‘Detached Desires’ - Resituating Pornographic and Celebrity Persona Online


  • Gareth Longstaff Newcastle University, UK




celebrity, pornography, social media, online identity


Celebrity and pornography are dominant features of late-capitalist consumption, and both serve to influence and bolster the performance, curation and construction of a sexualised and/or sexually explicit persona online. More so, a range of social and networked spaces such as Twitter XXX, Instagram, JustFor.Fans and onlyfans.com have enabled ‘ordinary’ subjects to assimilate and adapt elements of celebrity and pornographic representation in ways that have permitted them to explicitly and publicly present (and profit from) their private sexual persona. Individuals create and sustain their individual profiles through boundless processes of self-branding, self-promoting, self-objectifying, and the self-management of their sexual personas as “an ideal typification of the neoliberal self, emphasising how demotic neoliberalism, with the aid of celebrity role models instructs” not only their own, but also their viewers desires (McGuigan 2014, p. 224). This enigmatic discourse of sexual self-presentation as a form of empowerment, entrepreneurialism, and an aesthetic mode of influence may well function as an apex of neo-liberal and late capitalist ideology. It is here that the meticulous construction of sexual authenticity and tropes we connect to the banal and everyday are refined and embodied to tactically produce amateurish porn content that followers and fans identify with, algorithmically rate, consistently follow, prolifically share, and (of course) economically subscribe.


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Author Biography

  • Gareth Longstaff, Newcastle University, UK

    Gareth Longstaff is a lecturer in media and cultural studies at Newcastle University. Both his teaching and research interests are connected to celebrity, pornography, psychoanalysis, the self and queer sexualities. In his forthcoming monograph Celebrity and Pornography: Psychoanalysis and the Politics of Self-Representation (2021) he engages and applies queer theory and the intersections of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis to mediated desires in digital/networked media.


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Perspectives on Persona

How to Cite

‘Detached Desires’ - Resituating Pornographic and Celebrity Persona Online. (2020). Persona Studies, 6(1), 9-11. https://doi.org/10.21153/psj2020vol6no1art996