something guy who stumbles upon a surprise text in his girlfriend's phone, interrupting their morning routine and spinning everything into an out-of-control sexually charged encounter," according to the film's press release?

It seems that the film has been brewing in Thorne's brain for a while, so it's had plenty of time to metamorphosize. "I'm really lucky that Pornhub wanted to come on and produce this with me because originally I was shopping it around a very long time ago and things were very different," she said. "People are kind of scared to make a movie like this one when it comes to dominance and submissive(ness) between a male and a female and how this relationship can turn quite sour." The film features a large knife, apparently, as well as a Romeo and Juliet-like relationship that "transcends time and space," according to Thorne.

This isn't the only creative project that she's been involved in recently. On July 23, she released her book, The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray. The book features scraps of poetry, printed typewriter-style, detailing her struggles with sexual abuse, depression, dyslexia, and more; it quickly became an international bestseller. "I constantly wonder how I'm so OK because sometimes I get lost in my thoughts of all of the darkness that I've kind of been through, and I wonder where I would be if I wasn't me," she said at the time of the book's release. But she emphasized the importance of a pliable mindset, stating, "You change your mind, you change your opinion, you change your whole entire mindset, and that's OK because you live, you learn, you get older and you decide differently."

She has a multitude of new projects in the work. "I've got like two movies coming out, I'm about to film like four movies back-to-back, I have an album coming out with Sony, I want to start working on the second book, I'm writing a TV series I hope to direct, I'm doing a weed brand and I'm redoing my makeup line (Thorne by Bella), head to toe. I'm always out here hustling," she added.

While her endeavors might seem increasingly unexpected, and are indicative of an unstable sense of self, overall, Thorne is turning herself into quite the accomplished and subversive character. Unafraid to depict sexual topics with some nuance and vision, open about her sexuality and mental health, and unabashedly unashamed of who she is, Thorne's actions make her a refreshing contrast to stars who make shows out of their flashy lives, unattainable appearances, and opulent wealth. While her descent from Disney stardom might seem like a fall from grace, perhaps it's an ascension in its own way—a shift from the constraints of having to present as a "good girl" and a movement towards a wilder selfhood that's empowering in its own right.

Perhaps she's not a great role model for young girls, but perhaps the world isn't so kind to young girls as it is—and seeing a young woman so unafraid to turn the scars that the world has given her into art (even when it's Christmas horror-flick-turned-knifeplay) definitely can't be as harmful as some of the sponsored posts that float around Instagram today.

CULTURE

From Freud to Bella Thorne: What Is Pansexuality?

"I like sexy girls, I like sexy guys. I like sexy in general, you know?"

Sexuality is confusing, especially if you turn to the 21-year-old "wannabe mogul" Bella Thorne for explanations.

While appearing on Good Morning America to promote her new book, Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray, she declared, "I'm actually pansexual and I didn't know that. Somebody explained to me very thoroughly what that is." The actress continued, "[Pansexuals] like beings. You like what you like. It doesn't have to be a girl or a guy or a he or she or they or that—it's literally, you like a personality. You just like a being."

The LGBTQ+ term has become more common since 2018, which was deemed "the year of the pansexual," with Merriam-Webster spotlighting the orientation on their Words of the Year list. It was thanks, in part, to singer Janelle Monáe coming out in a Rolling Stone interview in April, when she explained, "I read about pansexuality and was like, 'Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am." Soon afterwards, searches for the term spiked—and continue to do so, as we keep turning to Dr. Google to understand non-heternormative identities.

pansexuality is valid "Alexa: Are you pansexual?"Nexis Uni data

Merriam-Webster defines "pansexual" as "of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation." As for Thorne, she simply says, "I like sexy girls, I like sexy guys. I like sexy in general, you know?

Well, that's not all there is to pansexuality. Despite being coined by Sigmund Freud in 1914, the word wasn't used to describe a sexual orientation until the 1980s. Of course, there have been individuals all throughout history who have loved regardless of "labels and boundaries." Then the sexual revolution and free love subculture created enough activism and visibility that pansexuality was given its own letter in the queer community's "alphabet soup": LGBTTQQIAAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual).

And we get it: That's a lot of representation, a lot of separate politics, a lot of colorful banners, and an uneasy responsibility not to possibly offend anyone if you don't know the definition and history of each letter. Luckily, that's what the Internet is for.

The foremost questions that come to mind when discussing pansexuality are usually: "How is that different from bisexuality? Says who? And does it really matter? #LoveIsLove" While that's fair, as with most words attempting to describe the immeasurable gamut of human behavior, the meaning of the word is complicated and weird and constantly in flux. But it's mostly about intent. Generally speaking, that's how we end up with so many synonyms in the English language when they all mean the same thing. We mainly adapt new words to assimilate the history of that word into our culture. We can call someone "funny" or, let's say, "comical." But "comical" is a boring direct descendant from the Latin word comicus (a writer of comedy, a comic actor, or comedian), whereas "funny" is an odd colloquialism from the good old American South in the 1800s, which denoted anything from a "tingling sensation" to "mental hospital"—which makes the word not only more diverse but also hilarious.


The point is: "Bisexual" creates the clear distinction that someone is attracted to two genders (usually cisgenders, indicating individuals who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth). The problem is that excludes any non-cisgender individuals. Growing awareness of trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer identities and the discrimination they still face today (both legally and socially) gives the inclusivity of "alphabet soup" grave importance.

pansexual credit: "Jane"Pinterest

Rolling Stone points out that there's plenty of debate about the necessity of a pansexual orientation within the LGBTQ+ community itself. Some agree with the Bisexual Resource Center's Gabrielle Blonder, who says, "I personally like the historical aspect of it. It's the label we've fought for recognition under for decades, and it's the most widely-known label. Language isn't a static entity, and words can change meaning over time...I believe the term bisexual has morphed into a different meaning than it originally was." Similarly, Ethan Remillard, 22, who came out as bisexual in his early teens, bluntly stated, "I identify as bisexual because I like f**king dudes and romancing girls. But I don't claim pansexuality because trans[gender] girls and boys are the same as their cis[gender] counterparts."

While that's true, others acknowledge that they do respond differently to trans and genderqueer individuals as a form of respect for their separate expressions of gender. Daniel Saynt, founder of the private club NSFW, says, "I've definitely met attractive trans and non-conforming individuals, but the feelings I have [for them have] never been sexual in nature." Saynt adds, "It's more of an appreciation for who they are, what they represent, and just a desire for them to find happiness regardless of identity."

Medium

Ultimately, "pansexual" doesn't just include trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer individuals as valid subjects of sexual attraction; it signals that they're attractive because of their specific expression of gender(s), not despite it.

As RuPaul's Drag Race alum Courtney Act told Attitude, "It's important to acknowledge bisexual, pansexual. We have such a rigid idea of what heterosexuality is, and that's problematic. We have such a rigid idea of what gay is, and that's also problematic." So Bella Thorne may be the latest high profile figure to discuss pansexuality, but she joins a growing cohort including Janelle Monáe, Panic! At the Disco frontman Brendon Urie, Miley Cyrus, Orange is the New Black star Asia Kate Dillon (who also identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns "they/their"), and teenage trans-activist and reality star Jazz Jennings.

More importantly, up to 25 percent of Americans identify as not "completely heterosexual," and at least 4.5 percent of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. It's true that the mouthful of acronyms in the LGBTQ+ community is clumsy, always changing, and difficult to grasp, but so is human behavior. Language is still trying to catch up with today's enlightened reality that gender is a social construct, sexuality is fluid, and everybody can get it on with anybody (or no one, if that's what they prefer), as long as it's between two (or three, or five, or ten) consenting adults.

CULTURE

YouTube Monsters Find Love: Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau Are ​Married​

Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau together is the best swamp monster love story since Shrek.

YouTube

EDIT (7/29/2019): They're married now and people could stream their wedding for $50. This whole thing is absolutely disgusting but also kind of beautiful, like when two slugs mate and it's gross but then you think about how nice it is that a slug can be attracted to another slug, so then you have to smile.

In this morning's edition of "things so horrible they actually kind of work," Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau, two of the most talentless, annoying people on YouTube (or probably the whole world in general) have announced their engagement.

It's almost definitely not real, but dear god, we hope it is, so that neither of them ever enters the dating scene ever again.

Jake Paul—best known for terrorizing his neighbors and possibly being the worst rapper in the galaxy—proposed to Tana Mangeau—best known for saying the n-word and hosting a disastrous self-themed convention, TanaCon—by giving her an expensive car or something. The details don't matter. All that matters is that both Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau are off the market, thank GOD.

We know it's probably a stunt, and that nothing either of them do should actually matter to anybody anywhere. Tana took to Twitter immediately, which is a weird thing for a real human to do during such an "intimate" moment.


Still, the idea of these two truly grotesque people finding one another and then never bothering anyone else ever again actually kind of elicits warm fuzzy feelings?

Surely, both of them plan to continue their influencer careers, pandering to 12-year-old viewers in a desperate attempt to sell their cheap merch and unlistenable music. But married life changes people. Maybe Jake will realize that he'd rather live alone with his wife than with a group of other thirsty men. Maybe Tana will find that with the support of an attentive partner, she no longer needs to lie to children on YouTube to feel heard.

Most likely, we'll be seeing a video a few months from now titled, "JAKE PAUL AND TANA MONGEAU DIVORCED (BREAKUP DRAMA!!!)," and both of these media-swamp-creatures will return to the internet to troll for dates. Until then, we can only hope.

FILM & TV

BOX OFFICE BREAKDOWN | We "gnome" what you'll want to see at the movies

MARCH 23RD - 25TH | What's coming to theaters this weekend?

Bring on the thrills, the tears, and the tiny porcelain figures trying to solve a mystery in the latest bunch of box offices releases coming your way.

In Popdust's column, Box Office Breakdown, we aim to inform you of the top flicks to check out every weekend depending on what you're in the mood to enjoy. Looking to laugh? What about have your pants scared off? Maybe just need a little love? Whatever the case may be, we have it.

Take a peek at our top picks for this week...

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It's here and you're invited.

Recently rising future pop producer and artist Prince Fox announced a tour and we're too excited. The tour is named after Prince Fox's most recent single premiering with us today: "Open Invite." Prince Fox has always been playing guitar and started producing electronic music after going to an electronic music festival. Since then, his career certainly has taken off. Working with A-list talent on several collaborative projects, Prince Fox is quickly becoming a household name. One of Prince Fox's popular collaborations was his recent single with Disney Channel's Bella Throne. Throne and Prince Fox's song "Just Call" has over 5 million streams and 1.7 million views on the accompanying music video. In addition to working with Bella Thorne, his recent single, and his current tour, Prince Fox has also collaborated with Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld on her song "Fragile" and new comer Quinn XCII on "Space" recently.

Watch "Just Call" here.

Today Prince Fox releases his single "Open Invite." The slow jam has a definite groove to it that's perfect for that time of the night when you're riding an awesome vibe. No wonder he'll be the soundtrack to many people's spring break. While on this track Prince Fox's vocals take the spotlight on this song, they are complimented by the intricacies and layers of his track. The song really revs up and gets you excited when the beat drops. The song gives you some serious euphoric and chill vibes and sounds just like what Prince Fox is saying in the hook. "Baby come through," he casually croons. The song feels reflective of our generation's culture. Our everyone is welcome, living in the moment philosophy is a prominent undertone in the song. I'm dying to see Prince Fox perform this one live. It's no doubt an invitation to have a good time. Though relatable to everyone, this song will definitely be one of spring break's hottest party anthems.

Check out the full tour list here.

Prince Fox's tour kicked off last Friday in Philadelphia, PA with his next show in Washington, DC. On the tour he's hitting some major cities like New York and Boston, but is also heading to some more surprising places. He has a three night run in the Bahamas as part of their spring break celebration. Sounds like the best tour ever to me. His live show is said to be infectious. Including some of his songs and also some of the best of future pop he guides his audiences through a night of music, dancing, and great vibes. If you are curious about Prince Fox's performance style, check out his set with Dilpo and Friends. The show is a major deal considering Diplo is one of the biggest figures in music production. You can listen to Prince Fox's set here.

Follow Prince Fox on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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