Bettie Page: In Memoriam

“I was never the girl next door.” –Bettie Page

The iconic pinup girl Bettie Page died yesterday in Los Angeles. I’ve always been captivated by her images–particularly, her rare ability to express both the reassuring, sunny optimism typically associated with the 1950s and the darker, more dangerous currents of sexuality that were becoming increasingly visible during that era.  

Bettie was America’s high-heeled return of the repressed–with a whip.  She was natural and perverse, naive and knowing, dominant and submissive. At a time when gender roles were highly polarized, Bettie’s persona challenged the angel/whore opposition by insisting that  women could be naughty and nice.  It’s a powerful legacy that remains vitally important today.


2 Responses

  1. I retired to my bed after reading the news last night. She was the apotheosis of femme. My lipstick was extra red for her today.

  2. I don’t remember when I first learned the name of the hot woman in the postcards and cheesy magnets. Bettie Page. She was always a part of my life so I feel like a friend has passed. I hope you find peace, Bettie.

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