The traits we love about Bettie are so vivid, it seems like we can reach out and grab some for ourselves – and we can! Here’s how.
BY TORI RODRIGUEZ
Almost 60 years after Bettie Page blazed a trail with her brief but mighty modeling career, countless women worldwide still emulate her iconic look: the style, the expressions, the poses – and of course, the bangs. The reasons for this go far beyond simple aesthetics. There is undeniably something about Bettie – lots of things, actually! – and we want to tap into those qualities that make her so timelessly special. Perhaps she’s like a mirror, showing us the possibility of being our most joyful, passionate, brave, creative, sensual selves. When you look at Bettie, those qualities are so vivid that they almost feel tangible, like you can reach out and grab some for yourself. There’s a sense that they are freely available to us too, with the reminder that Bettie gave us just by being unapologetically herself.
She is truly the embodiment of joy, freedom, confidence, and fully expressed, shameless beauty and sexuality. By intentionally calling on the various traits we admire in her, we can cultivate them in ourselves. This is part of what inspired my company Bettie Page Fitness, home of the first-ever body-positive fitness videos. Each move in the workouts is based on a Bettie pose, and I encourage viewers to embody some of Bettie’s empowering and health-promoting physical characteristics, including her stellar posture (the “Bettie lift” as I call it), balance, and core strength. In the spirit of Bettie’s strong example of self-acceptance, these workouts encourage viewers to respect and accept their bodies, and to exercise because it feels good and is good for us, rather than for punishment or to conform to a specific standard.
Many of Bettie’s poses were what psychologists now call “power poses.” These are big, open poses that take up a lot of space – versus being closed off and hunched over with arms crossed, for example. (I think of power poses as symbolically claiming one’s place in the world.) Researchers have found that power poses can boost confidence and body image, reduce stress, and increase creativity. By infusing our workouts with moves similar to hers, we can further encourage those effects.
As with the physical context, we can also choose to be like Bettie in any other way we choose. Some Bettie fans talk about having a “What would Bettie do?” sort of thing going on. By sometimes moving and living like she did, we can experience the feeling of being fully alive and in charge of our bodies and lives. When we need more courage, authenticity, playfulness, sensuality – whatever it might be – we can summon it from our muse, who thankfully has left us with endless examples of what those qualities look like. She’s an archetype of self-actualization, really. Whether in your workouts or any other area, ask yourself how you might “bring more Bettie to it.” It’s sure to be a fun experiment, and it might just change your life.
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