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May 14, 2024 11:22 AM   Subscribe

In her essay ‘The Double Standard [PDF] of Aging,’ Susan Sontag explores how a “visceral horror felt at aging female flesh” is entrenched in our visual culture, manifested in caricatures of viragos and witches. “Rules of taste enforce structures of power,” she wrote, “the revulsion against aging in women is the cutting edge of a whole set of oppressive structures (often masked as gallantries) that keep women in their place.” Reclaiming elderly sexuality is an act of defiance, a rebellion against a youth-obsessed culture, fuelled by misogynistic gender norms. from The Untold Lives of Mature OnlyFans Performers [Huck] CW: NSFW language, it's about OnlyFans and has pictures of women in lingerie.
posted by chavenet (12 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for posting this, chavenet!

Michelle reckons that it's precisely her age that attracts her fans. The parts of herself that she grew up hating — “stretch marks, hanging boobs, fat butt” — is exactly what her fans adore. OnlyFans has taught her “that it's okay to be my age and be sexual. That it's okay to be my age and be plump. That it's okay to be my age and show my stretch marks and my fat.”
posted by Bella Donna at 11:44 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]

You go, Hattie.
posted by hoodrich at 12:16 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

posted by infini at 12:49 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

I must mull this over.
posted by y2karl at 1:25 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Knowing about this makes me happy.
posted by hippybear at 2:45 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]

The intersection of capitalism, Americanism, aging, and womanhood is brutal. More power to the women taking the off-ramp and forging their own path.
posted by cocoagirl at 2:55 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]

I am much younger than these women but I've also been struggling with thoughts of aging and what it means for my own ability to be sexually attractive. And even if that's something I care about. I don't want to make an OnlyFans but I love these women for finding it empowering for who they want to be.
posted by edencosmic at 5:57 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]

I've only in the past few years come to realize that 1) I was a very attractive young man and that's why I could get picked up at bars if I wanted to be and 2) that I'm probably not going to be able to travel to a city, go to a gay bar, and end up with lodging and maybe a tour guide for the weekend in exchange for sharing a bed.

I'm still pretty cute, but I truly didn't recognize how hawt I was when I was younger. I guess I recognized it just the right amount, so I was hooking up with strangers out of town, but not manipulating those where I lived.
posted by hippybear at 2:39 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

The intersection of capitalism, Americanism, aging, and womanhood is brutal.

I swear, this kind of sentiment is so predictable on metafilter, it could be posted by a bot. Especially since the article seems to indicate that on the contrary, capitalism may be quite the friend of these aging women.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:42 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]

Lol, not a bot, just a real live aging woman. Possibly it's so predictable because it's...so true. Possibly so annoyingly frequent because women are, you know, saying it.

“If we don't do OnlyFans, we're living from one social security check to the next,” said Michelle Hardenbrook, a 72-year-old OnlyFans creator, who lives in Northern California. “What are you going to do if you have [a health crisis]?” or if “our house caught on fire? Or all the plumbing broke because there was a big freeze?” “There’s no money,” she said, “no way to fix that.”

Hattie likely wasn't allowed to have her own bank account until she was 37. Michelle when she was 25. I doubt I have to mention the compounding financial cruft of institutionalized pay gaps, the parenting penalty, the pink tax, the third shift, longer lifespans, etc. etc. et...c....e.....t.........c..

Lol, not a bot.
Lol, not a bot.
Lol, not a bot.
Lol, not a bot.
posted by cocoagirl at 6:16 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]

OMG that's exactly the type of comment a bot would type!
posted by hippybear at 6:28 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

And yet, capitalism is coming to the rescue? You better hope so, because the social security system depends on its success.

The intersection of aging, womanhood, and virtually every other system/era has been traditionally poor. And horrifically bad more often than not. But the intersection of capitalism, Americanism, aging, and womanhood is looking like a win for these women. Not quite brutal. In fact, better than you might guess. It's almost like progress goes unnoticed unless it fits a preferred narrative, even when it's displayed right in front of your face.

Then again, maybe these women are doing self fulfillment all wrong. After all, I can only go by what they're saying.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:07 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

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