Bettie Page’s Legacy

Pin-up model Bettie Page died today; in the course of her career, Page was photographed approximately 20,000 times, mostly in lingerie, often in bondage, sometimes with other women.

What I like best about those photographs is the ineffable sense of fun she seems to be having, even while getting spanked or whatever; she’s got this joyous gleam in her eye that is just captivating.

People can, will and have argued about whether photographs like the ones Page was featured in exploit women (and I’m not certain how I feel), but there’s no denying that she was a star. And that her figure–spectacular and special as it is–is that of a normal woman.

The two primary things I take away from viewing Page’s image is what I like to imbue into my heroines (and wish I had more of myself), no matter what the time period: Be comfortable and adult about sensual feelings and impulses, and be comfortable with your body, even if it’s not perfect.

I can’t explain why I–and millions of others–have been captivated by Page’s image, but it’s there, and maybe the freedom felt in her pin-up shots hold a clue to the allure.

So–in that free spirit–what do you love most about yourself, either looks-wise, personality-wise or something else? As usual, I feel the need to overshare and answer first:

I love my eyes.
I am fond of my small waist.
And I like to think I can usually find the snarky spin of any situation. Which makes me and others laugh.

What about you?

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Elena Greene
13 years ago

Cool post, Megan. I aim for the same thing in my heroines, at least by the end. They may not start out comfortable with their sexuality. That can be a whole story arc.

As to me:

I like my hazel eyes.
I like that I have curves.
I like that I can swim for miles.
I am very honest and though I screw up sometimes, I always mean well.

Susan Wilbanks
13 years ago

I like my coloring, especially my dark brown hair and eyes.

I like my height–I’m 5’7″, so I almost never tower over anyone, nor meet anyone who towers over me.

I like that I’m stubborn–I mean, persistent–energetic, and curious.

13 years ago

As for Bettie Page, there was a movie about her a few years ago starring Gretchen Mol: “The Notorious Bettie Page”. You might want to add it to your Netflix queue.

As for me, I like:
my very curly hair
being left-handed
my sense of humor

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“there was a movie about her a few years ago starring Gretchen Mol: “The Notorious Bettie Page”.”

I liked that one, too! I second the rec. 🙂

And why is it always so much easier to decide what we DON’T like about ourselves??? But I like: my ability to write a story, my feet, my long eyelashes. Maybe I need to grow my hair out and cut some of those Bettie Page-style bangs…

Janet Mullany
13 years ago

I like my breasts. (Breaking the ice here in case anyone else wants to say so too but is too shy). I’ve had a lot of interesting times with them over the years.
My hands but not my fingernails.
My hair (thanks to my Irish ancestry, thick, with a mind of its own, and graying slowly).
My ability to make people laugh.
I loved the movie about Bettie Page too.

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

The Bettie Page movie was good, wasn’t it.

I like my eyes. My driver’s license says hazel, but they are actually gray.

I like my hair – the color and the fact that I have resisted the demands of everyone I know to cut it short because I am “too old” to wear it long.

I like my sense of humor and my never give up attitude. Both have gotten me into and out of a lot of fun times and scrapes over the years!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

I like my blue eyes.
I like my legs and arms.
I like that I write Romance Novels
I like that I like to walk.

I like that I can handle stress and I can stay strong when I need to.

(great post, Megan)

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

This post is a toughie for me. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s lists.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Hey, all, thanks for sharing.

I really liked that movie too, I was skeptical of Gretchen Mol being able to play Page, but she did it well.

(And thanks to Amanda, I went and saw Rachel Getting Married tonight, and I LIKED it.)

I second a lot of what you guys say you like about yourselves, too.

13 years ago

I like my hair which has turned curly of late.

I like my lips which are practically perfect.

I can make the angriest person calm down.

Great blog, Megan. Bettie Page was revolutionary without ever intending to be so.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“I like my breasts. (Breaking the ice here in case anyone else wants to say so too but is too shy)”

I kinda like mine, too–I used to think they were too small, but now I like it because they haven’t started to droop yet! Once they do I may have to do something about it. 🙂

“(And thanks to Amanda, I went and saw Rachel Getting Married tonight, and I LIKED it.”

LOL, Megan! I’m glad you didn’t hate it–I always feel apprehensive about recommending movies, especially weird ones likes that. But I find character-driven stories like that fascinating, like eavesdropping on someone else’s family meeting.

“the demands of everyone I know to cut it short because I am “too old” to wear it long.”

Louisa, I do not believe in this AT ALL! Everyone should wear their hair the way it looks best and the way they like it. There are no beauty rules!!! (except that those faux-latex leggings looks bad on everyone, IMO)

13 years ago

I agree, great post!

Since Janet said it first: I think my boobs are pretty decent. Not big, but nice. They look great in spaghetti-strap tank tops in the summer.

I like my hair, too. It’s nice and thick and I can either straighten or curl it, whatever I want.

I think that was so neat about Page, too – that she had a real (great) woman’s body. No plastic surgery needed. And she may have actually eaten food!


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