How The MAFS OnlyFans Photo Brings Up A Bigger Convo About Leaked Nudes

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The recent nude photo scandal that rocked MAFS last week and cranked open the door for discussions around consent, victim-blaming and revenge porn. 

What Happened Exactly?

At the dinner party last week tensions came to head when Domenica was confronted with the fact that fellow contestant Olivia had found her OnlyFans account and shared a nude photo of her with the group.

Since the episode aired there’s been a lot of discussion around how the group reacted.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen responses like this to leaked nudes. And Olivia’s defence, saying it was publicly available on the internet, strays away from the heart of the issue: consent.

The Larger Conversation (WP)

Sharing explicit photos, without consent, has had a shifting narrative in the last 20 years, especially with the rise of smartphones armed with cameras. Nude photos can easily be posted online, sent to people, or saved in the cloud.

When nudes started dominating the celebrity news cycle in the mid 2000s, there was a certain way they were talked about. People tended to blame those who took these photos of themselves in the first place, so it was their own fault if the photos got leaked.

At the height of her Disney fame, Vanessa Hudgens had to publicly apologise for her leaked photos. She was demonised for them and magazines were confident she’d be dropped from High School Musical 3 even though the photos were leaked without her consent. The media and a lot of fans were blaming her for taking the pics in the first place, with Disney’s own statement calling it an obvious lapse in judgement.

Other celebrity pics were leaked in the following years, and it culminated in this huge moment online in 2014, nicknamed “The Fappening”. That was when someone hacked a bunch of celebrity iCloud accounts and shared a long list of celebrity nudes, and it’s named after a play on words with the movie “The Happening” and a slang term for masturbation.

But by then the narrative was kind of changing.

It started to be framed more as an invasion of privacy and the blame shifted. The conversation was changing and we started to hold those who leaked the photos accountable, rather than the person who was in the photo.

This momentum continued into legislation, with a range of laws against what we now call revenge porn. They’re in place all around the world, including Australia, and they were put in place mostly in the 2010s to protect people when their nudes got leaked. 

Some researchers point out that the term itself is an issue because the motivation sometimes isn’t revenge and the content isn’t necessarily pornographic. These motivations could be coercion, financial incentives, or even trying to show off the person in the photo. 

Legally, it’s called ‘image-based abuse’, because whether it’s ‘revenge’ or not, it’s still explicit photos being shared without consent. The way the discussions around leaking nudes are taking form show that we are shifting away from that victim-blaming narrative of explicit photos, especially if the photos are shared without consent as a way to affect someone’s reputation.

Which is why the way that these photos were shared on MAFS had an energy that we’d all prefer to leave behind.