At the recommendation of a friend I watched the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. It's on Netflix in the U.S., check it out. Be warned that it does contain nudity and graphic descriptions of sex acts. So unless you're doing a scared straight thing with your kids, maybe save it for when they're not around.
The film chronicles the short career of one particular amateur porn star, as well as highlighting the life stories and careers of a few of the women being represented by the same agency.
I'll give you the cliff notes version of the documentary: life as an amateur porn star sucks. It's humiliating, short lived, and not terribly lucrative unless you're one of the very few who break out and can continue doing shoots beyond the "fresh face" stuff.
I knew all this already. Or rather I assumed all this already. As someone who completed high school and doesn't live in a cave, this is how I imagined the amateur porn industry.
One thing I struggled with was the message of the documentary. What were they trying to say? These women are 18 years old. In every legal respect (except drinking alcohol, f**k you, Ronald Reagan) they are adults. They can vote, they can serve in the military, drive a car, be liable for credit debt, and if a crime is committed they go to prison. So... can we say they're being exploited?
You've probably already answered that question with an emphatic "YES! OF COURSE THEY ARE! They're young and naive."
But that's my concern. Legally they're none of those things.
We aren't talking about women who were trafficked from other countries, enslaved at the age of 10. These are American girls, typically white, who have had full access to the education system in this country. I don't care how bad the education system is in a particular district, it's not going to be preaching the benefits of a short career doing porn.
Take these two situations side by side:
18 year old woman answers a Craig's List ad for a amateur porn shoot. She does a bunch of these shoots. After six months she's washed out, nobody wants to film her anymore. She returns to her home town to try and get work, but half the town knows she did porn, and it's only a matter of time before any prospective employer finds out. Her career options are limited unless she flees to another city, which isn't going to be easy considering she hardly made anything in her short porn career.
18 year old man wants to make some quick cash selling weed he gets from his cousin's friend. He does alright for a few months, but then gets busted. He's sentenced to 10 years, but gets out after 5 for good behavior. He is now a felon. His career options aren't just limited, they're non-existent even if he leaves town.
Both are 18. Both are, per the law, legal adults who know the risks of the situation they're getting in to. But in the former we're thinking "Oh, but she's just so young and naive." in the second we're thinking "Good riddance to another thug."
The reality is in both situations these young adults are manipulated by a society promising fast cash for those bold enough to take it. And in both cases they are fully aware of the risks, but being young they push it out of their mind. The main difference between the two, I suppose, is that the second was committing a crime, albeit a relatively harmless one, but a crime none the less. The former wasn't doing anything wrong, she just wasn't thinking very far ahead.
So if 18 year-olds, particularly women (sorry, but that really is the message here), aren't mature enough to make adult decisions and be liable for the consequences, do we need to look at bumping the age of adulthood? Rescind the 26th amendment and then set the legal bar for being a responsible adult at... 20? 21? 22? 30?
Or would the argument be that this one specific thing, this one specific mistake that people can make, should have a higher bar of entry? Maybe it will share an age with serving as President of the United States?
"You must be 35 years of age before you can suck a bunch of dick on camera while getting fucked in the asshole by a bunch of other people. Oh and also you have to be 35 to star in pornography now."
This does beg the question; why isn't this as big of a problem in Europe? There's no shortage of amateur European porn. Though I imagine most of them are bused in from Eastern Europe. It's probably because young European women are too busy going to college or a trade school (either fully paid, or partially paid by her fellow citizens) to learn a career that will pay them a living wage. And if they fall on tough times the government benefits will keep them afloat while they search for another job rather than crushing them under student debt and other bills that only a vomit inducing deep throat can pay for.
Their loss, man.