FilmDrunk

‘Hot Girls Wanted’ Shames And Further Stigmatizes The Porn Workers It Depicts

THE ADULT FILM MINUTE: Once per month, except for occasionally when it’s more frequent than that, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will be telling us a little bit about what’s going on in adult entertainment and why it should matter to you.

Hot Girls Wanted debuted on Netflix last Friday (5/29). According to the blurb on the screen, this is what it’s about:

This 2015 Sundance Film Festival breakout documentary from producer Rashida Jones spotlights the “amateur” porn industry and the women it exploits.

“…and the women it exploits.”

Hot Girls Wanted follows, to varying degrees, a handful of young women as they navigate the South Florida “pro-am” (professionally produced, lower budget content shot with new or “amateur” performers) porn scene. Each of whom got into the adult industry by responding to Craigslist ads.

There’s Tressa, who’s 19 and from New Braunfels, TX, with one month working pro-am, and Rachel, who’s 18 and from Oswego, IL, with a week and a half in. There’s also Jade, who’s 25 and from Tampa, FL, with two years in and out of the business (Is she still an “amateur”?), along with a handful of others. The ladies live together in a model house owned by their agent, Riley, who’s 23. They pay Riley rent, as well as a 10% cut from the work they book via his agency, Hussie Models.

And we all watch as a version of their truths unfolds…

Hot Girls Wanted attempts to explain one extremely mysterious and complex corner of an extremely mysterious and complex industry – one that everyone loves to marginalize, including the filmmakers. The film showcases the negative, sensationalizes the unfamiliar, and sidelines the positive. It brandishes unsubstantiated and currently unknowable factoids about web traffic (more visits to porn sites than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined?), the overall net worth of various production companies (the top three pro-am sites are worth an estimated $50 million?), and more (some dubious figures about scene rates). It value-judges sexual expression inconsistent with the “correct” and “acceptable” versions it espouses. On just about every level, Hot Girls Wanted is over-generalized, anti-sex work, anti-porn propaganda (and I’m not the first one to have said as much).

Despite this general air of sensational bullsh*t, Hot Girls Wanted did have some poignant moments.

The ladies’ reactions to the Belle Knox “Duke Porn Star” juggernaut and their discussions of sex ed. When Rachel scoffs at the idea of working a low wage job in her hometown and when Tressa breaks down while talking with her mom and boyfriend. When Jade describes how her perspective has evolved as she’s matured and when Karly (19) talks about sex IRL as compared to how porn sex makes her feel. There were moments in the film, opportunities wherein, if they’d actually wanted to, the filmmakers could’ve done some good.

×