The legendary 1950's "pin-up" model Bettie Page died yesterday at the age of 85. As the New York Times obituary explains, Page defied the typical expectations of women in her day--and ended even up in the cross hairs of a United States senate investigation on "pornography." After dropping out of the public imagination for close to three decades, there has been in recent years something of a Betty Page revival, including the 2005 film " The Notorious Betty Page." At the time, Salon offered a smart take on the significance of Page to her era.
Bettie Page's spirit transcends traditional feminist ideology, cutting straight past perceived ideas of how women should or shouldn't pander to men's sexual appetites. Her pictures are so elemental, so lacking in guile, that they often seem to be less "about" sex than about a pure state of being -- maybe even a state of grace. No wonder Page, even long after she left modeling and became deeply religious, never denounced her past. [Actress Gretchen] Mol's Bettie explains, "I'm not ashamed. Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden. When they sinned, they put on clothes."
RIP, Bettie Page.