A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hot Girls Wanted is an explicit, bleak, but ultimately hopeful documentary about a corner of the porn world called "pro- am," or professional amateurs, featuring girls typically 18 to 21 who enter the porn industry without previous experience to make porn for websites. There's frequent, explicit nudity showing bare breasts and behinds, porn shoots, and lots of scantily clad young women; explicit, often crass discussions of sex; cigarette smoking and some drinking; and a few scenes that show particularly abusive or extreme porn, though it's somewhat out of frame. Profanity is frequent and includes "f--k" and "c--t." The movie highlights not only the endless supply of young women looking to make a fast buck by exploiting themselves but also the lack of regulation in the industry outside of hubs such as Los Angeles. It's not for the faint of heart and best for mature teens and parents prepared to look at a dark and unsavory side of the sex-work industry.
What's the story?
Is it any good?
HOT GIRLS WANTED paints an alarming picture. It's particularly striking when a young man named Riley, the founder of Hussie Models, who recruits young women for Internet porn out of his Florida house, blithely declares, "Every day a new girl turns 18. Every day a new girl wants to do porn. I will never run out." That sets the tone for what follows: increasing levels of exposure, equal parts monotonous and sad, to the daily grind of moving to some dude's house to pay rent, go on porn shoots, and spend most of your money on clothes, makeup, bras and panties, hair styling, and heels to participate in a notoriously unregulated slice of the industry, far away from the more heavily restricted porn industry in California.
The main takeaway here is that these women, like many 18-year-olds before them, are in for their fair share of bad choices. But theirs, driven by a pornified culture that glamorizes porn stardom and makes it seem as easy as a summer job waiting tables, are inordinately focused on fame, good times, and a love of the good life -- as if drawn directly from the lyrics of a hip-hop song. Sadly, they will make far more money doing this than waiting tables, and though most of them stick around for a few months, enough to make a couple grand in fast cash, most end up leaving for one reason or another: pressure from parents, boyfriends, or friends or just the fatigue. But the documentary doesn't do much beyond paint this bleak picture. What is to be done? Hope every wayward girl finds her way out eventually? What's missing is a discussion of how regulation can make a bad choice at least a safer, more stable one for the woman who believes herself to have few other options. How are these girls different from Duke University student Belle Knox, who appears briefly in the film, and ostensibly has choices and still opted in to porn work? Lots to discuss here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Hot Girls Wanted is different from or similar to popular depictions of sex workers. How are the women presented here?
What does the film portray as the ramifications in these women's lives of participating in porn? Do you think the consequences are the same for the men? Why, or why not?
How could the industry be less exploitative of women? What sorts of regulations would be necessary?
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