Tuesday, September 5, 2017

TV Review: Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On

Hot Girls Wanted was a 2015 documentary that Netflix produced into a six episode documentary series. In advance I will warn the reader that the series deals with explicit sexual content so those who may be offended should likely avoid it. The series was the work of Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus.

If I had to describe the series I could say it displays the gritty intersection between modern sexuality and technology (especially the internet and smart phones). From my perspective the documentary is tasteful and explores topics like pornography and sex without showing excessive nudity.

I think the way human sexuality has been filtered through technology over the last 20 years is fascinating. Moreover, I think the reciprocal effects this has had on our culture is fairly disturbing. The documentarians go out of their way to highlight relevant statistics that illustrate the content they are sharing. For example, the prevalence and widespread use of porn, the accessibility to and interest minors have with pornography, and the cultural implications of pornography.

I figure at this stage it would probably be best to give you an idea of what each episode deals with. In the first episode they discuss feminist porn/porn produced by women and how the changing business model of pornography is making it more difficult. Episode two looks at casual dating apps like Tindr and its impact upon relationships. Episode three looks at the world of 'talent' recruitment in pornography and the way the industry chews up young women. The fourth takes a look at male talent in the pornography business, but also the disturbing depictions of race and women within mainstream porn. The fifth looks at camgirls and the relationships that form between models and their big donors. It does this by looking at one pair in particular who meet in person. Finally, the last episode examines the court case of a young woman who recorded a rape and streamed it on the internet.

I can easily see how some readers of my blog will be repulsed by these topics. It's not exactly the regular fare of this blog, certainly. One point that the documentarians return to again and again is the ubiquity of porn. If it isn't a part of your life than it is part of most of those close to you and it is shaping the society you live in. Episode two is probably the most accessible for those who wish to avoid graphic content.

The show is at times ugly and unpleasant, but also contains within it genuine emotion beyond pity and sadness and shame. Pornography and sex is still deeply rooted in shame. Despite the social acceptance of it, to a certain degree, those who participate in it, profit from it, produce and feature in it will be tarred. Given its widespread appeal I think the documentary challenges our inherent hypocrisy on that. 

I find monitoring and observing our changing attitudes about sex, sexuality, romance, and love to be perhaps one of the most compelling topics that one could explore at present. I would love to see Turned On do many more seasons. I highly recommend it to those interested in these topics and with a constitution to match the content. Give this provocative series a watch and hope that they can continue to dig into these ideas.

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