e232. Paige v. Ariana: The Right to be Sexy on the Internet

Episode artwork featuring Ariana Grande and Paige Niemann.

A couple weeks ago, a story broke about a young woman named Paige Niemann turning 18 years old and starting an OnlyFans account. By all rights this shouldn’t be notable to our show at all. Sometimes models have OnlyFans accounts. However, Paige is notable because she has made a name for herself the last few years as an “Ariana Grande cosplayer” on instagram. Basically she’s a celebrity lookalike and a VERY good one. Niemann’s ability to mimic Grande is uncanny; it is often very hard to tell them apart. Some of Grande’s fans take issue with this. In fact, a look at Niemann’s instagram account will show that many of Ariana’s fans take issue with her very existence. She is subject to near constant harassment, combined with praise for her performance. While Paige has dealt with this treatment and worse for years, it has intensified since she opened her OnlyFans account. It’s no surprise that we on this show denounce the harassment of a young woman online. That said, there’s still an important question here. What are the ethical and cultural ramifications of leveraging your resemblance to a more famous person to engage in sex work?

On this week’s episode, Mav and Katya are joined by returning guest Nicole Freim and new guest Brigid Marz to talk all about this case and similar issues like this as well as the multitude of cultural issues that are connected to it. What legitimate points does each side have? What are the larger cultural issues that got us here. After all, this fight is ultimately about the bodily autonomy of young woman who has been heavily sexualized by others because since she was a young girl because of her natural resemblance to another woman who has famously been sexualized by the media since she was a young girl because of the manner in which she melds the idea of sexuality and infantilization. There’s just a lot to unpack here. And unpack it we do. Join us as we debate sexualization and sexuality and the ownership of your own style and body image for young girls AND young boys, social media, dating sites, cybersecurity, law enforcement and even a little talk about butts. This episode has it all. Listen and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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