How women are brought into the porn industry

This is the second post that talks about the information presented in the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. This is not exactly a film review; I have added information from other sources as well. The first post was about how pornography largely presents pedophilia and this post is about how women are groomed and recruited into the porn industry. Information for this post is also taken from Female Sexual Slavery by Kathleen Barry, an excellent book that I recommend reading.

In her book Female Sexual Slavery, one of the things Kathleen Barry describes is the strategies of procuring and pimping, two distinct but closely related activities that bring women into the prostitution industry and keep them there.

“Together, pimping and procuring are perhaps the most ruthless displays of male power and sexual dominance. As practices they go far beyond the merchandising of women’s bodies for the market that demands them. Pimping and procuring are the crystallization of misogyny; they rank among the most complete expressions of male hatred for femaleness. Procuring is a strategy, a tactic for acquiring women and turning them into prostitution; pimping keeps them there.” Barry, p.73.

As she describes in her book, the methods of procuring are the following:

  1. Befriending or love: Procurers find teenage girls who are naïve and seeking love and attention from men and they act as a boyfriend toward these girls. They particularly use this method on girls who are runaways or who are bored and looking for excitement. They make the girl feel like she is in a romantic relationship even though it is really just a business strategy for him.
  2. Actions of gangs, syndicates, and organized crime: these organizations will often procure girls and women into prostitution as a part of their gang activities.
  3. Recruiting women under false pretenses by offering them a job such as dancing or modelling, or by offering them marriage, and turning them to prostitution when they arrive.
  4. Purchasing women and girls from other male “owners”
  5. Outright kidnapping

In the film Hot Girls Wanted, a procurer for the porn industry is interviewed. His name is given as “Riley” and at the time of the filming he is only 23 years old. He is living in a five bedroom house in Miami Beach. His job is to place ads on Craigslist enticing young women to join the porn industry and the women who answer his ads come to live in his house and pay him rent. In addition to providing living accommodations, he drives them to their shoots. He calls himself a “talent manager” and calls the women living in his house “my girls.” His method of procurement falls into the category of recruiting women by offering them modelling jobs, which is number three above. Unlike in the past, he is not pretending that the jobs he offers are straight up modelling. He is fairly honest that this is for pornography. He can be honest about this since all girls are groomed to accept porn and so there is less trickery to be done than there used to be. However there is still some trickery involved, because he presents these “modelling” jobs as if they are glamorous and lucrative and fails to mention that the work the young women will have to perform will involve physical abuse such as “forced blow jobs” and that they will not come out of this with much money.

Riley is shown creating an ad on Craigslist advertising for young, hot women and offering them free flights to Miami. He explains that it’s very easy to recruit girls because new girls are turning 18 all the time and lots of them want to do porn. He simply creates the ad and “Voilà,” he says, “that’s all you gotta do. I should have like 5 responses within 12 hours.”

Modern procurers for the porn industry don’t have much work to do. That is because girls are socialized to accept pornography as normal during their entire lives. Once they’ve turned 18 they have likely been watching porn for several years already. Porn star Belle Knox watched porn since age 12. That means during a large portion of her formative years she was taught to sexualize her own degradation and accept physical and sexual abuse as normal.

To review a bit about female socialization, which I have discussed in previous blog posts (check the “female socialization” tags and categories) girls are taught certain lessons right from early childhood as a part of their journey to become women. They are taught that their worth is based on being pretty and pleasing to men, that they can evaluate their self-worth based on how much boys and men like them, and that their ultimate failure as a woman is being unattractive or “unfuckable.” Entire industries–beauty, makeup, fashion and dieting—encourage girls to see themselves as ugly in an attempt to sell them products to “fix” their perceived ugliness. All this advertising reinforces the idea that women’s worth is based on their appearance. Toys for little girls teach them femininity. Dolls have makeup on their faces and sometimes appear downright pornified. Characters in movies for kids present feminine girls often wearing sexy outfits; magazine covers that they see at the supermarket present airbrushed, “perfect-looking” women who are often scantily-clad and being presented for the evaluation of their appearance. These magazines are becoming increasingly pornified. The social media sites that teens use contain soft-core pornography on a regular basis—Twitter and Tumblr are full of porn, and even Facebook allows images of “sexy” women as long as there is no explicit nudity. The films and sitcoms that preteens and teens watch often have characters in them that take a casual view of pornography, mentioning it as something people do, and sometimes characters actually make pornography of their own as a part of the storyline. Porn stars are starting to be featured in non-porn TV shows and are interviewed on the news. Unless a child is raised in a religious tradition that stays completely away from modern civilization, he or she is aware of pornography as a preteen or younger, and is groomed to accept it as normal for many years before the age of 18.

The procurer from Hot Girls Wanted, Riley, has lots of help in doing his job. All he has to do is post an ad on Craigslist because a lot of other work has been done for him by our culture in general. Our pornified culture serves as a large grooming session to prepare girls for sexual abuse so that actual abusers don’t have to work very hard to get a girl to comply.

When the girls living in Riley’s house get interviewed, it’s really obvious how they have been groomed. They talk about inadequate sex education in schools and the bizarre, nonsensical things teachers have said about sex. They view porn as better, more accurate sex education. One young woman, Karly, says “…there’s all these people in porn having sex and nothing’s going wrong and everybody’s happy.” She has watched porn before and believed that what is happening is consensual sex. She has believed the lie. She’s never heard of the pain and damage to women’s bodies, the STIs, the PTSD, the discomfort and the feeling of dehumanization. Those things are carefully concealed by the industry. She doesn’t have the media literacy skills or the knowledge of women’s oppression that would allow her to see what’s really going on. There should be comprehensive sex education and women’s studies courses taught in high schools for the sake of our safety.

After a photo shoot, a young woman named Michelle says “Today boosted my confidence more than anything. When he says you look hot I’m like damn!” Another young woman, Tressa, continues: “Some guy is going to see that picture, guys jack off to you!” Michelle again: “Even when I’m making my weird ugly faces and I just look weird guys are like ‘you’re so sexy I just wanna fuck you.’ And that’s, like, it’s a boost of confidence to know that you’re wanted, like, that much you know.” These young women have come to believe that their worth is based on whether men want to fuck them and they are feeling exhilarated because their sexiness has been validated.

The Latina woman, Jade, talks about doing the “Latina abuse” scenes, in which she is physically tortured and called racist and sexist names. She has found a way to believe this is acceptable even though it is painful and dehumanizing for her. She says, “I don’t look at this stuff like that really black and white, good and bad. Good and bad is what your opinion is at the moment. Because X amount of time ago, I thought certain things were bad that I don’t think are bad now.” She has learned to accept what is happening to her by modifying her own values and morality to fit what the sadistic men want to do to her.

When you hear all the things these women say, it becomes clear that they have believed for a long time that pornography is normal and that they have allowed it to affect what they think sex is and what they think is acceptable behavior.

The procurer, Riley, is aware that the average time a new girl will stay in the porn industry is only about three months. He knows that she will be discarded after that and that the only way to keep getting work will be to do more abusive acts. He does not warn girls of this even when they come to him excited and believing they will get rich and famous and be in porn for many years. He takes their money to use to pay his mortgage and when they quit porn he recruits new girls. If he cared even a little bit about these young women he would give them a realistic idea of what they are getting into before they start and correct their misconceptions. But he does not care about them as people, he cares about using them to fund his own lifestyle. Many years down the road he will pay off his mortgage and be a homeowner while hundreds of girls will be hurt, discarded, and trying to rebuild their lives after abuse, without any equity of their own. Porn star Tressa earned $25,000 in four months but after she got out of porn she had $2,000 left since there are so many expenses when you are a woman in porn (rent, makeup, travel, clothes, drugs). It is not a lucrative money-making strategy for women—the people who earn the real money are male profiteers such as procurers, pimps, and pornographers.

Riley can tell himself that his behavior is acceptable because the young women are choosing this out of their own free will. One of his privileges as a man is to be able to ignore the grooming system that is bringing girls to him and just sit back and benefit from it without analyzing it or challenging it. This brings us to the next topic, the idea of the women’s choice to enter the porn industry and the nature and context of that choice. Stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “How women are brought into the porn industry

  1. Hello, and thank you for posting this. I am an ex prostitute/dominatrix/massage girl/porn “star.” I got into the “industry” just as you described. I was always the unattractive girl who nobody dated in high school. I moved to a large city to go to college and party at age 18. I was kicked out of college due to excessive partying (drug abuse). I couldn’t go back home due to abuse, so I found myself homeless. I answered an ad in the local paper asking for “a hostess for a gentlemen’s club.” Soon I realized that it was a cover for prostitution. I was the girl no one would date in high school, as I mentioned before, and suddenly men were paying to fuck me! I felt so desired; so attractive and beautiful! My first madam brainwashed me to believe that prostitution was a feminist act, and that men should definitely pay women for sex, and that its soooo “empowering.” Soo I learned that there is nothing empowering about spreading your legs for men. Riley is a typical piece of shit PIMP who has no regard for a woman’s life and well being. I was groomed to be a prostitute/porn star just like “his girls” are. I am one of the lucky ones; I got out of that sordid “business” alive. Thank you for telling the truth about pornography. We live in a strong patriarchy where men make the rules, and us women are supposed to follow them. Well I stopped feeding into all of that bullshit. I am now a radical feminist, and have seen the light! Being a prostitute, and being in pornography is often glamorized to brainwash young girls to aspire to be a part of it. Men are the only ones who benefit from this. Those evil “businesses” ruin many girls’ lives, and screw them up mentally for the rest of their lives. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder & manic depression. I also am an addict. I self medicated with drugs to get through dealing with tricks/porn scenes. Later I realized that this is nothing more than paid rape. If I can help to open a girl’s eyes to NOT get involved into porn or prostitution, then I will sleep better at night. I also have insomnia, and do not sleep very well as it is. Please keep exposing porn for the evil patriarchal bullshit that it is. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

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