While browsing through Netflix lazily in an attempt to find something interesting enough to watch (and later write about) I stumbled across an absolute gem of a documentary titled “Hot Girls Wanted”. I’d heard about the documentary from my sociology teacher already as it was very recently released and she encouraged my classmates and I to all give it a look if we had any curiosity of as to what the social phenomenon of young women being more and more drawn to doing porn looked like from a first hand perspective.
Prior to watching the documentary, I took some time to read up on a couple of articles written from a sociological standpoint about that “glamorous life” of a porn star that is increasingly shown to women at younger and younger ages. As our society continues to lean towards a more casual, easy going standpoint on sex, it makes complete sense that more and more young women would see turning 18 as their chance to do something crazy, if you will, an being offered hundreds of dollars to be primped, travel, and explore your sexuality is a pretty sweet deal to a young women fresh out of high school and looking to expand their new found self control far past what their previous social, religious, and legal borders allowed them to. That being said, I have never personally had an interest in sex work myself, but I have had a few friends who did choose to go into that industry (whether through cam modeling, doing porn, or dancing) and I’ve never chosen to be anything but supportive of whatever options they choose in life. However, after watching this documentary, I gained a new found respect (as well as worry) that none of my friends have gone through the experiences with the industry that the girls depicted in the documentary went through.
The documentary itself followed five young women aged 18-20 as they left their homes to live in a communal house with their manager. The manager, Jamie, would drive the girls to shoots, clubs, or wherever they may be requested, and in turn they would pay him around $700 a month in rent, utilities, food, etc. to live in his large, L.A. based home. Though none of the girls seemed to particularly mind, Jamie was informal towards them as a manager, to the extent that when one girl was injured during a shoot and chose to leave the industry due to the persistent demand of her boyfriend, he responded to her notice of quitting by telling her that although he hoped the relationship worked out, he doubted that it would and that he wouldn’t be there when she inevetibly came “crawling back”. A lot of the other girls within the documentary had very similar stories by the end, with none of the girls from the start of the documentary having stayed in the house by the end of the six month filming.
All in all, it was a very chilling reminded of how negatively women are still viewed in terms of sex work, even in an industry that supposedly supports just that. To quote the documentary, “A man doing porn can stay in the industry for upwards of 6 years to his lifetime if he honestly feels like it. A women? She’s got a six month shelf life if she’s good at all, and a three month shelf life if she’s stupid about it. There are new 18-year-olds every day, kids.”