Last night, I was told that Bettie Page, one of my great idols and celebrity heartthrobs, was dead. It's difficult to explain her importance to me. Given my history of unreasonable jealousy toward the beautiful and famous, it doesn't make very much sense that I should idolize one of the beautifulest and famousest of them all. But for me, Bettie Page was always somewhere outside the boundaries of consideration for the so-called Cult of Beauty. She was always too curvy, too naughty, and too brunette for that patently Aryan affair. She was always somewhere outside the boundaries of social acceptance, and yet she remains one of the most photographed people in history. Everyone wanted to see her, to soak in her surprised glances and to ogle her lusty proportions. But she was the kind of girl most of us prefer to keep buried in a shoe box at the back of the closet. She was the world's guilty pleasure, chattered scandalously about in select company, stared at by countless shamefaced but bewitched men and women of every demographic, and used for the pretty face she undoubtedly was.
But for me, she was and will always remain the most beautiful woman in history. Her perfect face, her bold hips, and her exquisite breasts all aid in this opinion, of course; but it is her fragility, her subjugation by the sexually hypocritical world she was forced to live in, and her place as a proud outsider which cause me to feel an honest warmth whenever I am witness to her image. She wanted only to give herself, in all her splendid glory, to a society which wanted only to cast her down with one hand and to grope her with the other. Nothing could make me love or respect her more than her ability to retain a flirty, playful smile throughout.