Amateur porn, or freelance writing?

Hot Girls Wanted, the new amateur porn documentary produced by mainstream film actress Rashida Jones, was released on Netflix this past weekend, four months after being knighted the Official Selection of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. While I encourage people to see the film for themselves—and to hear what sex workers and critics have to say about it (this piece on Adult Video News by Mark Kernes is a good place to start)—something caught my attention about halfway through the film.

Interspersed with footage of the lives and careers of the film’s subjects are a series of statistics —porn sites getting more hits per month than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined, for example, and “teen” being the most searched-for term in online porn. But what struck me about these statistics is that many of them are easily interchangeable with facts about the industry of freelance writing.

hot girls wanted 1

hot girls wanted 2

There are 229 M.F.A. programs in creative writing offered in the United States, and another 152 M.A. programs. Between 3,000 and 4,000 students graduate with these degrees each year. In 2012, 212,488 students were enrolled in collegiate journalism programs.

hot girls wanted 3Of all the major U.S. newspapers, only the Wall Street Journal keeps 100 percent of their content available by subscription only.

hot girls wanted 4

Twitter is a marketing tool, a reporting tool, and a publishing tool. Nowadays, news breaks are almost always made on Twitter; later, they are digested into comprehensive published pieces on dedicated news sites.

hot girls wanted 5Many writers with dreams of penning the next great American novel or winning a Pulitzer write press releases, grants, blogs, and ads to make a living. These niche-oriented jobs might also be outside the writing industry, in restaurants, coffee shops, or maybe even on camera.

hot girls wanted 6

No regulations have been put into place to protect writers from the dog-eat-dog nature of publishing in the Internet era. New (amateur?) writers are often lured into “content mills” that pay out little to no money in exchange for a byline and the promise of exposure. Established writers and newbies alike can expect radio silence from editors when pitching stories, or they might wait months before hearing back on a finished piece. Rates for reported pieces in general have declined.

These similarities cross over into other industries as well, and certainly into mainstream film. I wonder if, in making Hot Girls Wanted, Jones thought of her own start as an actress, of some commercial she had to grit her teeth through, or a role she coveted and didn’t get. I wonder if she thought at all about the countless photo shoots she’s done over the years, maybe the ones where she’s only in her underwear, or her top is see-through, or the one where her cleavage looks just divine, she has no pants on, and she’s sporting a pair of bunny ears.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*