Meet Generation XXX: How the digital age has made erotic behaviour and porn-inspired plastic surgery banal

Meet Generation XXX: How the digital age has made erotic behaviour and porn-inspired plastic surgery banal

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UPDATED:

19:05 GMT, 25 April 2012

It has been a long time since pornography was confined to the top shelves of newsstands and the seedy nightclubs of damp, dirty back alleys.

In a digital age where our private lives and ideas are splattered across a boundless platform of information swapping, nothing seems to have a hiding place, least of all sex which has become as commonplace as an Oreo cookie.

To what extent the ubiquity of sex and pornography in the public domain has influenced our perception of sexiness is a subject that filmmakers, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, explore in their new film, Sexy Baby: A Documentary About Sexiness and The Cyber Age.

Sexy baby: A new film that focuses on how the digital age has made sex ubiquitous, features Winnifred, 12 (right), who posts Facebook pictures that make her look like she's up for anything

Sexy Baby: A new film that focuses on how the digital age has made sex ubiquitous, features Winnifred, 12 (right), who posts Facebook pictures that make her look like she's up for anything

A journalist and a photographer, the two women were compelled to make the movie after Ms Gradus had witnessed an awkward scene take place between college kids in a Coconut Grove, Florida club.

She explained to Huffington Post: 'Girls were dancing on [poles], and their classmates and other guys were putting tips in their shorts. It was total stripper behavior.'

But something didn't sit right with
her and when she showed photographs she had taken of the action to her
colleague, Ms Gradus, the journalist recognised the incongruity.

'I
noticed in one particular picture [that] the girls were really trying
hard, dancing and writhing on the pole and doing all sorts of stuff to
get the guys' attention, and the guys were a little bit checked out,'
Bauer said. 'It wasn’t as titillating as it should have been, and that
really intrigued me.'

Just a job: Nichole, 34, a stripper and former porn star from Florida performs at a club in Clearwater under her stage name

Just a job: Nichole, 34, a stripper and former porn star from Florida performs at a club in Clearwater under her stage name “Nakita Kash” as seen in the insightful documentary

Not so sexy: The film's third protagonist, Laura, 22, waits with her mom for her labia reduction surgery in Alexandria, Virginia, an operation she is getting so she looks more like a porn star she explains in the film

Not so sexy: The film's third protagonist, Laura, 22, waits with her mom for her labia reduction surgery in Alexandria, Virginia, an operation she is getting so she looks more like a porn star she explains in the film

This revelation, that such erotic
behaviour had become so banal, formed the basis of their research into
how the saturation of sex in the public sphere, thanks to social networking and the internet in general, has changed the way women
and younger generations feel about it.

The documentary explores these themes
as it follows the lives of three protagonists of what Ms Gradus and Ms
Bauer refer to as Generation XXX.

Laura is a 22-year-old teacher from
North Carolina who is seeking labiaplasty, Nichole is a 32-year-old former porn
star from Florida and Winnie is a 12-year-old school girl from
Manhattan.

While they all inhabit a world in
which 'privates are public and extreme is the new norm,' their reactions
to it are markedly different.

Like me Sexy Baby, explores how sex saturates social networking sites as well as web pages and online video channels making what was once taboo quite banal

Like me Sexy Baby, explores how sex saturates social networking sites as well as web pages and online video channels making what was once taboo quite banal

Laura,
a sweet and seemingly impressionable young woman, explains why she
chose to have an operation to reduce the size of her labia in a clip of
the feature movie that just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

'Instead of “I’m going to hit you on the playground because I’m telling you in my way that I like you,” it's “Let me slap you silly because I saw it in porn”'

'I just figure, it would be huge turn on to a guy to look like a porn star,' she says.

Ms
Bauer recalled how she and Ms Gradus followed Laura as she partied with
her friends, hoping to get a better sense of how she related to her
body: 'There was an amateur night at the club, and I guess every couple
of weeks they give away a boob job. Laura and her friends were all
sitting around saying, “That’s so cool.”'

Ms Gradus added: 'There is not a lot
of questioning that happens. Big boobs are the thing, being sexy is the
thing, looking maybe a little more like a porn star is the thing, and
she didn’t really question it. It was just sort of like, “I want to fit
in and feel sexy.”'

On the other end of the spectrum is
Winnifred, a savvy 12-year-old from New York who accepts that the
Facebook and pop culture encourages an 'anything goes' attitude, but
when it comes to porn, is not that interested and has yet to really
watch any.

You go girls: Co-directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus of the film ' Sexy Baby'

You go girls: Co-directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus of the film ' Sexy Baby'

'Your Facebook profile is not necessarily who your are, it's more like who you want to be,' she explains to the camera. 'We make ourselves seem like… down to f***. We make ourselves seems like we're up for anything. And in a way all of this internet stuff kind of traps you. You've started an alter ego that has to be maintained and has to be real in a way.

'So yeah, I mean it does kind of shape how you end up and how you actually are in real life.'

But she confesses: 'I guess I'm the kind of person who doesn't have the guts and doesn't really care enough to look at porn. I know what sex is, I don't need to see it in front of me played out.'

For her part, Nichole, who is trying to break out of the industry, sees 'porn sex as sport f***ing' and blames the way the mainstream has been 'completely infiltrated' by adult entertainment on the digital age.

Sexiness now, say the film-making duo is 'more computer-focused, Facebook-focused. Like, Like, Like – 20 Likes, 30 Likes, 40 Likes, wow, I’m a superstar – versus I’m just going to pass you a note in class and admire you.

'Instead of “I’m going to hit you on the playground because I’m telling you in my way that I like you,” it's “Let me slap you silly because I saw it in porn.”'