Saturday, August 20, 2005
The Sad Life of Bettie Page

No, I don't really know the whole story of Bettie Page. I'm sure not many people do. I do know that Bettie Page was as much an icon of American sexuality as Marilyn Monroe. The difference was Bettie was less of a flirt and more of a come-and-see girl. She practically took burlesque to a whole new level of pin-up, and added an element of dominance/submission, a topic not suitable for the Cleaver's of the world.
Yesterday, Michael and I went malling and stepped inside Hot Topic and milled about amongst the teenage 'punkers' who have marketed mohawks to the extreme. Michael tried on a jacket that was made to look ripped and torn up, with some airbrushed skulls on it. Of course, I thought it rocked, but it also looked like whoever made the jacket was trying just a little too hard, right down to the pins on the lapel and the bandana sewn into the pocket. So, I meandered through the women's section of fake corsets and arm sleeves and hot pink and black dresses, all of which were cut for twelve year old girls. I stopped in front of a T-shirt display, and there, pasted on about thirty black t-shirts, was Bettie Page's mug. Apparently, an internet company,, is making a fortune off of cheap t-shirts marketed to teenage goth-type girls who know nothing of the real, sad life of Bettie Page.

Poor and abused, she found fame the way out of the Depression. Her father abused her sexually for years before that. Her photographers expolited her pictures. And Bettie eventually dropped off the face of the earth. Up until her death, she would not speak of her prior life as a pinup girl and the 'Queen of Bondage'. For her, it carried so much pain and reminders of lust and sin.

Now, women like myself admire this brazen woman with curves. We admire the strength she emits from the photos, and the impish smile on her face. Trully a beautiful woman made into mannequin for male dominance, her life became less of a fairy tale and more of a sad slavery to abusive men. She could not reconcile her own sexuality, and so banished it entirely from her life.

I just wish these thin, wasted looking teenagers really understood the pain of their fleshy, curved 'icon'. That Bettie Page would never want a girl to go through the manipulation she suffered is enough for me to wince when I see these T-shirts depicting Bettie in some of her more provactive poses. Women must learn to be in-tune with their sexuality without abusing it, or allowing anyone to take control of it. I don't think Bettie or Marilyn would want any girl to emulate them. Their lives were far sadder than any picture shown of them.

In other news: in one week, I have lost five pounds. Ha!
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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