Since turning 18 last year, I cannot even begin to imagine putting out “adult” content for strangers on the internet, but last week, that’s exactly what young hip-hop artist and internet influencer Danielle “Bhad Bhabie” Bregoli did – and it’s highlighting a deep and dark issue in our society.
Danielle Bregoli’s Rise to Fame
Her career began infamously at age 13, thrown into the limelight on a 2016 Dr. Phil segment titled, "I Want to Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried to Frame Me for a Crime," during which she tumbled herself into an internet meme.
Young Danielle Bregoli was quickly branded the “cash me outside girl,” which she capitalized on, evolving it into her brand and even selling merch. Soon ingraining herself into social media stardom, she later started up a music career, and in 2017, she became the youngest female rapper to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
By establishing herself in an industry that famously thrives off the exploitation of children, to many, Bregoli was doomed from the get-go to endure such fate. Sexualized by many online from a young age, it’s sad to say her OnlyFans record was not something of a total shock.
From Social Media to OnlyFans
On Thursday, shortly after her 18th birthday, Bregoli took to her Instagram and TikTok to announce that she had made over $1 million in her first six hours from OnlyFans revenue. “Not bad for 6 hours,” she wrote. “We broke the f*** out of that OnlyFans record.”
Bhad Bhabie made over $1 million in her first six hours.
The personalized-porn site has become more popular with celebrities over the past year, including ones driven into the limelight in their youth. Ex-Disney actress Bella Thorne made headlines last year when she created an OnlyFans account, quickly making money from subscribers. She later apologized to her fanbase and critics who accused her of lying about her content and stealing views from sex-workers whose main income comes from site revenue.
Celebrity "Countdown to 18" Clocks Have Long Been a Thing
Let's take a moment to appreciate how creepy this situation is. Mere hours earlier, she had been underage, but thousands of men were literally counting down the hours until she turned 18 and they could pay to see her body. It's even worse considering that she's been in the public spotlight since she was only 13. Just because a girl's body makes her look older, doesn't mean it's any less predatory to be slobbering after her nudes.
Bhad Bhabie isn't the first celebrity who has been a victim of the countdown to 18 trick. In 2004, when the Olsen twins were set to turn 18, at least seven websites had active countdowns by the minute telling viewers when the girls became "legal."
Men were literally counting down the hours until she turned 18 and they could pay to see her body.
The company that purchased Kim Kardashian's sex tape, Vivid Entertainment, offered Kylie Jenner a $10 million deal for her own sex tape the moment she turned 18.
Granted, both Kylie Jenner and Bhad Bhabie have marketed themselves sexually even as underage girls. But plenty of women in entertainment, from actresses to singers, no matter how they marketed themselves (wholesomely or sexually), have been victims of this predatory practice for decades.
Normalizing Promiscuity Paves the Way for Only Fans and PornHub
Bhad Bhabie’s quick rise to internet porn fame highlights a dark and serious issue in our society, one that justifies such perverted and morally imbalanced behavior with excuses of “liberation.” Today, young people are more hypersexual than ever, raising further issues on how normalized this outwardly promiscuous behavior has become.
With Danielle recently taking to her YouTube account to speak out about her traumatic teen years and the suffering that took place behind the scenes of the Dr. Phil Show, I can’t help but pity her struggles and wonder how truly vulnerable she is. Only someone surrounded by negative, shallow influence could use their 18th birthday as an opportunity to advertise selling sex to millions of strangers. It’s sickening how this behavior has been condoned, and I fear it’s only growing worse.
Proponents of OnlyFans say it’s a place of “personal choice” where people can have “full control over their content.”
Over the past few years, PornHub has grown in condemnation by the public — being a site that profits off child rape, sexual violence, and female abuse – but OnlyFans’ growth has made no improvements to our sex-crazed society. To some, OnlyFans is just another porn site, but this one stands out from sites we’ve seen before. OnlyFans has been given approval by many over the past year, claiming that it’s a place of “personal choice” where people can “pick their prices” and have “full control over their content.” But porn is still porn – it gives people artificial satisfaction, leaves disastrous effects on the brain, and harms those who engage in it.
Can We Have Sexual Liberation and Sexual Dignity at the Same Time?
This era celebrates sexuality, to the point where perversion is suddenly acceptable. Sex has been tarnished; it’s a commodity – simply bought and sold every second. In another time, this outrageous behavior was widely condemned, but feminists of the modern age have been eager to twist sex selling into a right.
The fact that someone so young has been thrown into the sex industry so soon is truly repulsive and mass male attention from these actions must be disparaged. Unfortunately for those of us who worry about the collective wellbeing of society, sex still sells – especially for women.
This was reaffirmed last month when Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion went viral (again) with their live Grammy performance of “W.A.P.” — teaching young, influenceable women (again) that the “best” way to liberate themselves and unleash their “femininity” is to subject themselves to overly-sexual behavior on a public platform.
Modern feminists complain about the patriarchy, but encourage women to pimp themselves out to older men.
Modern feminists complain about the patriarchal forces that linger in society, but then encourage women to pimp themselves out to older men who couldn’t have less respect for the opposite sex. Men who engage in pornographic material don’t care for the women they see on their screens — they’re looking for instant gratification, cheap fixes, simple satisfaction. Celebrities and influencers engaging in this behavior only contribute to its justification, continuing and funding an industry that cares for nothing but materialism and sick pleasure.
It’s incredibly disheartening that we live in a time when women have become so entitled to use and sell their sexuality that speaking out against corrupt, perverted behavior gets criticized by those who claim to “protect the rights of women.”
Danielle Bregoli never had the luxury of a wholesome childhood, and in the way her adulthood has started, her future won’t be all that wholesome either. What saddens me the most is knowing she sees such behavior as an accomplishment. It’s unbelievably depressing, especially with the acknowledgment that people much younger than myself follow and interact with her posts. Alone, she will make more money from this, but it’s unlikely that the girls who see her flashy Instagram posts would accomplish the same.
Women who encourage such behavior should feel ashamed, and the men who purchase the content of such a young and clearly manipulated girl should feel even more so.
We live in a perverted time, a dark age, one that makes me fear what the world will be like for the next generation. Like most things, it’s likely things will grow worse before they can start getting better, but I dread to think what will happen next.
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