19 April 2009

The Passing of a Pioneer, Bettie Page

Bettie Page on the bow of a classic wooden Chris Craft.

Bettie Page was the ground-breaking pinup model of the 1950s -- the lone talent to shatter all the taboos and, eventually, open up America to mainstream artistic female nudity, erotica, and non-mainstream work such as bondage photos. Ever joyful in front of a camera, we owe her a lot. She helped free this country from it's now-pointless puritan roots.

With her December passing, she will be missed, and continue to be admired.

Bettie, you were the best. Requiescat in pace.


Captain Happy said...

I don't have a "family" in terms of children, but I would argue it's neither family friendly nor family unfriendly. It is just a picture of a naked woman. To say it is either "artistic" or "tastefully done" is debatable only because those terms are highly subjective.

In my opinion, there is nothing sexual about it. In other words, she is not being sexually suggestive (i.e. some awkward pose that simulates a sexual position, giving a seductive look to imply she wants to have sex or is sexually aroused, showing her body in a gratuitous fashion, etc.)

The reason the picture appeals to me is due to the setting, stare, and smile; thus, it COULD be argued the nudity is gratuitous because it would still be a great picture even if she were fully clothed. However, my counter is that the nudity may even enhance the photo. It emphasizes the theme of being free on the open sea, and further alludes that the lack of encumbrance is at the root of her elated expression.

I can understand why some parents do not want sex....umm....thrusted onto their children during adolescence. It is difficult for the parents to explain or the child to understand. Nudity, on the other hand, is as simple as it gets. In fact, the truly difficult question from a child that the parent may have to answer is, "Why do we wear clothes?"

JohnnyThunder said...

Being born in the 70's and extremely over-exposed to all things worldly pretty early on, I didn't have much of an educated opinion or any at all really about Betty Page when I was growing up. I recognized her because she is an icon and I can't remember not knowing who she was. The bondage images were never my thing but not because it's offensive or weird, just not my cup of tea I guess. Reflecting, I think it was the fact that it was R-rated at the most and my generation and especially those after me have had the filthiest of porn at a click for 15+ years, it wasn't shocking. Pretty pedestrian in comparison actually. What I have read and heard from others in say the last three years or so has given me quite a different perspective. Learning how she had not been photographed for decades and trying to decipher what motivated that decision has helped me to see the uniqueness and appreciate that were it not for her than all these other images and the fact that we can even see them "at a click's notice" is directly attributed to hr and what she represented. I hope she is still revered in the decades to come and gets the credit she deserves.

Paco Malo said...

Dear Capt. Happy and Johnny Thunder,

Thank you both for your excellent comments. Both comments, cover different ground, edify the reader on the topics you focus on.

This is a far better post because of your additions.

PacoP.S. Capt. Happy: the themes you strike about freedom on a boat are exactly why I picked that particular Betty Page photo to put up. ;-)