A Bit More About Bettie Page

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To follow up on the post here, a reader sent a link to this 1998 interview published at Nerve.com which of course includes the bondage photos.   Below is an excerpt:

Are you flattered by any and all of the work that’s been done or created in your honor, or do you find any of it odd or misplaced?
The only thing I find upsetting [is that] over the years, especially in the last ten years, they keep referring to me in the magazines and newspapers and everywhere else as the Queen of Bondage. The only bondage posing I ever did was for Irving Klaw and his sister Paula. Usually every other Saturday he had a session for four or five hours with four or five models and a couple of extra photographers, and in order to get paid you had to do an hour of bondage. And that was the only reason I did it. I never had any inkling along that line. I don’t really disapprove of it; I think you can do your own thing as long as you’re not hurting anybody else : that’s been my philosophy ever since I was a little girl. I never looked down my nose at it. In fact, we used to laugh at some of the requests that came through the mail, even from judges and lawyers and doctors and people in high positions. Even back in the ’50s they went in for the whips and the ties and everything else.

So bondage and fetishism was never your shtick, so to speak?
No, I never had any inkling toward it. The only other reason I agreed to do it was because the men were never allowed to tie any of the girls up. Only Paula was allowed to tie us up, and she was very gentle and took her time. I just had one bad experience where I was tied spread-eagled between two big [beams] with my arms up and out and my legs spread and my feet were about six inches off the ground and before they got through taking what seemed like umpteen pictures, I thought it was gonna pull the sockets right out of my shoulders. And I started hollering, “Hurry up, I’m hurting.” That’s the only bad experience I had during the bondage. And guess what? Later, Irving Klaw told me that those pictures of me spread-eagled off the ground sold more than any pictures he ever sold in all of his years of selling pin-ups and even movie-star pictures, those things of me in agony [laughs].

Did she really laugh about the fact that pictures taken when she was in real physical pain were the best sellers? I kind of doubt it.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to A Bit More About Bettie Page

  1. jason.wojciechowski says:

    Whether it seems right or not (this is a subject I’m of two minds about), I can say that doubt about whether she actually laughed isn’t my response. Disappointment maybe? Do you think the Nerve writer made that part up?

  2. Samquilla says:

    Also, people laugh for plenty of reasons that have nothing to do with feelings of mirth. Being uncomfortable with the subject or trying to diffuse tension being high among them. I don’t find it implausible that she laughed, but I suspect it was a short, uncomfortable laugh as opposed to a ROFL in amusement.

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