Thanks to binge-watching clips on youtube, I discovered the trailer for the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. Lucky for me, there was a free Netflix trial coming my way, later and so I got to watch it quite soon after the release date. I have to add that it took my a little while before I actually dared to watch it – I was expecting something like Requiem of A Dream, which – as I vividly remember – was everything but easy to watch. And so, before finally watching the documentary on the very last day of the trial , I kept asking myself if I was ready to see some maybe disturbing content, potentially making me wanna puke. To my great relief, it’s a very well done documentary and co far, I’ve recommended it to everybody I talked to about it.
I was positively surprised about how it was made visually. I guess that, because of the subject, I expected the content to be more explicit and right in your face than it actually is. I’m glad I was wrong and that the documentary is easily accessible, even for a sissy like me.
The French journal Le Figaro describes the documentary as shocking. I wouldn’t use such a strong word. As a guy in the documentray says, porn has become mainstream and boundaries seem to be much lower than they probably used to be 30 years ago. It seems that the common acceptance of it has grown. And therefore, it’s not surprising to me at all that people want to profit from that, producers as well as young girls who think that tehy’re just going to make quick money. Besides, Hot Girls Wanted doesn’t denounce the existence of porn, it rather analyses it, showing different point of views. Instead of relying on the possible shock effect the subject entails, I think the documentary is more about encouraging people to get a wider understanding of the topic and to be critical.
So far, I didn’t have an opinion on porn. I thought if people wanted to make tapes of them or others banging, why not, it doesn’t really affect me. But I start to realize that the impact of porn on society is much bigger than I would have guessed. Before watching Hot Girls Wanted, I had no idea that stuff like torture porn existed. I also wasn’t aware that abuse is very present, to the extent that it’s practically become mainstream. The thought of it makes me feel nauseated and it’s impossible for me to understand how the idea of torture/ abuse / rape can be sexy to somebody supposedly normal. And yet, abuse porn gets around 16 million hits per month and some of the most popular sites even include the mention in their domains.
One could argue that that’s just how porn is, and that hard core niche stuff exists, and that people are acting. But honest question here, has anyone ever considered porn stars as serious actors/actresses? I also doubt that it’s easy to constantly remind oneself that nothing in porn is real and that everybody who’s watching can make that difference.
What worries me are the very weird misconceptions which keep popping up. Just think of how E.L. James glorifies an abusive relationship, and people love it, despite the fact that it’s incredibly poorly written. The wonderfully backward, gender streotype promoting magazine Cosmopolitan France also surprised me: published in the July issue, one article about how to be as sexy as can be in summer actually crept me out. In one paragraph it suggested that when having a picnic, a woman who accidentally cut herself is sexier if the cut bleeds, even sexier if some blood dripped on some carrots, and sexy as hell if she licked the blood from the carrots while staring in the eyes of a man of her choosing. Yeeahhhh…. everybody knows that mutilation always is a big turn-on, as well as blood sucking is. Get some Bella and Edward vibes in your bedroom, ahem, dungeon. Weird that Ozzy Osbourne hasn’t been elected Sexiest Man Alive after he bit off that poor bat’s head.
But even without those rather drastic examples, it’s become evident to me more than once that porn clearly influences our society and the way people interact. All it needs is one click on Instagram in order to see a photo collection of women’s arses (or, to use the correct term which has been invented for that purpose: belfies), under- and sideboobs, and lots and lots of suggestive images.
As for my personal experience, I feel like there’s not much romance going on any more. In a time where everyone can easily find a fuck buddy on Tinder, there’s no need to wait politely and patiently for a third date until getting it on. There were times when I thought of a guy as a real gentleman if he didn’t ask me if I was into anal play on the first date. Or that guy who, not long after I just met him, kept telling me how much he dreamt of face fucking me. When I told him that we didn’t have exactly the same fantasies, he just said “Fine.” and it was the last time I ever heard from him again. I admit that some of my dating choices were obviously very poor. But the actual point I intend to make with those examples is that seemingly, being able to openly talk about sex isn’t that easy sometimes. Instead, in some cases, it’s nothing but a consumed image which is spit out again, sometimes very noisily.
At school, they took sex education very seriously. From a biological point of view, everything had been explained in detail. What we never talked about in class was intimacy and how relationships (are supposed to) work. Another topic that never came up: consent. Although it’s essential. – I also never really talked to my parents about that. And I think, but that’s just a guess, that it’s the same for quite a few of my peers as well as for teens and twens today.
One girl in the documentary stated that she never had sex in real life, but only when she did porn. I find this statement particularily strange. And of course, although this very particular example surely isn’t a common case, I still conjecture that watching what’s a sheer performance for the camera has an impact on the viewers private life, and that comparisons are made in a place where they don’t belong. That being said, I think it’s reassuring, there are initiatives which try to fight that, as for example the website makelovenotporn.com, created by Cindy Gallop. The “Know It” section is quite funny.
For a quick summary of Hot Girls Wanted, the Vice interview with Rashida Jones is pretty good. And for some statistics, you can check out the Forbes article about porn and the internet, or this website, or why not the documentary.
For more posts, go to www.jlouisewinter.com.