Bye, Bye, Bettie

Last night, the world said goodbye to our favorite pin-up girl, Bettie Page. I first learned about Bettie maybe 15-or-so years ago. I'd never heard of her, but my interest was piqued when I read an article written by one of her (many) fans...

He shared memories of himself as a young boy struggling with adolescence, falling in love with her images (from his hidden stash of questionable magazines). The author wondered what ever became of her and embarked on a search for Bettie. He ultimately found her. She'd vanished from the limelight years earlier after a congressional investigation led by Senator Estes Kefauver and years of hounding by federal agents who believed her work to be indecent. (This was in the era of McCarthy vs. Reason.) In the 90's, Bettie enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, even a cult following. In 2005, a bio-pic was released about her (which Husband took me to see on my birthday a few years ago).

Bettie had such joy. Yes, she was a pin-up girl in sometimes ridiculous-looking outfits, but she retained this lovely lightness about everything she did. Bettie was in charge of her image and proud of it. She had a healthy attitude about her body and saw nothing wrong in showing it off. There was something about her that was different; a bad girl innocence. Bettie was no victim but celebrated her beauty, and her images are, without question, an iconic piece of American '50s pop culture.

When we saw "The Notorious Bettie Page" (at a little independent movie house), we saw Betties all over the place. (Even some male Betties). Everywhere we looked, people were celebrating their inner Bettie. The woman next to me had a cool Bettie purse and these really tall black leather platform boots (not that I'd ever wear them, but they're fun to look at on other people).

Bettie was fun, and we have our memento of her -- a Bettie Page lunch box depicting her in a bathing suit on the beach; the sides of the lunch box have a leopard print. Very retro.

So long, Bettie Page.

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