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In memory of Bettie Page

December 13th, 2008

Dr Petra

Sad news came this week with the announcement that burlesque star and model Bettie Page had passed away on December 11 2008.

In recent years Ms Page had acquired cult status due to the burlesque revival. However, for many years she was seen more negatively due to some of her modelling work in movies and stills with a BDSM theme. Some in the anti-porn movement used Ms Page as evidence that those who come from an abusive background gravitate towards porn (and used this as a further reason for calling for porn to be banned). Others from more pro-sex organisations held Ms Page up as a sexual pioneer, at times overlooking some of the mental health problems she suffered.

This is a similar story that has played out for other women involved in the sex industry, which means often their life stories are oversimplified or politicised in ways that aren’t always fair or accurate.

Bettie Page led an interesting life and was a complex character. Susie Bright has a very fitting tribute.

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