July 24, 2001 11:00pm
The Latour Letter - Rosie the Riveter Of Pornography
by: Charlie Latour
World War II was won on many fronts. As we marked the 55th anniversary of the end of World War II and as the effort to construct a monument honoring the valiant men and women, who risked their lives for our freedom, gains momentum I am drawn to the women who, without fanfare or publicity, made the war effort possible. We got to know them as Rosie the Riveter through movies and stories by our mothers and grandmothers.
Quietly and without demanding publicity, women stepped forward and, with competence and grace, became a major factor in the defeat of freedom hating despots, like Hitler and Tojo. Rosie the Riveters were the backbone of the effort.
Rosie the Riveter exists in the world of pornography. How do I know? Well, recently I was reminded that although I have spent 20 years in the adult entertainment field I never achieved the fame and glory of others. This started me thinking about those women (and men) who toiled in limited obscurity, committing their lives to the cause of sexual freedom and whose contribution to the advancement of sexual freedom and the development of pornography as a visual art form are so willingly overlooked. So, I would imagine that I fall into the Rosie the Riveter of porn category. Maybe I'm a bit more vocal and visible than most, but a Rosie never the less.
Having worked almost exclusively on the east coast and Europe I can only relate to those women I have had contact with and there are many. I'm not talking about the woman who makes one or two adult movies and then move on. I'm talking about the women who have dedicated large chucks of their lives to adult movies and are always on call to the producers. Times change and I do understand the change. When I started in the late 1970's most of the porn stars had other jobs and were working both trades. Few could afford and most did not want to be fully dependent on porn for a living.
Some worked other aspects of the adult entertainment complex, like dancing and escorting, but most were secretaries, bookkeepers, nurses, schoolteachers, or in my case, a social worker. I don't want to get into a name game because I would miss so many women and it is not my intention to neglect or overlook anyone. I just want those who enjoy pornography to look carefully at the names of all the actresses as the credits go by. Check out those who are not the headlines, because those women help to build the industry.
Yes, with today's extreme action and the lack of full scripts there are fewer parts and even less supportive roles. Acting and dialog is out, fisting, screaming and attitude are in, so the Rosie the Riveters are even fewer, but as you watch the older videos or some of the higher end videos of today I urge you to look for the names few recognize and give a little word of thanks. Without these women, especially those who helped the industry grow to a multi-billion dollar industry we would be not have the sexual freedom that we currently enjoy. While working with the biggest names in the industry is revealing, to say the least, but for me, working with the Rosie's was the real joy.
I remember years ago I received a call from big time producer-director Ron Sullivan. He was shooting in New York and needed an actress right away, because of some scheduling problem. I jumped into my car and drove right to the set (which was the old Plato's Retreat swing club) and proceeded to play a tough New York hooker (type casting. I think) who seduced bar patron Joey Silvera and had a fistfight with California blonde beauty Danielle that was so real that Ron had to jump in to stop the action. (We were actually having fun) I think it was titled "49th Street Vice" but don't hold me to that. After 200 films it becomes difficult to remember titles. The bottom line for me was Ron hugging me at the end of the shoot and saying, "There are those girls in this industry that producers can always count on, and you're one of them". I always appreciated the comment.
So to every Rosie the Riveter of porn; you will never get an award from XRCO, you certainly will never be acknowledged by AVN, the historians of the adult industry may only grudgingly admit that you even existed in the industry, and fans of porn may only fleetingly remember your name, but society owns you a debt of gratitude. It was with your unspoiled attitude, your smile, your well-trimmed snatch, your boobs and your brains that you helped to bring sexual freedom to our society and elevate pornography to a near mainstream acceptance level.
Like the Rosie's of World War II you did the job that needed to be done, you did it well and you did it for a cause. Then you returned to your normal life! I am proud to be a Rosie the Riveter of Porn! God Bless each and every one of you.