Money Shot: Netflix’s Pornhub documentary glosses over one major thing

There are many disturbing facts exposed in Netflix’s new documentary, Money shot: the Pornhub Story. The Canadian porn site has been embroiled in numerous controversies since its inception in 2007. But the documentary seems to overwhelm one glaring, indisputable, disturbing truth: that childlike bodies have enormous appeal to porn consumers. Pornhub, by complying with these demands, has had a hand in the fetishization of infantilized bodies.

“Young,” “teen,” and “school girl” are all popular search terms on the site. Hit enter on this question and you’ll see women of indeterminate age wearing knee-high socks, button-down shirts, and short, plaid, pleated skirts.

The schoolgirl trope is everywhere. Ordinary school uniforms are sold as costumes in sex shops. Amazon sells thousands of versions of it online and Britney Spears wore one in her most famous music video. In mainstream porn, the idea of ​​a virgin girl being dragged into intimacy with an older man is sold as an exciting scenario. Here’s a sample set from Pornhub: “Dad chases schoolgirl in the mall and fucks her in the toilet”; “Redhead Schoolgirl Fucks Her Favorite Teacher”; “I fucked a schoolgirl while she was doing homework”.

These videos describe the classic school skirt that creeps up to reveal bare buttocks, which is a ubiquitous image in internet pornography. The performers’ bodies are hairless. And maybe their breasts are smaller or appear underdeveloped, giving the impression that they could be a child. In short, these stories fetishize the idea of ​​having sex with minors (which is rape, as persons under the age of 16 cannot consent in the UK).

In the Netflix documentary — which interviews sex workers, porn industry professionals, and anti-porn “morality” campaigners — filmmakers explain that when Pornhub launched in 2007, user policies allowed anyone to upload any type of video to and from the site. to upload or download. They discover that MindGeek, the technology company that owns Pornhub, employed only 30 moderators to monitor the site’s unregulated content. Those employees had to watch 800,000 videos per shift. With such a grueling task and heavy workload, it was inevitable that thousands of videos showing illegal content such as sex trafficking and child pornography slipped through the net and could be downloaded by anyone on the internet.

This remained the case until 2020, when evidence of child pornography on the site led Visa and Mastercard to suspend card payments for ads on Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek in December of that year. In the same month, Pornhub responded to campaigner outcry by removing thousands of unauthorized videos and enforcing an identity verification system for users who upload content.

Pornhub’s verification policy change was intended to remove child pornography from the site. But the sexualization of childlike bodies rages on three years later.

Of course, Pornhub cannot be solely responsible for a porn genre. But by providing a buffet of sexual options, it has played a part in categorizing a plethora of our fantasies, kinks, and fetishes since its inception in 2007. It has hundreds of categories where users can define exactly what they want to see. For example, “hentai” porn (animated characters often with exaggerated sexual features), “furry” (anthropomorphic animal characters), and “creampie” (lots of cum everywhere) were three of the most popular Pornhub categories last year. These are a few examples of the niches that Pornhub has involved in categorizing and naming, in addition to the “schoolgirl” niche.

The difficulty in calling a porn category problematic is that people are, of course, entitled to their sexual preferences. And sex workers are allowed to meet this demand. It’s especially tricky in cases where a young-looking woman in a video is indeed a sex worker over the age of 18 – not a child. But I would argue that porn stories starring fictional, animated cats are much less harmful than stories where a hypothetical child is lured in by a grown man. Ultimately, and rather disturbingly, the demand and supply of these videos continues to normalize the sexualization of what would theoretically be rape, if the subject was actually a minor.

‘The changing of Pornhub’s verification policies was meant to remove child pornography from the site. But the sexualisation of child-like bodies rages on three years later’

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Pornhub’s verification policy change was designed to remove child pornography from the site. But the sexualization of childlike bodies rages on three years later’


Those who believe that the “sexy schoolgirl” trope is nothing more than a fantasy or a nostalgia hit should look at the effect this has on actual schoolgirls. Research has shown that one in ten girls has been caught before their eleventh birthday (I was wearing my scruffy school uniform the first time it happened to me). On average, a girl between the ages of 11 and 17 experiences the majority of catcalling cases.

As conversations about consent evolve and improve, it seems that porn and the sites that host it are not catching up. The narrative of “sexy schoolgirl” porn videos is based on the idea of ​​an imbalance of power and the omission of basic consent. It’s not something we should sit back and accept as an innocent fantasy.

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