Bettie Page Tribute

Where the old adage that gentlemen prefer blonds is by no means a universal truth, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at vintage Hollywood. For every raven-haired actress that resembled Elizabeth Taylor, there was a Marilyn Monroe, a Veronica Lake and a Faye Dunaway sporting their golden locks for legions of admirers. This is what makes the tight grip that 1950s secretary-turned-model Bettie Page has on American sexuality so much of a mystery. The love affair that dark-haired girls have with pop culture never lasts. I mean, have you seen Liza Minnelli lately?

A Page Turned . . . RIP Bettie Page
04.22.1923 – 12.11.2008

On December 11th, Bettie Page passed away. She was 85 years old. And although she didn’t allow herself to be photographed after her reemergence in the late 90s, she leaves behind a legacy of iconic imagery that will survive forever. From her early, innocent poses for amateur photo clubs to her later forays into S&M and bondage pictures, Page will never be outdone. She IS burlesque photography. She is the perfect example of post-war American femininity.

Page bowed out of the spotlight just as the sexual revolution she helped to inspire overtook the nation. This disappearance was partly due to congressional and FBI investigations into her more risque material. Also, she understood that her career as the girl with the perfect body could not last. Three failed marriages, a nervous breakdown and a conversion to Christianity kept her out of the public eye. She resurfaced fifteen years ago as the subject of a documentary and two different feature films. She has also been immortalized in song, on websites and in comic books. And where the prudish masses may still call for her head, the rest of us get it. Bettie Page is both an emblem of approachable female splendor and a pioneer of women’s liberation. And as such, she will never die.