Aoife Dineen (29) is now warning young women of the potential dangers of the subscription service which allows users to sell graphic photos, videos and livestreams via monthly memberships.
The psychology student, who lives in County Laois, began posting semi-nude images on the social network as a means to support her college education.
“I had previously worked as a healthcare assistant pre-Covid and thought this might be a good way to make money, so I started creating content in April.
“At the time I had gotten out of a long-term relationship, was newly single and quite frankly disgusted at how some men were approaching me sexually, in terms of unsolicited pictures and the out-and-out sexual harassment of being begged for nudes.
“Due to the constant sexual objectification, I decided I may as well cash in on this toxic culture because I was experiencing these things anyway.”
Initially using an alias on the website, Aoife, who aspires to be a life coach, had an entirely positive experience.
“I felt really confident going on it first. I was heavily overweight before but then I lost five stone and went from a size 18 to a size 10. I felt really liberated and I couldn’t believe that people wanted to pay to see pictures of me.
“I made two-and-a-half grand in less than a month – considering I wasn’t selling sex videos it was really good. All I posted was soft pictures in my underwear, some of which were topless.
“I found the community of OnlyFans creators to be very empowering, supportive and non-judgemental people and I really enjoyed my first three weeks as a creator.”
Aoife’s experience quickly changed, however, when she decided to make her platform public.
“I was shamed by my own friends, people from my small hometown screenshotted my content and sent it around group chats and Facebook.
“I was told to kill myself and that I was disgusting. One of my own close friends took a screenshot of my content and sent it to my mother and said, ‘Look at what your daughter is doing.’ My friend even posted it on her personal Facebook page and said ‘this is disgusting, she has a child’.
“I stopped a month ago and in that time I have barely left my house. I have never experienced such deep shame, I didn’t want to go to the shop or for anyone to see me, I was considering going on anti-depressants. I couldn’t have imagined the emotional fallout. I did not consent for those images to be distributed in that way, I felt completely exposed.”
Aoife’s harrowing experience comes after tens of thousands of images of Irish women and girls were shared on a number of online forums. Images and videos were taken from various platforms including Only Fans, Tinder, WhatsApp and Instagram. A large number were also taken without knowledge or consent in changing rooms or while women were sleeping.
Calling for a law to criminalize image based sexual abuse and challenging misogynist and sexist attitudes, Aoife warns: “Many men are paying to subscribe to accounts only to leak nudes on threads on Discord and Reddit. There have been thousands, if not millions, of non-consenting women and teen girls’ nudes leaked on threads and porn sites such as this.
“My pictures could be in those folders but after it happens to you once you become completely de-sensitised.”
Aoife, who now runs a dedicated blog that aims to educate young women on the realities of the online platform added: “We shouldn’t have to be mindful of these things, I shouldn’t have experienced the harassment which I received; it is up to us as mindful members of society to challenge these attitudes towards women.
“‘Slut shaming’ is unfortunately a very prominent attitude towards OnlyFans creators and sex workers in general. Most of the shaming comes from men, who are ironically, the biggest consumers in this industry. OnlyFans creators tend to perceive a similar pattern of men being outraged that women want to create a market that is consensual, paid work which also reduces the need for free porn, in turn combating human trafficking and revenge porn.”
Urging young content creators to be vigilant of their future careers, she said: “There are a lot of things you need to think about, if you have career goals in the future and you don’t want the name OnlyFans to be associated with you, it will ruin your life – that stuff is there forever.
“I feel like it has ruined my life to a certain extent because I have aspirations and I think it has ruined my credibility, maybe people won’t take me seriously.
“For weeks after I struggled with my self-esteem and I felt worthless and like I ruined my own life. Before this I had no issues with the fact I was creating this content. I should not have, but I let other people opinions define me. I fully support OnlyFans , I simply want women to be educated before they create a platform. This work isn’t for everyone”.