Monday, November 20

Q&A: ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ illuminates injustice in amateur porn industry


Bruin Consent Coalition hosted a panel that discussed the amateur porn industry and a screening of the 2015 documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” (above), directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, Monday night. (Courtesy of Netflix)

Bruin Consent Coalition hosted a panel that discussed the amateur porn industry and a screening of the 2015 documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” (above), directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, Monday night. (Courtesy of Netflix)


Twenty-five percent of all search engine requests are related to pornography and an average of 266 new porn websites appear online every day.

However, the multibillion-dollar porn industry becomes a subject of controversy when women are being exploited for footage. The 2015 documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” explores the perspective that adult film has silently crept into our culture without discussion and has created a culture of people that abuse others for personal pleasure.

The film follows the daily lives of young-adult women who joined the amateur porn industry to escape their hometowns, make fast money or gain their own freedom. Set in Miami, these girls live in a house together with one man, Riley Reynolds, who gets them jobs and drives them to and from their shoots.

Bruin Consent Coalition, a division of the Student Wellness Commission, works to prevent sexual violence and assault and is putting on events throughout April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In addition to the Clothesline Display held during fourth week and discussions with assault victims at Take Back the Night on Thursday, the group held a panel featuring La Shonda Coleman from the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center and Bruin Consent Coalition directors Monday night about the amateur porn industry, followed by a screening of “Hot Girls Wanted.”

The Daily Bruin’s Sasha Cheechov spoke with Bruin Consent Coalition programming director and second-year human biology and society student Gianna Raggio about the film, the porn industry and what can be done to prevent sexual injustice on campus.

Daily Bruin: What made the documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” stand out to you among the many others that depict the sex industry?

Gianna Raggio: I watched “Hot Girls Wanted” about a year ago and I had no idea about the topic at all. … I assumed that because (porn) was their job, they were comfortable, and it was just shocking for me to see these girls who were pressured and coerced into doing these things they weren’t comfortable with. There are a lot of racist and sexist things said in the movie and it was extremely shocking to see that someone would be put in that position without their full consent.

DB: The documentary follows the lives of amateur porn stars and the ups and downs of their experiences. What do you hope people will take away from it?

GR: I hope that people go away being more aware of what’s happening (in the industry) and maybe think twice before they go on PornHub, search “amateur porn” and see all of these derogatory videos, titles and extremely problematic things.

DB: As seen in the film, the argument made by these girls is that they are trying to find freedom and make a living for themselves. Is there a flaw in this view and what are the harmful effects of the amateur industry?

GR: The amateur porn industry is extremely glamorized. When you think of a porn star, a lot of the time they’re extremely famous, they travel all over the world and they have a lot of notoriety. A lot of these girls think that’s what they can achieve, but what they don’t see is the part of the industry where they’re manipulated and don’t get the pay that they think they’re going to get. The turnover rates of these girls who say they’re going to make it into a career is usually only a few months.

It’s a very brutal industry, but they just see the ad on Craigslist that says, “Come to Miami for free, you’ll be put on a pedestal and everyone will think you’re so beautiful.” They don’t know all of the implications and dangers of that.

DB: What can we do to counteract the violence against women that is perpetuated by porn and carried out in the world around us?

GR: That’s a hard question. It’s really interesting, the things that we normalize, and I think that there’s a lot of danger in that. At what point do you draw the line between joking around and calling someone a “bitch” or a “slut,” and at what point does that become dangerous?

Trying to be more aware of your language (is helpful) because language is really powerful and it goes even further, at least with amateur porn. If you think it’s okay to watch all of these videos that say “amateur teen” or are just reducing these women to “teenager,” “lesbian,” whatever it is, over time these ideas become ingrained in you and you start to think that’s okay, and that what you’re watching in the videos and scenes is okay.

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