Sad news this morning on the death of Bettie Page. I am not old enough to remember her early Playboy sessions, but I am old enough to have witnessed her first re-popularization in the late 70’s.
It was a fun time. Punk music sensibilities had outed S&M, leather/latex, Dom/Sub and other hitherto sub-rosa kinks to a degree that had not been the case before, and Bettie’s image and imagery was kind of in the air. I had girlfriends who worked hard at getting her pale look and blunt bangs going for them.
For me though, beyond the curious mix of innocence and experience, of liberated and captive, of threatened and threatening, of strength and frailty and of all the other contradictions she balanced so delicately on her impossibly high heels, I was all about her lingerie. Real support. Ballistic bullet bras. Seamed stockings. Boned cinchers. I felt looking at pictures of Ms. Page that I had been born into the wrong era.
I think in hindsight that the she was a part of a renaissance in sexuality and fashion and even liberalism (small "l", no politics here ... please) that all of us today benefit from. And I understand that not too many dividends from our pleasures went her way.
Her biography is one of trouble, and I am sure that many of her days were confusing. But I do want to say that she will be missed, and I hope that when we see her images, we think nice things, and smile. It can’t hurt, and can only help.