The porn industry has long been a very hushed topic, but in 2015 Netflix released the ground-breaking ‘Hot Girls Wanted’; which gave the audience a close and personal look at some of the teenage girls in porn. It outraged and shocked viewers but that didn’t stop the creators releasing a six-part docu-series, ‘Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On’. Each episode follows different people and this time round it’s not just porn that’s placed under the spotlight.
The first episode in the series, ‘Women on Top’, sees feminist porn directors, Erika Lust and Holly Randall, struggle with the industry. Both these women are directing porn from not just a male’s perspective but a female’s one as well. The industry was built on the way men want to see sex and has always had little interest or respect towards women.
In this episode, their struggles with money is at the forefront, since porn has become free there’s no money in it and strangely enough it is a billion-dollar industry.
Comparing the two women it’s clear that Holly’s struggling far more than Erika, “Nobody pays for porn anymore.” moans Holly whilst filming a garishly medieval film. She claims that because of the lack of money she’s been having to take a darker approach to her films meaning involving more tabooed types of porn.
Erika on the other hand is thriving, what she does is more indie, erotic art than anything. She’s been crowdsourcing feminist porn, taking fantasies from the public and making them into an onscreen reality. She knows it’s what people want to watch so she knows she can make money.
‘Love Me Tinder’ is a difficult one to watch. It follows serial dater James as he swipes left and right, dates and dumps and worst of all ghosts. If you’re not aware of the term ghosting it’s when someone ends a relationship by cutting off all communication with the other person. It was horrible to watch girl after girl being left heartbroken by someone who just didn’t care. Halfway through you were left wondering if he was ever going to change his behaviour and in the end, it looks like he was remorseful after a confrontation with one of the girls. Although, as he appeared on ‘Big Brother’ he would be used to acting for the camera so it’s doubtful that he was going to change his ways. Worst of all it just seems impossible to feel any sort of sympathy for him.
In the end ‘Love Me Tinder’ and ‘Don’t Stop Filming’ were far too different to be included in the series, they just seem misplaced. ‘Love Me Tinder’ was ultimately just a really sad story and ‘Don’t Stop Filming’, even though it’s an unbelievable story, the horrors of it are miles away from the rest of the episodes. Maybe it should have been a stand-alone film, because lumping the livestreaming of rape with porn is just wrong and they made a mistake in doing so.
The first episode certainly addresses the exploitation criticisms of the film but the series has come under fire again. The showrunners have been accused of featuring sex workers who never gave consent. However, in response to these accusations director Ronna Gradus said, “The narrative has kind of become hijacked, that we exposed sex workers and that we put them in danger by telling the world that they were sex workers, when in fact we never ever did that.” The series definitely has potential, if they have the opportunity to make more then it would be good to see more of the non-porn stories but in a different entity altogether.
That all being said it makes for an excellent binge watch and at its core it’s an intriguing, intimate and raw look at the life of porn workers.