Bettie Page is an icon.
We’ve all heard of her–but not many of us know her history or her background. Born in Nashville in April 22, 1923–her parents divorced by the age of ten. Her father was imprisoned, and molested Bettie as a pre-teen. Her family in shambles, her mother destitute, the young Bettie and her two sisters were sent to live in an orphanage briefly.
I wouldn’t say life got much better. A diva, a star. People see and use her–this was the reason we promo-ed the issue with an image of her back to us, the viewer, and her facing a line of photographers. Yet, Bettie was more than that, more than the misery she was often surrounded with. It would be incorrect to say she was a pinball, shot around with no agency. She had a life. She was happy. She had a libido.
And that is why we dedicate this issue to Bettie, the woman who was raped in a car one of her first nights in LA, who in 1972 pulled a knife on her husband and his kids–forcing them to pray to Jesus. Who in 1979 pulled a knife on an elderly couple and then was committed. To Bettie Page, who inspired the counterculture of generations to come. We have selected artwork to represent this bi-polar nature, the bucolic nostalgic happiness and the dark brooding aspects of her life.
It’s not about a poster. It’s not about a haircut. It’s about a human being who was orphaned from her home and her support and made her way. We take her in gladly, for all her many facets, and encourage all of our readers to look into her history more.
ISSUE 10: Bettie. 01/08/2014