It’s taken me ages to get around to watching Hot Girls Wanted on Netflix. Since it’s success at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, it’s been on my “one to watch” list although, given the subject matter, it’s also pretty hard to put aside the time for something that you already know will be uncomfortable viewing, to say the least.
The documentary shines a light on what’s called the “amateur” porn industry in the US and the women who work in it. I’ve “amateur” in inverted commas there because the women who take part in the videos are actually paid. It’s the videos themselves that are considered amateur in that they aim to look fly-on-the-wall rather than the full movie set with professional crew, props, scripts etc.
You can check out the trailer here:
I can’t possibly say that I enjoyed watching it in the true sense of the word but I certainly felt compelled to keep watching through to the end. Even at the very least to find out what happened to the women who are profiled throughout.
I’ll be honest and say that the strongest emotion I was left with was a sense of deep disquiet. Mostly because of the clear disconnect between men and women when it comes to the subject of online pornography as we know it.
Particularly towards the end of the film, the viewer sees more clips – albeit very short ones – of some of the styles of amateur porn that the women engage in, and as a female observer I found a couple in particular quite disturbing and upsetting. Yet interspersed with the porn footage, interviews and observational scenes of the women’s daily lives and conversations, we see statistic after statistic of the astronomical traffic to amateur porn sites, genre by genre, as well as other data on the popularity of the industry compared to other forms of online entertainment.
It’s this part that doesn’t sit well with me. When I can watch something and feel upset by it and yet the stats tell me that what I’m looking at is pretty much socially acceptable given the numbers of people who enjoy it on a regular basis, where does that leave me? Or other women who feel the same? It’s like a parallel universe where apparently we all publicly condemn something and pretend that it’s not pervasive. When the reality is clearly very different.
Hot Girls Wanted makes for difficult viewing but you’ll definitely learn something and it will certainly stick with you. The bigger question really is do you want to go down that path and find yourself asking questions that you mightn’t want to know the answers to. As a mother of a boy, I certainly see many questions opening up in front of me but I’ll tell you honestly I don’t even know where to start with them.
If you’re thinking about checking this out, I’d recommend it as a solo mission when you’ve the place to yourself. Unless you want to get some girlfriends around so that you can all feel uncomfortable together.
If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What else is on?
As the winter nights draw in, my Netflix viewing is turning a little darker. I’m also watching:
Orange is the New Black, Season 3 – I must say that I found season 3 much more enjoyable than season 2 which I felt struggled a little to keep me coming back for more. But the plot picked up the pace again this season and I really enjoyed some of the back stories from smaller characters. Also – and this is not a spoiler alert – delighted the birth scene finally happened, three seasons later!
Orphan Black – I seem to be a terrible latecomer to popular programmes! I’m five episodes into season 1 of this original BBC series and I’m totally hooked. Watched a sneaky one on the laptop yesterday when I was preparing the dinner because I was so sucked in. It’s a fecker for the cliffhangers too.
Master of None – Parks and Recreation fans will flippin love this new series from Aziz Ansari who is the writing genius as well as star of this more adult-themed show. It’s brilliant. You’ll laugh your ass off. I’m looking forward to watching it all.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and received a Netflix subscription and an Apple TV in exchange for reviewing programmes on Netflix. However, as always, all opinions are entirely my own.