Netflix’s Rashida Jones-Produced ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ Trailer Offers Shocking …

30 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Directors Of Rashida Jones-Produced Doc Shine Spotlight On Teenage Girls Lured Into Porn.

Documentaries about sex work always risk falling prey to moralizing that doesn’t have much to do with the well-being of workers themselves. “Hot Girls Wanted,” a new documentary produced by Rashida Jones that arrives on Netflix today, certainly has concerns about the ways in which consumer demands affect the kind of pornography that’s getting produced and the way doing sex work affects the private lives of the women who are its subjects. While Rashida Jones is best known for getting laughs on the big and small screens, the actress has taken on a serious role as producer of a documentary called “Hot Girls Wanted.” The movie focuses on the lives of young women featured in so-called amateur porn films, and Jones stopped by TODAY Wednesday to share why she got involved with the project. “I think porn is now prevalent,” Jones explained. “I mean, it’s almost part of our mainstream.A shocking new documentary examines how the adult film industry lures young women into the world of porn with the promise of fame that ultimately ends in heartbreak, and ET Canada spoke with directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus about the film, produced by former Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones. The stunning documentary reveals the dark side of the subgenre, detailing how barely-legal women are recruited into uncomfortable and compromising situations. The directors’ exploration of a porn series called “Latina Abuse,” that Jade, one of their subjects, stars in, reveals a virulent combination of racism and misogyny.

The subject of women who star in amateur pornographic videos is fascinating, and to get into Sundance it would have to have more perspective than what we all already know. In fact, co-director Ronna Gradus notes, the process often begins with answering an ad on Craigslist. “When we sort of got into this world and met some of the girls, that is indeed true,” she says. “Like, it really is 18-year-olds who answered an ad on Craigslist.” Adds Bauer: “They get a plane ticket from a recruiter, a week later they’re on set.” Gradus is quick to point out that, for most of these women, the goal was to become famous, not necessarily have sex on camera. “Porn was just like their ticket out,” she says. “It’s not that they wanted to be porn stars but they’re kids who wanted to get out of their towns and maybe see a bit of the world and that really was the thing they all had in common.

My Facebook feed is constantly filled with links to the daily outrages—political, social, and religious—that preoccupy my friends, so it’s not as if I need a ninety minute expose on Internet pornography to make me feel like the world around me is a darker, uglier place than the one I grew up in. They were recruited by Riley, who sends them out to shoots that begin as live webcams or “barely legal” shoots but evolve into more extreme, aggressive fetishes. In a way, this model of porn production is a lot like Uber, the service that lets people sign up to provide driving services using their personal cars.

As told from the perspective of some amateur porn stars and Riley, the women face physical and psychological abuse, health concerns and public criticism. Both the new porn model and Uber have some advantages for consumers over the existing service providers, but they also shift major costs and risks onto workers themselves. In the trailer below, the saddest comment of all comes from the fresh-faced young woman who says: “This can’t be good for you to have sex that much, with that many different people. Finally, a few days into my funk, one of my housemates recited Psalm 86:5 as our verse before our evening meal: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” Where there is life, there is still hope.

Unlike legacy cab companies, Uber will tell you exactly who is coming to pick you up and gives you GPS information about how close the driver is and when he or she is expected to arrive, a dramatic improvement over calling for a cab that may never show up (or, if you’re African American, calling for or hailing a cab that then refuses to serve you). The amateur porn boom provides greater variety at more competitive prices than the old studio-based model, and because it’s less dependent on geography, makers of pornographic films can more easily avoid regulations, such as the California requirement that sex performers use barrier protection in their films. We want numbers about all of it, every aspect of it.” So when we set out to make this film, we said, “Okay, we are going to go to the place, the sex research institute that has a lot of credibility.

But lest we think this is just a trap that snares people who haven’t been raised with Christian values, it’s worth noting that when one of the young women is first seen, she is updating her Facebook page. Knox was able to make substantial amounts of money because she capitalized on her notoriety after a fellow student outed her, not because the work is actually remunerative. “Riley [a porn recruiter profiled in the film] said she wouldn’t even have made enough to pay for one class,” Gradus said. “Because there is this concept, and I think especially when you’re 18 or 19, you’re not thinking about net profit, you’re not doing an analysis before you go in. It has a banner that says, “My love story is written by God.” When she tries to explain why she wants to fly halfway across the country to do porn, she says, “You’ve got be selfish once in your life.” Tressa, 19, and Jade, 25, carry Michelle, 19 to her bedroom after she’s fallen asleep on the couch. The film postulates that porn has been destigmatized, at least for the under-twenty crowd, who are a lot more savvy about what the world is selling them than they are about the laws of supply and demand. That might be so, but if it is, it’s because the versions we catch glimpses of in the mainstream have been cherry-picked, like photos from a Theresienstadt ghetto.

Tressa, Rachel, Kelly, and Michelle (I never could get straight which were their real names and which their professional monikers) answer ads on Craigslist, fly to Miami to stay with a broker, sign up for Twitter accounts, and pronounce themselves porn stars. Uber drivers are fighting to be classified as employees, rather than independent contractors, to get access to the benefits and protections that would be due them if they actually worked for the company. For some, the attention is as alien and intoxicating as the wads of cash. “Guys treat you like you’re a princess!” one purrs, lamenting that the old-fashioned, soft-core solicitousness can’t be seen in the real world. “It’s a boost of confidence,” one says, “to know that you’re wanted that much.” A male porn star warns that the average shelf-life of a new model is less than a year, but everything comes so easy early on that none of the ladies can really believe she won’t beat the odds.

If I can pause for a moment here, I would say that I would object to the use of “niche” as a euphemism for “hard core” if I hadn’t already swallowed the bigger lie that the new-to-porn sites somehow classify as “amateur.” This designation apparently means “unscripted,” not, as we might suppose, “unpaid.” That sent me back to George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” In that essay, Orwell reminds us that speech and writing that attempts to defend the indefensible must “consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.” He was talking about political writing, but our social commentary has followed suit. The first was stumbling across Donald Rumbelow’s Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook, which contained autopsy figures of the serial killer’s historical victims.

It’s easy enough to say, “don’t watch porn,” and while that may be a legitimate response to an unblinking description of what porn actually is and does, it hardly seems sufficient. Al Gore’s climate change argument was so numbingly effective that its subject himself admits that he has witnessed many viewers jump from skepticism directly to despair.

Pornography, like climate change, has so many interrelated causes that the notion of confronting them, much less walking back some of them so as to stem the tides that threaten to engulf us, feels futile. By all means, put blocking software on your Internet browsers—and then turn off your televisions, close your magazines, and avert your eyes every time you pass a billboard as you drive to work. I imagine they can only make that extreme porn if there’s a market for it, so I’m thinking why is the audience for “abuse porn” there in the first place?

If we can’t restigmatize porn on a broader cultural level, perhaps we can hold up a bracing picture of reality for those who are tempted to believe the lies. I think it’s kind of like okay, let’s question ourselves, all of us because whatever’s popular on the internet isn’t popular just because there’s supply. The documentary might be the porn equivalent of pictures of fetuses used by abortion protestors—the visceral shock to the sensibilities that momentarily cuts through the cultural rhetoric saturated in Orwellian vagaries and euphemisms. Given the pervasive existence of pornography and the earlier and earlier exposures to it, I’m skeptical that any single teaching tool or experience is an effective deterrent.

Ronna Gradus: His theory, Bryant Paul, is that the reason it’s happening on the production side is that it’s so much harder to monetize pornography now because of the internet. I’ve heard stories of kids caught smoking whose parents have made them smoke the whole pack at once to create a viscerally negative experience—a sort of amateur aversion therapy.

If we have this kind of thing and add in this hardcore thing and then this other kinky thing, they can slice up the clip to various sites and make more money that way. But just as arguments against marijuana can’t be limited to its being a gateway drug, arguments against pornography can’t be built around hard care examples alone. That said, if I had a teenaged son or daughter, I would seriously consider watching and discussing the film with them (though please note the very graphic nature of the film as enumerated below).

Ronna Gradus: Riley’s a nuanced character and we tried really hard not to villainize him because really from his perspective, he is just catering to a need that already exists. Although the documentary doesn’t show the act, it does give us about ten seconds of the aftermath, where she is further humiliated by being forced to clean the mess off the floor with her mouth.

We were at Indiana University at Kinsey a couple of weeks ago and Rachel, Ava Taylor XXX was her porn name, someone in the classroom asked her about Riley. You know how the process works where you work with an attorney and you kind of state your case and battle it out to say, “No, this is important and relevant.” It wasn’t that hard.

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