‘Detached Desires’ - Resituating Pornographic and Celebrity Persona Online
Keywords: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.
Driessens, O 2012, ‘The celebritization of society and culture: Understanding the structural dynamics of celebrity culture’, The International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 641–657.
Khamis, S, Ang, L, & Welling, R 2017, ‘Self-branding, “micro-celebrity” and the rise of social media influencers’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 191–208.
Longstaff, G 2013, ‘From reality to fantasy: celebrity, reality TV, and pornography’, Celebrity Studies. Special Issue: Sex and the Celebrity, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 71-80.
Longstaff, G 2018, ‘Celebrity Sex Tapes’ in C Smith, F Attwood and B McNair (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality, Oxon, UK, Routledge, pp. 183-192.
Longstaff, G 2019, ‘“Bodies that Splutter”: Theorizing Jouissance in Bareback and Chemsex Porn’ in R Varghese (ed.), RAW: PrEP, Pedagogy, and the Politics of Barebacking, Regina, Saskatchewan, University of Regina Press.
Marshall, PD 2010, ‘The promotion and presentation of the self: celebrity as marker of presentational media’, Celebrity Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 35-48.
Marshall, PD, Moore, C & Barbour, K 2020, Persona Studies: An Introduction, Hoboken, NJ, Wiley Blackwell.
Marwick, A 2015, ‘Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy’, Public Culture, vol. 27, no. 1, p. 137-160.
McGuigan, J 2014, ‘The Neoliberal Self’, Culture Unbound, vol. 6, pp. 223–240.
Paasonen, S 2007, ‘Pornifiaction and the Eduaction of Desire’ in K Nikunen, S Paasonen and L. Saarenmaa (eds.), Pornification: Sex and Sexuality in Media Culture, Oxford, Berg, pp. 161-70.
Williams, L 1989, Hardcore: Power, Pleasure and the ‘Frenzy of the Visible’, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press.