Friday, December 12, 2008

RIP Bettie Page (by Suzie)

       Bettie Page, whose pinup and BDSM photos turned her into a cult icon,   died Thursday. She’s a stellar example of someone who became a commodity, whose image profited others.
       Her “sex fiend” father molested her and her sisters, Page once said. After an abusive first husband and a gang rape, she left Nashville for New York, where she began posing for sexy photos to make money, and in hopes of becoming an actress.
        In interviews, she said she wasn’t personally into bondage, but she enjoyed the photo shoots. She said she never thought of her poses as sexual. In "The Notorious Bettie Page," she acts naïve and trusting. But Page was smart. The writer and director, Mary Harron, said she thinks Page must have known what she was doing, but “she had sealed herself off in some protective way from what disturbed her …”
         In middle age, she was treated for depression, violent moods and schizophrenia. Harron thinks Page suffered from mental illness earlier, but it went unnoticed.
         Page had wanted to be a missionary at one time, and she quit her modeling career, in part, to focus on Christianity. She ended up penniless, but finally got royalties for her work. 
          When commenting about her, a lot of men confuse women's sexuality with what women do to please men, to make a living or to get ahead. People talk about how she celebrated her sexuality, blah-de-blah, without noting that photographers paid her to pose in various ways. I wonder how people look at her photos and see only what they want to see.