1. MyFreeImplants (MFI) is the largest cosmetic surgery financing website in the world. Women sign up to the website, post a set of photos and a 'beg' bio explaining why they desperately need cosmetic enhancement and sympathetic benefactors, who are 95% male, donate money to help them achieve their goal.
2. The women of MFI never get direct access to any money that is raised. It goes into an escrow known as the 'Boob Bank' and when a woman reaches her goal, the money is paid directly to an MFI-affiliated plastic surgeon who performs her surgery. MFI's founders claim that about 1,100 women have received implants through the website
3. To the innocent, the uneducated, or the body-dysmorphic, this site sounds like a gift, but if consumerism has taught us anything, it is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Or free breast implants.
4. Even the most rudimentary investigation of the site reveals a much more sordid reality. Although it is supposed to be restricted to over 18s, there is no security to prevent under 18s from signing up as donors, or recipients. As part of my research, I signed up to the site as a fifteen-year-old girl and although a text block advised me that I needed to be 18, all I had to do was change the year of my birth from 2000 to 1996 and I was able to join.
5. The site sells itself on the premise that donors are allowed to send messages to recipients for a dollar a pop, however the average cost of having breast implants in the UK is in the region of £3,500-5,000 for the initial operation. It doesn't take a PhD to work out that the women on this site are not raising those sums by exchanging messages about the weather.
6. MFI allows women to raise additional funds by selling photos and videos through private exchanges, by participating in contests set by donors, or by auctioning private material. However, the women are all basically soliciting from the same resource pool, so if woman A is willing to pose in her bra for a private picture, woman B soon realizes that she will make more money if she takes her bra off. And woman C works out that she will beat both of them if she gets completely naked. This competitive escalation rapidly becomes a race to the bottom as women battle for dollars from active donors.
7. In order to explore the site from the other side, I also signed up as a male donor. Within five minutes I received a barrage of emails making it clear that money could buy me pretty much anything I wanted. The details were explicit and the prices specific; "nudity with play from $30-35, or $40 if you want me to cum". Also on offer were videos involving fetish, humiliation, domination, urination, scatology and sex simulation with cucumbers. The escalation in what is 'on offer' is matched in turn by an increase in men's expectations. After all, why would a man settle for 'nudity with play' for thirty bucks, when he could watch a '20-Min Orgasm-a-thon Video containing 19 orgasms!!' for a bargain price of $40.
8. There are of course, lots of men and women who choose to buy and sell sex on the internet of their own free will, but the core proposition of MFI is to enable women to have unnecessary cosmetic surgery. All surgery carries risks, but the potential complications with breast implants are legion; breast pain, nerve damage, infection, leakage, capsular contracture and rupture. In the UK, NHS data suggests that one in three women who receives implants requires further surgery within 10 years of the initial operation.
9. Young women who sign up to the site may do so hoping that they will terminate their relationship with the site once they have achieved their goal, but how many of them have read the small print? Once a woman posts content on the site, her photos and videos belong to MFI. Forever. The exact wording states that "By posting content on any public area of MFI, you automatically grant as well as represent and warrant that you have the right to grant to MFI, an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, perform, display, and distribute such information and content to MFI and that MFI has the right to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing."
10. Although MFI seems like a straightforward case of men exploiting women for sex, it is not that simple. A lot of the donors on the site are lonely men who wouldn't otherwise have a hope of communicating with attractive young women, particularly women who are willing to do pretty much anything for a cash donation. These men are also being exploited and in the US, research by the psychologist Keith F. Durkin at Ohio State University has identified discussion forums where men admit neglecting to pay personal bills, 'maxing out their credit cards, or taking ''payday'' loans in order to meet the financial demands of their online interactions. My concern is that the girls involved are not thinking through the surgical risk and there is no way of knowing whether underlying mental health issues such as body dysmorphia are driving their decision to have surgery. The only clear winner on MFI is MFI, who are perfectly happy to take 19% of every financial transaction on the site.