Author: Jill Nelson
Publisher: BearManor Media
Author: Jill Nelson
Publisher: BearManor Media
When Jill Nelson's Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985 was dropped off in my mail box, I have to confess that I was curious to learn more about these women who were employed in the adult film industry as actors, directors and producers during an era when it was illegal to make these films yet not illegal to watch them.
And although I am not a supporter of pornographic films and neither do I condone the proclivities of these women, I wanted to have, as Nelson states in her introduction, “ a clearer understanding of the beautiful and intrepid females who favored an alternative profession in adult cinema that was cultivated at the apex of the 1960s sexual revolution.” According to Nelson, these are eccentric, imperfect, yet, intelligent and ethical people anyone who ever want to meet.” After all, whom am I to prejudge the behavior of these actresses?
It should be pointed out that in 1988 the erotic film industry was legalized as result of a landmark California court case involving porn film director and producer Harold Freeman. To quote the words of Nelson: “it was sheer hypocrisy to deem the craft illegal because those who condemned it also watched it.”
Nelson's comprehensive book of mini-biographies drawn from interviews and other sources spans nine hundred and forty-six pages that provides her readers with a chronological history of the lives and times of twenty-five women who today range in age between forty-six and seventy-six. Unless you are familiar with the porn scene of the era that Nelson explores in her book, the following names will be meaningless such as: This Mess, Ann Perry, Barbara Mills, Georgina Spelvn, Marilyn Chambers, Roberta Findlay, Jody Maxwell, Candida Royalle, Gloria Leonard, Rhonda Jo Petty, Serena, Annie Sprinkle, Sex “Kitten” Natividad, Sharon Mitchell, Kay Parker, Juliet Anderson, Seka, Kelly Nichols, Veronic Hart, Julia St. Vincent, Laurie Holmes, Ginger Lynn, Amber Lynn, Christy Canyon, Raven Touchstone, and Nina Hartley. In addition to these women, Nelson also adds in brief summaries of fifteen other women whom she believes are worthy of honorable mentions.
It is these women who played pivotal roles in the adult film industry during its so-called golden era and either directly or indirectly they candidly share their stories with Nelson which she documents in the book. In addition, Nelson also includes one hundred and twenty-five reviews of some of the films these women acted in, as well as three hundred photos. Apparently, Nelson devoted three and half years to researching and interviewing these women.
Who exactly are these women? Are they exhibitionists? Where did they grow up and what motivated them to participate in the porn industry in one way or another? Were they abused as children? Were they bimbos and uneducated? Were they prostitutes? Were they drug addicts or alcoholics? Have they ever contacted a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Were they ever subject to degradation and abuse? Was it opportunity to escape poverty? What happened to them after they left the industry? Were they proud of what they were doing? Do they have any regrets? These are only some of the questions that Nelson explores with a great deal of compassion and an eye for detail, and frankly, you will be quite surprised at what you will discover!
Scattered throughout the book are quotes aplenty from these unusual women as for example Annie Sprinkle who claims she didn't understand why some people couldn't believe she had a good time. She further mentions that her sex work built her self-esteem as she is a creative kind of a person and being a sex worker is a very creative job when done with creativity. Veronica Hart states: “one of my goals when I got in the business was that I would be able to come out of this business and still enjoy my sexuality and making love.”
There are very few books around, if any, concerning
first hand oral accounts of women who played important roles in the
adult entertainment industry during its golden era. Nelson, who is an
engaging narrator, has painstakingly researched her subject matter
and has managed to place her audience smack in the middle of some
unusual female lives. To her credit is that these women were quite
eager to share their experiences and set the record straight in a
forthright and generous manner. The only gripe I have about this book
is it is far too long and there were several instances of repetition
which could have been avoided with better content editing. Perhaps, a
book half its length would have been preferable.