So you’ve watched Making a Murderer, and now you feel like you have the knowledge and the passion to become a lawyer.
Now it’s time to turn your eyes to amateur porn.
Yes. I just said that.
Because the next Netflix documentary that’s going to change the way you look at the world is Hot Girls Wanted, and if it doesn’t make you feel at least a tiny bit like you begin a fierce social media campaign, then the documentary hasn’t done it’s job.
With changing attitudes towards sex and relationships, porn is even slowly losing its status as a taboo subject.
According to Pornhub, 4,392,486,580 hours of porn were watched on their website alone in 2015 – that’s 2.5 x longer than humans have been on Earth.
Hot Girls Wanted is a documentary produced by Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation’s Ann Perkins), which goes behind the scenes of the amateur porn industry.
The 80-minute film starts at the beginning – with young girls, all aged 18 to 25, filled with enthusiasm, and excited to escape their hometowns, exert their independence, and make money for themselves. And watching the documentary, you find yourself agreeing with them: they did need to move out of their parents’ house; they did need to start making their own decisions, and taking opportunities for themselves.
When you pit $180 an hour against the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, you can’t argue that the girls have a point.
For a while, it doesn’t seem like the girls have made a bad choice in joining the amateur porn industry – and sometimes, maybe they haven’t. They’re making money, everyone’s friendly, and there’s an air of camaraderie between the girls, who live together in the house owned by their agent. They seem to genuinely like the job, and it’s their decision. As it should be.
But sadly, the film doesn’t end there. Because while there will be agents in the industry who look out for the girls’ best interests, and directors and actors who spend a lot of time making sure the actors and actresses are completely comfortable with what they’re doing, not all of them will. And we see these situations develop throughout the documentary.
Even though they’re not technically being forced to shoot these videos, there’s a sense of necessity to what they’re doing.
We realise, watching the film, that they don’t always want to do the shoots they’re offered: they’ll do bondage, racial abuse, and portray under-age girls being manipulated into sex by a family friend. Even when the actresses themselves don’t want to. Even when they leave the shoot in pain and on the brink of tears. Because if they don’t do the shoot, they don’t get the money. Because at the end of the day, they need the money.
40% of all porn depicts violence against women.
The documentary might only be a look into the experience of a few girls, and in a certain area of the industry. Some might even call it biased, contrived and sensationalised. It’s not to say that every adult actress shares the same experiences – pleasant or unpleasant. But the documentary brings to light some of the issues of amateur porn, and gives us an insight into how the actresses actually feel about what they’re doing. Because at the end of the day, there is something incredibly disheartening about some of the situations women in that industry find themselves in. And even if this same situation is only experienced by a handful of women, it’s still too many.
Instead of preaching old and outdated anti-porn messages like “but your mother will disapprove” or “porn is degrading to women”, the documentary tells us about some of the things that are actually wrong with the porn industry. Sadly, it doesn’t offer any solution.
But don’t just take my word for it. There’s much more to the story of the adult industry than one group of girls’ experiences.