‘Hot Girls Wanted’… For a month or two

hot-girls-wanted

Rashida Jones’ documentary, Hot Girls Wanted (now available on Netflix), explores the world of “amateur porn,” a booming industry thanks to a never ending influx young women, ready and willing, no coercion required.

This reality might, initially, appear to support the popular liberal feminist model that says so long as we’re talking about consenting adults, everything is A-OK. Instead, it tells a much more complex story, proving that simplistic approach to be far more dangerous than many are willing to admit.

Reviews from both The Guardian and The New York Times (both written by men) stubbornly avoid moving beyond decades-old cliches about feminist critiques of pornography. Jordan Hoffman at the Guardian writes the film off as a “scared-straight manifesto” and “a considerable flub” for “anyone who has read a newspaper,” by which I assume he means “any member of the general public who has bought into mainstream discourse and pop culture representations of the porn industry,” as he clearly has.

We want our porn, we want it now, and we don’t want to think about the consequences. Those who do are clearly uneducated, irrational, and deceptive in their critiques.

The New York Times’ Mike Hale takes a thinly-veiled “these ladies are prudish crones” stance, writing that directors, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus and writer, Brittany Huckabee, are unable to reconcile the “challenge” they are faced with: “Respecting the right of their subjects to make the choices they do while abhorring those decisions.” He says this failure results in a film that presents “an uncertain tone that vacillates between weary outrage and motherly concern.”

Hale, apparently, didn’t watch the same film I did. That or he already made up his mind long ago that no woman was going to tell him what.

The very clear message of Hot Girls Wanted is that “choice” and “consent” are deeply insufficient and misleading lenses through which we should view the impact of pornography on women and society as a whole.

There is no need to “reconcile” what Hale presents as two oppositional realities because “respecting a woman’s choice” to do pornography is not what this discussion is about.

The influx of young women — literally “barely legal,” in order to satiate consumer demand for the youngest girls possible, at 18 years old — eager to get into porn, is no exaggeration. As Riley, a 23-year-old “manager” featured in the film (whose job is to house these new recruits and drive them to shoots) says all he has to do is post a Craigslist ad, and he instantly gets countless responses.

It is true that there is no coercion happening, in an immediate sense. The “coercion,” rather, has already taken place over years as children and teens are groomed to view porn as fun, glamourous and, in fact, inseparable from the pop culture they’ve been ingesting for so long. The young women featured in the film, brand new to the industry, believe that the porn world is exciting, that is will bring them fame and fortune, that it is an escape from the mundane. They believe that performing in porn makes them powerful. When I get big, when I get big, when I get big, they say, over and over again. Getting “big” will happen for none of them, of course, but these women have learned that this is how stars become stars — from Kim Kardashian to Belle Knox to so many pop stars like Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus — the message is that pornification is sexy, normal, and a route towards success. The way they talk about the industry and their imagined futures is as though they think they’re in a rap video. Money, sex, power.

But, like all “power” gained through sexualization, it’s short-lived.

One male porn performer, John Anthony, explains just how quickly young women are used up and spat out by the industry. “The shelf life of a girl is — worst-case scenario — one to three months. Ok-case scenario? Three to six months. Best-case scenario? A year. Tops.”

When I get big.

The amateur porn industry, in particular, likes new faces. They shoot a “girl” (their language) a couple of times and that’s it…. Of course, that’s not it. Because those images are out there, online, forever, for men to use and profit from indefinitely. Those experiences are forever, too…

“You’re just processed meat,” a young woman named Rachel (known as Ava Taylor in the porn world) says in the film. The industry, she says, sees the women they use as “boobs, a vagina, and an ass — that’s all that matters. They don’t care about who you really are.”

The women permitted to stay in the industry after the first month or so get old fast. Over 25?  You’re relegated to doing “MILF” porn. Anyone younger has to be able to pass as a “teen.” It’s what the consumer wants, after all.

Themes in these porn videos are incestuous and non-consensual — teaching men and boys alike that rape and coercion is hot. Titles include: “Virgin Manipulations” and “Daddy’s Girl Gets Filled” and feature much older men (father and uncle figures) and what are meant to be teen girls. One of the more popular sites is literally called “ExploitedTeens.com.” The “consensual adults” line pushed on us by liberal media is laughable when you acknowledge what it is that consumers really want: exploited, non-consenting, underage girls who are not enjoying the acts inflicted on them. They don’t want empowered adult women. Men don’t look at porn to see sexually liberated, powerful women.

Most major amateur porn companies will only book a “girl” two or three times, after which they have to start doing “niche-oriented jobs.” This means bondage, S&M, and generally more extreme, more violent acts.

One Latina woman named Jade (aka Ava Kelley) tells the camera that her first porn shoot was a Facial Abuse scene (a forced blow job, in other words). The Facial Abuse scene, she says, consists of extreme oral sex aimed at making the girl vomit. In Jade’s case, she specifies that what she does is called “Latina Abuse,” wherein the sexual abuse happens while men hurl racist and misogynist slurs at her until she vomits. The men then force to eat her own vomit as they continue to call her names.

The reality is that the sex industry is one of the most racist industries around. Men who pay for sex, whether through porn or prostitution, do not love and respect the women they use. Rather, they hate them.

This is evidenced by the abuse and violence johns hurl at prostituted women while using them as well as by what we see in pornography. Three Leicester City soccer players were sent home recently after a video taken during a team trip to Thailand showed them taking turns having sex with and hurling racist insults at a Thai woman. The Telegraph reports,

One of the players is heard calling one of the women a “slit eye” and another shouts out “minging – an absolute one out of 10” as his friends laugh.

The question of “choice,” insisted upon by liberals, men, and industry advocates, is not the issue, unless we are prepared to frame women as having chosen racism, incest, and rape.

“If they’re watching it on the internet they aren’t doing it to an actual girl,” Jade says about her “Latina Abuse” scenes. Almost as though the women in porn aren’t meant to be seen as “real women.” Almost as though we are to believe Jade isn’t real (or that she believes she is not “real,” herself). As though male fantasies don’t happen to real women and girls.

In 2014, porn sites like these averaged over 60 million hits per month. This isn’t a minority. This isn’t just a few porn videos in the Dark Web. This is porn. Real porn watched by “regular” men and “normal” boys. And it happens to real women and girls.

 

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Rachel

    Denial is a pretty powerful thing isn’t it?! I can’t believe…well actually I can believe it, I just wish it were different… That the men critiquing the documentary are really that deep in denial that they just cannot see the coercion that women experience from the very moment they are born to be pieces of meat. Even more so now than ever. I always said ten years or so ago, that even though I felt so lucky to have an education and go to university and persue a career, I just felt like women were repressed in other ways, mainly by being expected to be sexual piece of pie that fits a particular look. But unfortunately at the time I didn’t know of feminism, and my words were just laughed at by friends and family. I was constantly shut up with the Evo psych babble and just didn’t have the resources to refute it at the time. And I suspect that this documentary will also be refuted with the “but but but men want young girls because they are wired to want them for their superior breeding abilities and they look good. and and and young girls want older men because they want money and status and need to look good to attract them. It’s the natural order of things! Just like ‘insert any animal that backs up their claims and isn’t remotely human’ “. Gross. Makes me feel sick.

    I’m so glad you pointed out this priming of young women to be pieces of meat from theor childhood. It literally is like tenderising a piece of meat isn’t it!? And it’s true, these images will be around on the internet forever. Not only will most future bosses and male colleagues probably have seen them on the net, after they’ve finished their education or whatever it is they expect to pay for with the sales of their bodies, but in the future when and if they come to understand the “choice” they made as coerced impressionable young women, they will never be able to get rid of those images or that experience. It makes me sad.

    Ugh. This world makes me so sad and really gets me down on the hope of ever having a fair relationship with men. Especially these days. It seems like they are being swayed to become more depraved and desperate for power through the pornification of …well, everything. And it just becomes more obvious that very few have any intention to change when they are not even willing to entertain the issues that come along with porn. They refuse to admit that their sexualisation of young women…and sadly, girls now too, isn’t the result of some innate drive, but brainwashing through the patriarchy so that they can still feel big and powerful and in control as a response to women being more outspoken in other ways.

    Well fuck it. I’m not getting back into any box. I don’t care if I never find the relationship of my dreams. I have high standards and they’re there for a reason. I’m sick of being shamed by men, the media, girlfriends, and ‘sex positive feminists’ for having these standards. I’m so glad I found this website and othe like minded people who actually see things for what they are. Porn has no place in my life. Not only because of the exploitation of the girls and women that apparently ‘participate willingly’ but also because of the detrimental affects on a large scale and the way that any future partner could view me and the important women and girls in my life.

    • Tim

      Your point about denial, very true; it is powerful when people can look right at something in a documentary yet. That is what it is; the thing is being documented. And if those two male reviewers mentioned even watched it (I haven’t read the reviews but may later), it’s hard to imagine how they could not get it. It is a very well-made film and it’s right there in front of you.

      I think there are other people in denial for other reasons. Millions of men who watch this stuff know what they are doing, even if they try to pretend it is harmless. But I think millions of others, the more “respectable liberals” and others, haven’t and wouldn’t watch the type of really violent, degrading stuff they had these women doing, so they honestly don’t know what they’re talking about when they say porn isn’t so bad or it’s just sex; it’s free speech, etc. They may have seen “adult films” that are basically “vanilla” type sex, even if very graphic in the details shown and think that is the extent of it (not that there aren’t also problems with that). They are talking about one thing when they say porn while critiques like that in this film are talking about a different, related, but much worse thing.

      The very vileness of this stuff works against talking about it honestly. For example, you are at a social gathering and the subject comes up and the “it’s just sex” idea is expressed and somebody starts spouting the evo psych BS you mentioned about men being wired to want young women for reproduction, etc. What are you going to say? I would be tempted to say something like, “do you even know what is in those films? Have you heard of ‘face abuse’? It is when a guy makes a woman [description of exactly what is done]” Am I going to be brave enough to say that? I don’t know, probably not.

      That’s why this film could be really useful to get out there. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that people who could benefit from it won’t see it.

      • Rachel

        That is so true – it would be extremely difficult to bring up what actually happens in these films in public in response to people who say “it’s just sex”. I also would be tempted to say something like that, but would probably not! I’d probably take the route of starting with the way porn re-wires your brain, or start by refuting the Evo psych stuff now I have more knowledge. But again, as you said – this more degrading porn/ shady side of the industry would probably be left unspoken about and it’s what keeps this stuff going. That’s a good point too, the ones who should be watching this kind of doco more than likely wouldn’t.

        • bella_cose

          I’d just like to point out that this ‘more degrading porn/ shady side of the industry’ is the industry, and it is mainstream porn. This is what those liberal men are watching and defending, make no mistake.

          The evo psych arguments always irritate me. They conveniently overlook the fact that the quality of sperm degrades after men hit 35, and technically, if a woman was motivated by evolution to procreate, she would only have sex with young men. Of course, it makes total sense if you ignore that women have had, and still have, less access to resources, and tend to have to go through men for them. Logic and reality are not popular with the evo psych crowd. Pornography, prostitution, and pedophilia are though.

          • Rachel

            I didn’t know about men’s sperm quality decreasing after age 35! Thanks for this info – always good to have more when you come across people spouting that crap, and it’s just good for the brain because it’s so easy to get disheartened and start thinking you’re wrong (I do anyway sometimes, and I start to question myself and my intelligence, which I think often comes down the the conditioning that men are the ultimate authority). I started pointing out lately to a male friend that he questions everything I say, to the point where he will go to friends and ask if I’m right (on a range of subjects). Not that I shouldn’t be questioned obviously! Everyone has the right to question people. But it just seems a bit strange that he seems to be the authority in conversations and I’m always the silly little girl ‘trying to learn’ aw isn’t she cute! I’ve only started realising how engrained this really is.

          • esme

            Evo psych babble gets on my nerves too. They frequently claim that the best years for women to have a baby are actually the teenage years. This is demonstrably false. Teenagers experience a higher risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth than older women because their bodies are not physically ready to carry a baby to term in most cases. But evo psych dudes will say anything to justify their gross lust for underage girls.

    • The Real Cie

      I didn’t find a good man until I stopped looking. I had been celibate for 16 years and was fully considering staying that way. My fellow is admissibly a rare bird, and I’m holding onto him tooth and nail. It’s hella better to be alone than to be with someone who treats you as a pet at best and a blowup doll or even a punching bag at worst.
      Hold onto those high standards. Everyone sneered at me for doing so, but I’m glad I did. I was constantly being told that I’m “not getting any younger,” as if somehow getting into a relationship–any relationship–would stop me from getting older. I had it implied to me more than once that because I’m fat and not conventionally attractive I should consider myself lucky to get attention from even the sleaziest of dudebros, who would always put me down when I didn’t respond to their disgusting advances because they believed that someone who looks like me must be desperate.
      I hate to use the “not all men” chestnut, but not all men are sleazeballs. The sad truth is that often even the ones who seem like good guys on the surface are in fact Nice Guys (TM) and their true colors come out the first time you disagree with them on how women should be treated, i.e. not like a pet or an object.

      • Rachel

        Oh my gosh, I get the “you’re not getting any younger” all the time now! From my family and friends. And people constantly wanting to set me up. I literally got out of a violent relationship only a few months ago, where I was suicidal and isolated and yet all people are worried about is that I’ve gained some weight back and I’m aching. When I was a teenager and in my early 20s I guess I fit the ‘conventional beauty standard’ but never thought I did – and guess what? I was so severely unhappy, and so severely used and abused by men, and had no real close relationships with other young women as we were brought up to see each other as competition. It’s frustrating that people can be so concerned about such stupid shallow things. I probably do want a family, but I don’t want it at the price of my self respect and dignity.

        I’m so happy to read your story though so thank you for replying! I’ve kind of decided lately that I’m just going to concentrate on me, and be totally ok with the fact my dream relationship may never happen. But it’s still nice to read accounts of people who have found a good man, because it helps me have that glimmer of hope that I could expand in the case I come across someone like that. I wouldn’t want to be totally closed off and miss the opportunity of something amazing if it does happen to come my way. But if not, oh well! There’s been plenty of kick arse women who have made it in life without a man! Stevie nicks is my current favourite.

        • esme

          I just want to say how much I relate to your experience of being conventionally attractive in my twenties and being used and abused by men to such a degree that it was exhausting. I felt hunted. I got in relationships just so I would have an excuse to keep all the other dudes at bay, or at least some of them.

          Hang in there and be true to yourself. Compromising will only lead to more complicated problems later on. Do what is right for you.

          • Rachel

            I’m so glad you can relate, not because I’m happy you experienced that, but because it makes me feel more sane in examining my experience. Sometimes when you say that, people don’t understand how it’s not a positive thing, like boo hoo she was conventionally attractive lets get out the tiny violin. But the thing is, when your worth is based on something so shallow and fickle, you live in fear of losing it. Not only that, I can only say now that I was conventionally attractive in my past. In know way did I believe I was at the time! I was constantly in a state of fear and shame. I have no idea if I’m conventionally attractive now, but I’m guessing not so being in my late 20s. However I don’t bother with all the primping and priming that I used to. People often comment that I should do the tanning, get my hair done, do my makeup more and wear the ‘cute sexy’ clothes that I used to. But for what? Why? To appease men again? I can’t be bothered with it. Like you mentioned, being conventionally attractive doesn’t make you happy or immune to abuse. And so it makes my blood boil when people put this pressure on girls so that they attract a man early and don’t get ‘left on the shelf’. As if marriage and babies creates security?!

            you are so right that compromising on important values is only going to make things worse. I’d rather be alone than compromise. Sometimes I worry that I won’t make it in life without a man, but then I realise that I’ve spent my whole life trying to fit into a mould that they’ve created, and trying to look after them while simultaneously being told it’s not enough. Surely without that complication life will be easier! Again, I’m so glad I found this website!

          • L

            “Sometimes I worry that I won’t make it in life without a man, but then I realise that I’ve spent my whole life trying to fit into a mould that they’ve created, and trying to look after them while simultaneously being told it’s not enough. Surely without that complication life will be easier!”

            You’ll be fine! Society constantly tells women that the worst thing we can be is single…that the happiest most important day is when you get a husband. And until you get a husband, your life is incomplete. I’m in my late 20’s and have been single pretty much my entire life and I’ve been very happy. Tbh, the only thing I don’t like about it is when people pity me or act like I am so horrible blight to society because I’m not too interested in finding a romantic partner.

          • Rachel

            That is a really frustrating part – being pitied by people when there really is no reason for it. You are so right though, it’s all just conditioning, which this site is helping me, and probably so many others, to break through.

          • esme

            I am sorry people around you are so fixated on looks and unsympathetic to your feelings. Let’s face it, even when men find you attractive, they still don’t treat you like a person, but like a nice shiny thing. You get attention but a lot of it is unwanted. Turning down offers is tricky. If you are too polite they assume no means yes. If you are too harsh they can go from nice to dangerously hostile in seconds. You can’t go anywhere or do anything in peace.

            Men do these things to all women to a greater or lesser extent I think, but if they think you are such a good looking object, I think they do it more. Getting older and less visible has been great in my book. Now I go about my business without anyone bothering me.

            It is nice when you find someone attractive and they think the same about you, but most of the male attention I received at that age wasn’t that type of attention. A lot of it was unwanted. And a good deal of it was creepy. Strange men following me taking pictures, men making lewd comments, etc. And I am not so full of myself to think I was as attractive as my most conventionally beautiful friends and this isn’t boasting. Men try to divide us up and make us compete with each other on their terms. When women buy into this even the “winners” aren’t really getting anything but what men are willing to let them have for as long as they will let them have it. The reward for being most pleasing to men is you get to keep trying to please men…And fearing that your currency is dropping every year. It is much better to please yourself.

            Sorry for the long tirade but yes I think I get it and I think everyone else here does too. I have learned a lot and found a lot of things for further reading on this site. It means a lot to me too. It’s one of the few places that really feels safe on the internet and is always enlightening.

          • Rachel

            Yep, exactly! It’s like being a trophy. And exactly, it’s not boasting but men do divide us all up and make us enemies competing for their attention. It’s so sick really. “You get to keep trying to please men…and fearing that your currency is dropping every year. It is better to please yourself.” Ah so true! Even if you bag a guy when you’re ‘young and hot’ doesn’t mean he’s going to be nice, or respect you, or even stay. I couldnt think of many worse things than marrying a man and stressing about them leaving. Well I could think of worse things obviously but I mean taking away tragedies in life, and concentrating on choices. Don’t apologise, it’s all great to read!

    • Rocio

      Ya I’ve thought about, maybe we should be fighting for women to have the right to control photos and video of them in the nude or performing sexual acts so that if they ever decide they no longer want them up, the company that owns them would have to take them down and stop distributing it. Sure many men would still have them and they’d probably survive on torrent sites etc but at least women would have the right to get them taken down from as many places as they like. That’d be a hard thing to do in the capitalist economy that thinks the photographer or videographer has all the rights but it’d be a good thing to fight for.

      Also it’s amazing that the youtube type porn sites haven’t been successfully sued for their allowing anyone to post anything without checking that all the people in the video consented to it being publicized. If they had to actually get in writing consent for videos to be posted that’d be good bc a good percentage of those videos are probably revenge porn and were not intended to be put out on the internet. At least one of those sites has admitted they get a significant number of take down requests from women who say they didn’t agree to have a private video shared online. (And that’s just the tiny fraction who realize that that’s happening to them!)

  • The Real Cie

    The reason that people get into this line of work tends, I believe, to be desperation, first and foremost. Everyone is desperate for money. There are times when I thought that if I were younger and considered conventionally attractive, I might even consider doing it. Certainly not because I want to, but because I’m so far behind on my bills that it’s not even funny, and this is with working a full time job.
    Of course you’re absolutely right that porn is made to seem glamorous in this day and age. While I fully believe in having sympathy for sex workers (for lack of a better term) I don’t for a second believe that the majority of sex workers actually feel “empowered” by their work. I think they’re doing it to pay the bills.
    It’s been said that the percentage of those who make it big in the arts (acting, music, visual arts, writing) is around one percent. I imagine that the percentage of those who make it Jenna Jameson big in porn is less than one percent. I believe that the majority of porn is not the glossy mainstream stuff, but the seedy underbelly stuff. It is far from an “empowering” industry for women to work in.

    • Julianna

      Yes, Cie, but if you look at the corporate-run industries, particularly in music, acting and the arts, the same thing is at work. The casting couch is a real thing.

      There is a whole lot of silence around the issue, though, but if you dig around, you can find a lot. There was even a documentary about it that got no-platformed, basically. (The movie is called “An Open Secret,” if you want to look it up. I have not seen it as it seems to be censored and never got a distributor, but it mainly concentrated on boys abused in the industry. I guess the forever-exploitation of girls and women in the same industry are not interesting enough for a doc, as it is biz as usual, but i thought this film was an important step in shining a light on it and could have at least started a discussion.)

      We need to get away from corporate-run entertainment, IMO. It is exploitative and hurts women and children. Hollywood is rotten to the core. I would say it is even evil, but the concept of evil is just SO YESTERDAY AND PURITAN with leftists these days. It almost (ahem) seems like the current, dominant system thrives on debasing women and children, and by extension, everyone else.

      I don’t know the answer as people seem very wedded to their media. I have stopped consuming mainstream media for the most part, but I still have a few shows I watch on netflix from time to time.

      Oh, and Cie, I was not arguing with you… Mostly just going off with my own thoughts after reading your comment.

      Thanks!

      • Julianna

        Okay, replying to my own comment.. After I posted this, I checked the status of the documentary “An Open Secret” the next day, and it finally got a distributor. Looks like it will be shown in 20 US cities this month. (I don’t know about other countries…)

        I do hope it shows in my own city so I can finally see it!

        BTW, the director, Amy Berg, previously made a doc on pedo priests that won a lot of awards; I think she may have even been nominated for an Academy Award, but I am too lazy to check it right now. But yeah, she did not come out of nowhere or anything.

        This topic is an interest of mine (abuse, rape and pedophilia by the elite) because I want these people exposed, named, and shamed. Remember Jeffrey Epstein?

        I just hate it so much because growing up, it was “unthinkable” that the “pillars of society” would do this stuff. And I knew it was a lie. I just want it exposed.

        Thanks for listening. 🙂

    • L

      Cie, your and my comment must have been approved at the same time, cuz I was just asking what percentage of porn stars make it big. So for every Jenna Jameson, there are probably a million women struggling through porn to pay the bills.

  • Buster Brown

    Oh my, what would men do, specifically on the Left, if not for the Religious Right? After all, the Religious Right provides them with the justification to ignore the depravity of the Sex Industry, and its abuse of women. We can even throw in the debate on transgenderism. Like pornography or prostitution, no one but the Religious Right are permitted to pontificate on that subject, either. Well, that is, in the Mainstream Media of America. Why? So the opposition can be thoroughly discounted. They love to put the fire and brimstone, you’re going to Hell crowd on. It allows men to continue to get their pornography fix- rest assured that a religious argument is insignificant. After all, those religious kooks are anti-sex. Their ideas of sexuality are antiquated. They’re hypocrites. Women love being porn actresses. So let’s all have a laugh. Let Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, or Stephen Colbert have a go with them. They’ll mock them and their bibles. We all have a great laugh with those sexually repressed neanderthals. But Gale Dines, Sheila Jeffreys or Robert Jensen won’t be invited for the discussion. That we cannot have. Oh no. A rational, logically response will not be permitted. Those fellas on the Left, who claim to be a friend of feminists, don’t want to hear it. Look at how they paraded Larry Flynt around as a hero of free speech? When women tried to remind them of Flynt’s overt sexual exploitation of women- as well as his blatant racism, they ignored it.

    Moreover, a few months ago, I saw Rashida Jones being interviewed by Chris Hayes on MSNBC. As soon as I saw that the subject was about her movie on the Porn Industry, I immediately turned the station. I knew it was going to be fluff. I was already aware that sometime ago Gale Dines was to appear on MSNBC in a discussion about pornography. Melissa Harris Perry was to conduct the segment on her show. Gale Dines received a phone call canceling her appearance. A pro-porn activist appeared in her place. With all of the touting of free speech in America, it’s only free if those media conglomerates that dominate the airwaves say so. As long as free speech isn’t a threat to someone’s bottom line, or, does not support the dominant male narrative… well that’s free speech in America.

    Lastly, here is an example of how some men on the Left justify the use of pornography. Please go to YouTube. In the search engine type “Secular Talk ‘Women Should ‘Leave Any Man That Views Porn’. Secular Talk is a so called progressive channel.

    • S.Law

      I still say that people who call themselves progressive but are really libertarians should be honest about their true politics. Supporting porn and the sex industry isn’t really progressive. It is part of the libertarian stance on things. Anything goes … well not really … ’cause libertarians don’t seem to like it when people talk back and question their positions. Witness Nikki Craft (nostatusquo.com and http://www.nikkicraft.com) work which irritated the ACLU quite a bit. Even the act of ripping up porn or refashioning the printed versions into clothing seemed to raise their ire.

      http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/Porn/index.html

      I think her work was rather ‘fun’. I am not sure about what she is involved in now. But when the Internet was new to me (late 1990s) it was nice to know that people like her were ‘out there’.

  • L

    I am really interested in seeing this movie!! I think a big part of the issue is how people understand choice, coercion, force….like when you do something, people say “well you didn’t have a gun to your head”…we understand force and choice in very specific and limited ways…so as long as a woman doesn’t have a gun in her face and (gets paid) its her choice and thus can’t be criticized.

    A couple things I’m hoping the movie discusses: how much do these women make per shoot? I cant imagine its that substantial. And what percentage of stars make it big like Jenna Jameson or Sasha Grey and etc? And to what extent do women really have the power to refuse to refuse to participate in certain acts?

    And I’ve been thinking about what it would mean/what do feminist think it means to be a sexually liberated woman? I feel like the current understanding of sexually liberated is a coded way of saying you sleep with a larger number of people/are public with your “sexuality” through sexy photos, dress and etc.

    • Rachel

      I totally agree that ‘sexually liberated woman’ is just a fancy way of saying basically…self exploitation now. I actually have thought that for a while, but have found very few places that have also agreed with this line of thinking until I found this site. For me, I feel like a sexually liberated woman is confident in her sexuality. Knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to go for it. I think a sexuality liberated woman could possibly enjoy the sharing her body with lots of people in public in the form of photos and revealing clothes…only because I don’t want to totally close off the choices she may have. However I say that very cautiously because I really believe that when it comes down to it, most women that choose that route are doing it for validation. And unfortunately when you’re looking for validation from others, your immediately giving your power away jmo. A sexually liberated women doesn’t have anything to prove imo, so it’s not as easy as being able to spot her and identify her as liberated, because she’s not showing off her sexuality. And I really feel like that is very few women in reality, which makes me sad! It’s something that I strive for though. I’m really interested to see other people’s responses, that are probably a lot better articulated than mine!

      • L

        To Rachel: “For me, I feel like a sexually liberated woman is confident in her sexuality. Knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to go for it.”

        I think this captures some of what sexual liberation is..are you using confident to mean comfortable with her sexuality? Because I feel like when we talk about a woman who is confident in her sexuality, its coded to mean with sleeping with a lot of people or doing every/any sexual thing that a partner asks for.

        “A sexually liberated women doesn’t have anything to prove imo, so it’s not as easy as being able to spot her and identify her as liberated, because she’s not showing off her sexuality.” Hmm, does this mean sexual liberation means being private with your sexuality?

        I think part of women’s sexual liberation would also be financial, ie. you are having sex because you want to not because if you don’t your husband/boyfriend/fiancé will punish you financially for not having sex/doing a certain sex act.

        • rachel

          I agree that when we say ‘confident’ with her sexuality, it basically means sleeping with everyone who asks, and doing whatever they want. By ‘we’ I’m talking about society as a whole. But I personally don’t agree with that definition. To me, confident means comfortable. As in, she loves herself, and feels good about her sexuality, and doesn’t have the sexual pressures from society to define her sexuality on their terms. However, this may be part of definition for a sexually liberated woman, but I understand that not many (if any) women can really ever achieve that, considering the way that the patriarchy shapes the definition of women’s sexuality as being…for men basically. Like, the whole ‘look at all these empowered, naked, sexual women…they are so liberated’, but in actuality they are just participating in self exploitation for validation from men.

          When I said that a sexually liberated women ‘has nothing to prove’ I don’t mean she necessarily has to be private with her sexuality (I don’t want to define exactly what sexuality would be too an individual, because we are all different I guess). But I just mean that in an ‘ideal’ world she wouldn’t need to be naked, and exploiting herself, because she wouldn’t have anything to prove. But again, we’re discussing this is the context of the patriarchy, so it’s really hard to tease out the details and know exactly how to define a ‘sexually liberated’ woman. I feel that it’s really so rare to have that in society (not because I don’t think women are capable of it), but because society makes it impossible for women to get to that point.

          I’m not sure if I’m making much sense, I’m finding it difficult to articulate what I mean. Though overall, I don’t think that the definition that society has of sexual liberated women, is accurate at all. I think ‘sexually liberated woman’ is just code for ‘more nakedness for men, but under the guise of empowerment, just to keep women in their place’.

          Also, I have to say I don’t feel many men are sexually liberated either. I understand that they are in the position of power and have far more leeway to do whatever they want sexually with women, and treat women in degrading, disgusting ways. But what I mean is, men’s sexuality has been so warped by the patriarchy, that I don’t even think men are true to themselves and in actual fact, are missing out by not having an equal relationship with women.

          Just as

          • Meghan Murphy

            Ya, when we (men especially) say “confident in her sexuality,” they mean they perform sexuality for the male gaze enthusiastically. It’s a subtle bullying technique, imo. Either you are insecure and prudish or you are ‘confident’ (i.e. you please men sexually). Makes me wanna scream.

          • hak

            “It’s a subtle bullying technique”

            Agree. This concept doesn’t even have a definition (like if you try to criticize any pop star or porn movies, you’ll be labeled “sl*t shamer/against the “choice of women to express their sexuality”/sex shamer/etc”, but people will never explain to you what this exactly means, they just want you to shut up because you’ve a different point of view)

            And I’ve seen libfem (you know, “feminists should support ALL CHOICES, bc that’s what feminism is about blabla”) saying that anyone who dares to criticizes these concepts must be a republican. So yeah, it’s the same old ~progressive whore/close minded prude~ patriarchal dichotomy rhetoric again.

            I think this mentality of “everything about male orgasms and objectification is progressive, and if you don’t think so you’re conservative/anti sex” is very abusive bc it clearly implies that you have no right to be critical.

            So yeah, these concepts basically are just a way to silence/defame people.

    • Priscila

      I know, right? Mainstream definition of “sexual liberation” seems to be “do everything and anything MEN want you to do”.

      This is not going to liberate women AT ALL, ever. It’s just more and more of the same old slavery.

      • L

        To Priscilla: Yep, and if you don’t want to do any and everything (no matter how violent or demeaning it is), you are painted as a prude or sexually repressed.

        While I may still be working out a definition of sexual liberation, I certainly don’t think it includes doing things that cause you pain or make you feel uncomfortable or miserable.

        I don’t want to control or limit a woman’s exploration of her sexuality, but criticism of women’s sexuality has long been tied up with religious, conservative discourse..so when women critique sexuality (and how sexuality is represented) we are automatically lumped in with the same group of people who think masturbation and birth control is evil.

        • Priscila

          Yeah, like Meghan said, either you’re “confident” to the male terms or you’re anti-sex. I had earlier an OkCupid profile that described me as largely “less confident” than straight women my age and I wanted to laugh. I might not be an example of sexual confidence (and I don’t really care about being one) but I knew exactly why they had given me that trait.

          To me, part of what means to be sexually liberated is to free yourself from the obligation to try. Might not be “the answer” but has helped me to feel more comfortable with mine.

          • Anna

            “part of what means to be sexually liberated is to free yourself from the obligation to try.”

            ^^^

            I think a lot of women want the freedom to not even have to bother, and that a lot of those women don’t even know they want that because the conversation is so far over in the “everybody loves sex and wants to be having it all the time and if you don’t you should change your mind so that you do” territory, we don’t even realize we could just opt out. (That is, if we are lucky enough to have “opt out” as one of our choices.)

    • Tim

      They do go into the fees somewhat. There was one scene where one of the women was talking about what she had for that week. It was a couple of “regular” shoots that didn’t involve anything too far out, and then an extra thing that did (I don’t really want to describe it, and I may even be remembering it slightly wrong). It was a sort of package deal and I think she was getting $2500, or only $2000 if she didn’t do the extra thing. I guess that would be quite a bit of money for a week, but considering what you would have to do, I don’t know whether you would say it is substantial or not. Riley, they guy who was their “manager,” they said at one point that he got 10 percent of what they made.

      After they’ve been doing this for a month or so, they are no longer “new faces,” so they have to start doing “niche” work, like the abuse scenes mentioned in the post above.

      • L

        Thanks, Tim! Let’s say you do this for 1 year when you turn 18 and make 2000 weekly, taking away 10% for the manager each week…that would still work out to 86,4000 before taxes. I guess what people consider a substantial amount of money really varies…but I think that is a pretty substantial amount when you compare it to the salaries of most of the jobs you can get when you are 18-21. Now, whether its really worth it is definitely up for debate, but I can understand why even the most self-respecting woman would be tempted to do porn for that kind of money.

  • Dolores

    BRB taking ativan to deal with the truth.

  • Eli

    I agree that desperation can be part of it, but also these are young women brought up with the mainstream media/music videos/”fashion” magazines, etc. that are so incredibly pornified so they probably are thinking it’s not so bad or it’s “normal” and even complimentary to be considered so “hot” to be filmed this way. And in fact, it IS the norm and not too far off from sexting or making personal videos, which many young people do. This is what boys and men are brought up in as well, so it’s as though everyone is brainwashed. I have to wonder, though, how those male reviewers would feel if it were actually THEIR daughters going into this line of “work.” Or their sisters or partners. Also, so many people fail to consider that these are young women who are still teenagers or very young adults making these “decisions” (and I also question the whole “choice” thing when there is really LACK of choice, grooming and coercion going on). Moreover, in recent years it has been understood that the brain is still not fully developed until well into the 20s. Not to say that older teens and young adults are impaired or lack the ability to make good decisions, but certainly this is something to consider when talking about things like “agency” and “choice” concerning women who are so young. Just because they reach the age of majority does not automatically make them necessarily mature enough to understand the full ramifications of their “choice.”

    • Meghan Murphy

      Well and there’s something to be said for the now-long-gone freedom of making ‘bad choices’ when one is young without it being documented and circulated on the internet for eternity. The reality today was not the reality when I was a teenager… The internet existed, but just barely. I mean, clearly pornography is not just the fault of the internet, but the fact that these young women make one choice that then is ‘out there’ in the public realm, for life, that is so exposing and exploitative is something ignored by all these ‘free choice!’ agency!’ proponents. What if these ‘free agents’ change their minds about these images? They have no control over it at all. And the reason for that? Because it’s not REALLY about women making ‘free choices’ and being empowered — it’s about men profiting from things.

      • L

        And these choices that are now circulating every and anywhere without your control and without you making any additional profit will hamper your financial success and career options in the future. Let’s say Belle Knox is incredibly intelligent and wants to be an engineer, lawyer, etc…what company is going to hire a porn worker? None, except for another porn company. A woman cannot be a porn star/sex worker and something else. By that I mean, men can be rapist, sleep with prostitutes, be adultuers, domestic abusers, absentee fathers and be respectable doctors, lawyers, etc. Years ago, I remember seeing something with Traci Lords (sp?) and she was talking about how unfair it was that she couldn’t leave her porn career behind but how males in Hollywood had done far worse and were getting movie roles, magazine covers and so on.

  • Nicole

    Great article! Thank you Meghan. I love reading your work!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Nicole!

  • purple sage

    “The men then force to eat her own vomit as they continue to call her names.”

    WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?! *dies*

    • Non-PC RadFem

      ^I know! Gross beyond words can describe. ‘Two-girls one cup,’ comes to mind…
      For the love of Vishnu, if you appreciate your sanity, don’t google it! (I never watched the footage myself, but the viewers’ reactions alone were enough to give me nightmares for way over a month) :/

      I did notice how this porn-culture has been evolving [devolving? More like: depraving beyond description] from women posing in skimpy clothes, to bikinis, to naked [pin-ups] – objectionably enough as those were – into more and more extreme [<by extreme read: repugnant and/or out-right borderline criminal activities] as time moved forward and no-one in power ever cared to legally ‘regulate’ it, nor curb it.

      All you have to do to ‘forecast’ the future of porn is to look into something as simple as the black/death metal album covers. For years those covers’ been mostly populated by women getting tortured, gutted, dismembered, abused, and much worse.

      This, I suspect, it’s also why we’ve seen a sharp rise in main-stream ‘torture porn’ films [I could barely read the synopsis/reviews of ‘The Human Centipede’ without throwing up, to give you just the one, example]. And don’t even get me started about the black market of snuff films, which mostly features the real rape+torture+deaths of women and children.

      Combine the two; a sadistic thirst for ‘torture porn’ and the ‘sexual’ craving of seeing women and children being violated. What do you think you’ll get out of that?

      That’s the future of “porn” if we – the sex-industry feminist prohibitionists – don’t manage to stop this wanton evil before it’s too late.

      • Non-PC RadFem

        [..] the sex-industry feminist prohibitionists*

        * /abolitionists

  • Anna

    Sexually liberated: liberated from the expectation/obligation of sex/sexiness. Liberated from the pornified culture at large. Liberated from leers and stares and catcalls and gropes from men. Liberated from being turned into an object merely by existing. Liberated from subhuman status. Liberated from rape and fear of rape. Etc. etc. etc.

    That’s my definition of “sexually liberated.” I feel like we are way too far away from achieving that to be able to imagine what it would look/feel like for women.

    • Rachel

      I love that. Really well said! But I agree, we are so far from women even being anywhere near that stage.

  • Non-PC RadFem

    “It is true that there is no coercion happening, in an immediate sense. The “coercion,” rather, has already taken place over years as children and teens are groomed to view porn as fun, glamourous and, in fact, inseparable from the pop culture they’ve been ingesting for so long.”

    Precisely. There’s that… plus it also overlaps with how women have been brainwashed for generations to ‘perform’ for the male-gaze, and that’s been going on for way much longer than this modern age, high-speed internet porn-culture.

    Porn conditions men to dehumanize women, and in turn; it conditions women to “willingly” dehumanize themselves in order to serve/please men. I don’t see this porn-culture [in all its forms] as any different from pedophiles ‘grooming’ children to service them.

    It’s pure Machiavellian manipulation.

    “The question of “choice,” insisted upon by liberals, men, and industry advocates, is not the issue, unless we are prepared to frame women as having chosen racism, incest, and rape [..]”

    Another bull’s-eye. I don’t know if you’ve heard, Meghan, but there are some seriously disturbed people out there [mostly men] with pretty abhorrent cannibal fetishes – looking for someone to murder them and then eat them.

    Are we, as a society, supposed to ignore the obvious mental instability on the part of the potential victim and the potential murderer/cannibal? Are we just supposed to write them both off as ’normal’ individuals acting on their “choices” and fully in control of their mental capabilities [a.k.a agency]?

  • I intensely feel for the young women these days. They’re being conditioned, as you say, by the male gaze through gender. They have to deal with the consequences of men watching porn and they are also the young women IN porn, constantly being objectified and abused.

    I feel lucky to have escaped this current culture, through my age and the fact that the porn industry in my 20’s wasn’t as established as it is now. In fact, we didn’t have the internet capabilities back then.

    No matter how many men that reply to my comments about the abuse of women in porn they always have an excuse, an excuse provided by liberal feminists that these young girls ‘chose’ it and are making lots of money of which neither is true.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I feel for them too… Young women are sent the most contradictory messages — between liberal ‘feminism’ and porn culture, they really kinda fucked. Ya gotta hope they accidentally come across some real feminist analysis somewhere along the line, eh?

  • Pingback: Choice Feminism on The Talk » Feminist Current()

  • Hannah

    They won’t let women review this film because the virgins(the good nonsexualized women they view as semi human) aren’t supposed to know about(let alone sympathize with) the “whores”(male word not mine, and there are porn titles that refer to women as whores).
    “Respecting the right of their subjects to make the choices they do while abhorring those decisions.” It never occurs to him that we might abhor male decisions?
    And I’m 25, so it would be a stretch to call my “concern” (aka empathy, a quality that seems to be deficient in some men when it comes to women) “motherly.” God forbid I see myself in these women(I’d lose my respectable virgin status if I did that).
    Yes, I see you Guardian, women see you. And I noticed that sketchy sounding “fake rape story” you posted from a man who coerced sex from a 13 year old you posted after UVA. We smell your bullshit male liberals.

  • Hannah

    My soul and brain can’t take reading another Jezebel article but I would enjoy reading someone making fun of that one they just wrote about this movie, making it seem like some kind of “labor” issue. I want the handmaidens to explain
    “Latina Abuse” as a “labor issue” that can be fixed with the right contract.