Belle Delphine: Product of a culture that eroticises children and monetises their sexualisation

At the age of 21, Delphine is now the highest paid ‘porn actress’ on the planet. The specific reasons for her success make for uncomfortable reading. 

By Jen Izaakson 

*Content warning - discussion of child sexual abuse

In 2019 Collective Shout reported on then 19-year-old Instagrammer Belle Delphine selling her bathwater online. Belle’s bathwater sold out in rapid time, prompting significant Youtube commentary and media outlets reporting on the bizarre trade. In response, Instagram shut down her account.

In the lead up,  Collective Shout had documented behaviour more disturbing than the selling of bathwater. The movement had condemned the paedophilic aesthetic which is Delphine’s stock-in-trade, arguing any normalisation and eroticisation of children must be resisted.

Delphine and her bottled bath water

The Instagram shutout was a win. But it was no surprise when Delphine migrated to other platforms, primarily Patreon and more recently OnlyFans, where she could better monetise her content. 

The main appeal for her overwhelmingly male audience is her look: that of an anime figure orchestrated to appear much younger than she is, by wearing braces and children’s clothing, surrounded by the accoutrements of childhood, including soft toys. They flocked to her in droves, at a time when OnlyFans was on the ascendancy. 

In mid-2020 content subscription service OnlyFans grew tenfold as the Covid crisis confined people indoors and forced many women out of jobs, as covered here and here.

OnlyFans is a site for creators to sell content to fans, but this material is largely pornographic and those ‘creators’ are disproportionately women.

OnlyFans offers a more personal encounter, with any woman able to create ‘girl next door’ style content. Whereas ‘cam girls’ of the past would talk to and perform live for e-johns in a studio or their own bedrooms, women on OnlyFans have to curate their entire persona day in day out and ‘chat’ to any buyers who message them.   

Belle Delphine's OnlyFans and Pornhub profiles

A consumer can pay Pornhub $20 for videos of millions of women, or pay one woman $20 for a more personalised experience. Ahead of the trend Pornhub made its ‘amateur’ category subscription only years ago, with viewers able to buy particular videos from certain profiles and ‘tip’ them. But OnlyFans is now the go-to platform for this content. 

For Delphine it was a goldmine.  Last summer she went from earning $665,000 a month (of which OnlyFans takes a 20% percent cut), to netting millions of dollars a month by the end of the year, through branching out into hardcore video pornography.

With the release of two ‘professional’ porn videos, Delphine’s OnlyFans platform has rocketed. 

This demonstrates how OnlyFans and wider porn hosting sites and social media now have a reciprocal relationship. 

Delphine has become a crossover artist.  She not only uses social media to advertise her OnlyFans, but traditional porn sites now host video clips leaked from her OnlyFans, signposting viewers directly to it. In turn her OnlyFans links back to industry porn sites and her social media. That loop exists because it is lucrative for all platforms and parties involved. 

Belle Delphine using the term ‘cuck’ used increasingly in porn and male-dominated gamer communities 

At the age of 21, Delphine is now the highest paid ‘porn actress’ on the planet. The specific reasons for her success make for uncomfortable reading. 

The year for Delphine began with being decried across the Twittersphere.

Delphine’s name trended on Twitter in January as she was admonished for the disturbing themes of her latest pornographic film. In the video, Delphine dresses in the clothes of a typically young adolescent girl, a man in a balaclava ties her up, kidnaps and drives her to the woods where she is depicted being forcibly raped against a tree. The video ends as many porn clips do; Delphine’s face is ejaculated on and slapped. 

 Due to her small stature and mode of dress (see below), Delphine resembles a child. The fact that she is bound and gagged is suggestive of  Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) – thus the widespread condemnation.  

Delphine depicted as bound child in her porn film

Delphine’s first pornographic film, released one month earlier, had similar themes; she has sex with a man dressed as a teddy bear on a bed of children’s toys, the man remains disguised throughout by leaving the teddy bear mascot head on. Delphine again is dressed as a typical prepubescent child. Essentially, it’s a visual representation of sexual intercourse with a child (child rape) in a child’s bedroom, with a man dressed as a children’s toy. 

Delphine also references other porn genres, such as hentai (as below with her holding a squid, a common character in hentai porn cartoons) to ensure wider promotion of her videos. (Hentai is illegal in Australia). 

Delphine in Hentai-style pose

It is easy to recognise this depiction as a replication of child sexual abuse for a paying adult male audience. Some of Delphine’s OnlyFans content shows her behaving like an infant (thumb sucking, etc.) while using sex toys. She employs a number of app features to make herself look more infant-like and ‘kiddish’, in a cartoonish way. 

Paedophilic 'fantasy' fuelling demand for CSAM

But in the videos, the man in the balaclava who is seen forcibly controlling Delphine for sexual arousal, the person holding the camera filming the whole thing, and all who are profiting from the video’s circulation, have entirely escaped criticism. 

Delphine doesn’t exist alone: she is supported by a system that treats profiting from catering to paedophilic fantasies as acceptable. She is the product of the sexualisation of girls from birth; and which rewards young women for adopting pornified roles and behaviours. Delphine’s content, while deserving condemnation, needs to be analysed within its broader contexts (see for example ‘We need to talk about ‘teen’ porn’, by James Evans, recently published by Collective Shout).

Yes Delphine is partaking in and reproducing porn culture, contributing to its pervasiveness, clearly incentivised by huge sums of money. But she is also a product of an already existing sphere of influence – the ubiquitous sex industry and its mainstreaming everywhere, including the social media platforms where she started out. 

Delphine knows her audience, specialising in the tropes that have garnered a legion of paying e-johns thus far. The infantalisation of adults is the flipside to paedophilia’s adultification of children. Delphine’s anime image is a direct product of a culture where adolescent features are increasingly prolonged into adulthood, combined with vast numbers of men who are willing to pay pricey subscriptions for content that resembles child sexual abuse. 

There have been personal costs to pay.  Delphine’s family have reportedly disowned her, something she makes rather tragic ‘jokes’ about, presumably in an attempt to exorcise the hurt caused. Undoubtedly, Belle’s astronomical rise has been facilitated by an army of Youtube reviewers, and normalised by various social media personalities' fascination with her, all of who seem to find her an oddity to mock, and consider her a figure of fun.

The escalating extreme nature of porn – and its cross-promoting and cross-normalising on  social media – makes safeguarding and monitoring children’s internet use more difficult. Social media and Youtube are becoming direct gateways to porn consumption. Youtube has no age limit for viewership, and despite all the porn-related content you can find there, TikTok has an age restriction of only 13+. And many even younger children have accounts on it, able to watch and sing along to porn-style music videos like WAP.  

Porn is no longer an industry of its own, but permeates all levels of society, homes, schools, workplaces.  It is now as accessible for ‘content creators’ as it is for consumers. 

Because of that mass proliferation, women making self-made porn need to specialise and cultivate a niche in what is now a saturated market. Belle Delphine has done this with her performative sexualised child-likeness. Other women will be pressured to partake in harmful and extreme practices to stand out from the crowd. Given the mega profits it attracts, it is likely we will see Delphine imitators. 

Blurring between social media and pornography results in being able to interact with women as though they are your social media peers, but also consume them as sexual products. 

What are the social effects? Porn becomes a completely dominant, all-encompassing ideology, promoting sexual servitude as the norm from Instagram to OnlyFans to Pornhub.

Mind Geek (owners of Pornhub) executives are currently being made to answer to the Canadian Parliament’s ethics committee for hosting illegal content including non-consensual sharing of images and Child Sexual Abuse Material.  See transcripts here and global letter calling for criminal investigation here.

Perhaps this historic examination of the largest pornography dispenser in the world will lead to a flow on look at what is being permitted elsewhere, including on social media and OnlyFans.  And perhaps the day is coming when normalising sexual interest in children for profit will no longer be tolerated. 

Jen Izaakson recently completed a PhD thesis on indeterminacy and Freud at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London.  She can be contacted via social media here or email at [email protected] 

See also

Belle Delphine and the eroticisation of child sexual exploitation on Instagram

Child sexual abuse thrives in a culture that eroticises it

We need to talk about 'teen' porn


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  • Collective Shout
    published this page in News 2021-03-05 20:49:33 +1100

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