A new documentary, Hot Girls Wanted , follows young women as they are maneuvered into being "amateur" porn performers, then discarded by the business within a matter of months. Hot Girls Wanted focuses on year-old Tressa, a high school cheerleader and good student who leaves her parents in small-town Texas to go to Florida and work in porn. Variety's Geoff Berkshire says it's "an eye-opener for parents ," which I can't help feel misses the point. But in his coverage is an important part often missed: that technology and communications are the medium that helps young people make dreadful mistakes. At a time when self-esteem is determined by likes, friends and followers, the quickest way to boost a social profile is through sex appeal. The New York Times' Mike Hale says the documentary doesn't manage to reconcile two viewpoints within it , "respecting the right of their subjects to make the choices they do while abhorring those decisions.
I'm Terry Gross. How are social media, dating apps, sexting, texting, shaping the lives of teenage girls who spend many hours a day on their phones? How are girls' digital lives changing their social lives and sex lives, their self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence? My guest, Nancy Jo Sales, has written a new book exploring those questions. As part of her research, she spent two and a half years talking to girls in 10 states including New York, Florida, Arizona, California and Indiana. She also spoke with experts who study social media or work with teenagers. Why did you want to write this book?
Rashida Jones of "Parks and Recreation" fame produced the film.
I like to be in front of the camera. Rachel, who played the clarinet in her high school band and considered joining the Air Force after graduation, was excited at the idea of modeling, making good money and a chance to get on a plane for the first time ever. I still didn't think anyone would find out, didn't think my parents would find out. But when she landed in Miami, Rachel said she realized she had stepped into a world she never imagined -- one that she said would haunt her forever. Rachel said a year-old agent met her at the airport and took her to a no-frills house with about a dozen other young girls -- most of them were also from small towns, just like her. A lot of agents just see money signs. If they have family emergencies, I lend them money so they can go home.
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