The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

Pulling back the porn curtain

Veronica Wernicke, Assistant Opinion Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies and is the assistant opinion editor for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Veronica Wernicke may be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to [email protected]

The Netflix documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” gives viewers an inside look into the sex and porn industry. Specifically, the young women involved. Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus directed the documentary and Rashida Jones — Ann Perkins from Parks and Rec — produced. It was released to give viewers a peek behind the porn industry curtain. To show their audience the mainstream reality of this industry. The directors follow around five young or “amateur” women involved in the business.

Filmed in Miami, Florida, the documentary shows firsthand accounts of the porn industry from these women: 19-year-old Tressa, 18-year-old Rachel, 25-year-old Jade, 19-year-old Karly and 19-year-old Michelle. The directors also follows around the girls’ talent agent, 23-year-old Riley. He hires the girls and drives them to their shoots. As a 19-year-old, the fact that these women are around the same ages as me scares me. I don’t understand how these girls can make such a huge decision and not think about their loved ones or the consequences.

The documentary goes on to explain how these girls got involved in the porn industry. Online ads that stated things like “free flight to Miami” and “looking for young models” tricked most of the girls. However, most of these young girls continued due to the money — Rachel makes $900 in five hours. That is an insane amount of money to fathom. Also, they love the idea of becoming famous and the freedom from their families and regular lives.

From a money standpoint, these girls are taking home hundreds of dollars each week, and because of this feel that porn is the only way for them to afford the lives they want to live. They go on to discuss how they want to break the barrier between sex workers and mainstream society. Riley adds by mentioning that the porn industry is becoming more accepted by society and that it is so much more mainstream than it used it be.

I’d like to challenge that idea that society is more accepting of the porn industry. Yes, we have more celebrities posting risqué photos on their social media accounts, and there have always been reports of celebrity sex tapes, but people still jump or slam their computer when someone walks in on them watching porn. If it was more mainstream then I don’t think there would still be this judgmental attitude towards watching or being caught watching porn.

If it was mainstream, then these women wouldn’t hide this from their parents. Instead these girls are afraid to tell their parents, thus refuting this idea of porn being mainstream. A point where I can see it being mainstream is that porn is way more accessible today. It has also become a little more mainstream than in previous decades, but not as much as Riley claims.

As the documentary continues, we get an inside look into the implications these girls face. Various implications resulting from their careers are losing who they are, emotional pain and physical pain. These girls begin to lose themselves when they take on “different personas” for their porn careers. Some of these girls do a complete 180 with their personas and are nothing like the girls they were before.

This is something I didn’t like because I can’t imagine giving up who I am just to make lots of money. I also feel the line would begin to blur eventually between their old selves and their porn selves. Karly mentions how she loves what she does. She loves the way the guys treat her because she says they treat them like “princesses.” I’m sure there are plenty of guys who would treat you like a princess, and you wouldn’t even have to have a false persona. When I imagine getting treated like a princess, it is in the comforts of the beach or watching movies together, not parading my body around to arouse someone.

Karly also talks about how having sex outside of porn scares her because she’s afraid of the commitment of it. Once again, I was at odds with myself on this statement. It was sad to hear, but also, I wanted to roll my eyes and tell this girl that she is so much better than that. I find what she is doing so much worse and degrading. Her continuing in the porn industry will only add to her fear of commitment.

Another important aspect brought up was the confusion and misleading factors behind porn. They talk about how people watch porn and confuse it with meaningful sexual relationships. Most of these girls got dumped after their first sexual experience and experienced the notion that in today’s society, sex doesn’t really mean anything. Unfortunately, they continue to carry on this notion with them.

This is a very dangerous idea — especially at their young ages — because these girls are facing emotional pain and other problems because of porn. I fear that because of this early instilled fear, these girls will grow up and have a very hard time with committed and intimate sex because they either don’t have or are ignoring the strong examples of intimate relationships around them — like potentially their families.

The girls talk about how they also love what they do because they have gained so much confidence. Every time a guy calls them “hot” or “sexy” they feel wanted for a change. As the documentary progresses, there are shots of each girl’s porn Twitter accounts. Each new scene shows how they grow in followers, thus boosting their confidence.

These guys calling these girls “hot” or “sexy” is false. I find it hard to believe that these guys mean what they are saying, but instead just want the girls to perform the scenes better. This only adds to the emotional pain even if the girls don’t realize. Instead of these random and most of the time creepy guys calling these girls “sexy,” these girls should have real men who love them calling them beautiful. Now, that is a better way to build confidence, and true confidence for that matter, in a meaningful way.

We are also introduced to Tressa’s current boyfriend and how he has no problem with her being involved in the porn industry, but his friends not so much. He goes on to describe her as a girl who wanted to make something of herself. I find that very sweet and supportive, especially given the circumstances. Even though myself and his friends are judgmental of her line of work, it’s comforting to know that someone she cares about supports her anyway, especially when you don’t think of the porn industry as a very supportive one.

They both go on to say how now they both have meaningful sex with each other, which is important for Tressa because of her work. It’s better for her to know and have that solid relationship and understanding of what a strong and meaningful relationship is. Their relationship is a prime example of what I was trying to get at earlier when I mentioned how these girls need meaningful sexual relationships and relationships in general.

A combination of emotional and physical pain these girls face is revealed when Rachel discusses a scene she hated and how much she wanted to get it over with. She describes the amateur porn industry treating girls like “processed meat,” and how it’s very male-dominated and made for males. This was hard to listen to because, despite how much these girls say they “love” what they do, you can tell from scenes like that they don’t always love it and how detrimental this emotional pain can be. You start to ask yourself “why do these girls keep doing it?” If you even had one doubt, then you should stop because it’s not worth it. They say things they would never say or do to some random guy just for $500.

According to the documentary, “40% of online pornography depicts violence against women.” When this statistic popped up on the screen my heart stopped. I already knew porn was very degrading, but to see this statistic only amplified these feelings. Jade says she is here to put on a show and not to be comfortable. Rachel talks about how she was scared at one of shoots, but did it anyway because she didn’t know if she could tell him no. Once again, I’m caught off guard. Some scenes show these girls raving about what they do, but some show them crying and complaining about what they do. You should always feel comfortable in what you are doing, and, again, if you aren’t you should stop.

No girl should feel uncomfortable at a young age, and this physical pain they experience at shoots is only eating away at their self-esteems. This is destructive to experience because the older they get they will always have this voice in the back of their head and they will never feel good or comfortable enough. Instead of these girls living said “glamorous lives,” they are actually living heart-wrenching ones where they face emotional and physical pain which will severely continue to affect them the older they get.

An interesting and scary point is that the only federal regulation of the porn industry is that these girls have to prove they are 18 years old. There are absolutely no other federal regulations for the industry. This is shocking to read, and I really want to know why there aren’t any other federal regulations for the porn industry. The documentary mentions how Riley pays for these girls to get physical examinations every two weeks since they can’t take birth control and guys don’t wear condoms. This is where I think the government should get involved.

The government should require these girls to take birth control and men to wear condoms to protect them both from serious health issues like STDs. By not regulating this, the government is only putting their citizens in danger, and not just the citizens in porn, but the ones watching. The people watching porn begin to take on the notion that sex is sexier without condoms and birth control, thus a rise in STDs and other sex related health issues will occur. According to the CDC, in 2016 alone there were over two million reported cases of STDs. I’m sure if the government began to regulate the porn industry then we would see a drastic decrease in those numbers.

These girls also frequently take Plan B — the morning after pill to stop pregnancy — after their shoots, which is a cause for concern. According to a Vice article, the more frequently you take the morning after pill, the higher risk of side effects you’ll have. Side effects include dizziness, nausea, feeling sick, and depression due to increase in hormones. Now, while this isn’t as alarming as false rumors about frequent use, I still don’t think doing porn is worth all those possible side effects. At one point, Rachel even ends up in the ER with a golf ball-sized Bartholin’s cyst which was causing her a lot of pain. I don’t think all the money they get is worth all the emotional and physical pain they go through sometimes, especially at such young ages. These consequences are too scary.

Overall, “Hot Girls Wanted” sheds light on the porn industry and what it’s like for the young girls involved. We see the actual personalities and faces behind these false personas, and the implications they experience. Despite porn being so degrading, we see why these girls continue to do what they do, whether it be for the money, freedom, or traveling. This documentary does a great job of discussing a topic we as a society weren’t ready for, but needed to see and understand. I don’t recommend this documentary for everyone given the content. However, I do think it is important for more people to see it and become aware what goes on behind the scenes.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    Advice from Sally Seahawk

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Multimedia

    Tis’ the season to donate

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    Trump seeking gratitude after UCLA shoplifting incident

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Multimedia

    Advice from Sally Seahawk

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    Who are we thanking?

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    FSU banning Greek life: an appropriate punishment?

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    UHart bully results in campus safety concern

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    College loneliness: not alone in feeling alone

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    Chaos in Catalonia: finding yourself where you started

  • Pulling back the porn curtain

    Opinion

    Advice from Sally Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington
Pulling back the porn curtain