Sunday, April 30, 2006

Modern Day Saints #2

Bettie Page. The current biopic of her life as a pin-up model shows a woman without guile or shame, in a role that some may consider a tawdry or sinful. As portrayed by Gretchen Mol, Bettie seems more at ease out of her clothes than in them, yet is never purient or sleazy. Modern (or even traditional) pornography and her "bondage" and cheesecake poses are worlds apart. Bettie was a self-made person, who had a talent for posing, and inspired (is that the right word?) millions with her animal vitality and expressive personality. That fact, along with her deep religious faith (which she never gave up), is hard to reconcile with puritanical or repressive Christianity. The conflict between sexuality and culture will always be with us, but any reconciliation will never have as much grace as the "Notorious" Bettie Page did in her pinup photos.

By Professor Batty


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