Diversity on the Pinup Scene

It was such an honor to feature many of these beautiful babes in The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups! Plus, Miss Velvet Wren, Diamant Duchess, Angelique Noire, and Ashleeta Beachamp offered their thoughts about diversity on the pinup scene.

Jenny Rieu, Angelique Noire, Ashleeta Beauchamp, Vintage Vandalizm & LaCoreXicana at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend (photographer unknown)

Jenny Rieu, Angelique Noire, Ashleeta Beauchamp, Vintage Vandalizm & LaCoreXicana at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend (photographer unknown)

The Trap Pinup Diamant Duchess (by Brooklyn Brat Images), Ashleeta Beauchamp (by Lars Kommienezuspadt)

The Trap Pinup Diamant Duchess (by Brooklyn Brat Images), Ashleeta Beauchamp (by Lars Kommienezuspadt)

Miss Velvet Wren (Amber Rhodes-Lapoint), Angelique Noire (by Romain Court)

Miss Velvet Wren (Amber Rhodes-Lapoint), Angelique Noire (by Romain Court)


Bettie's Advice for the New Year!

In this excerpt from the book Bettie Page: The Lost Years, Bettie wrote these words of wisdom to her sister Goldie for New Year’s 1999 – exactly 20 years ago!

The ultimate optimist, Bettie was always looking up!

The ultimate optimist, Bettie was always looking up!

In her letter to Goldie, Bettie wrote:

I’ve got a big sign up on my bedroom wall, among others, that I’m trying with all my might to do: “I must practice positive thinking at all times and eliminate negative thinking.” Do you know it makes all the difference in the world as to how you feel if you don’t moan and groan about all the bad things that have happened to you throughout your past life, if you put it all behind you and expect good things to come to you. Chances are they will just because you believe it.

As part of my studies on anti- aging and longevity (I’m trying to live to be 100+ in good health as much as possible), I’ve been reading a lot about the power of the mind to heal. You know there are two truisms: you are what you eat and you are what you think! Your mind influences every part of your body. You are only as old as you think.

Your mind affects your body’s ability to make itself sick or well. Your thoughts determine whether you become old as you age or stay young. How you think results in how you feel. Unhappy emotions and poor self- image can lead to disease.

I know from personal experience that this works, Goldie (oops, I mean Gloria). Maybe you should copy all of this in big letters and put it up on the wall where you can read it every day—like I do—and DO it!!! Believe me, that’s the best possible New Year’s resolution you could make.

♥ ♥ ♥

A Quickie with Model Stefania Ferrario

A quick interview that is… Jeez, you have a dirty mind!

♥ All photos of Stefania courtesy of @stefania_raw ♥

♥ All photos of Stefania courtesy of @stefania_raw ♥

I first learned about Stefania Ferrario – one of my very favorite models ever!! – from an Instagram post by Dita Von Teese, and I quickly fell in love with her look, vibe, and body-positive, be-you message. I soon found out that she’s a fan of Queen Bettie, which makes perfect sense, as the two goddesses have a lot in common.

They’ve both had to deal with size discrimination in the modeling industry, are fierce advocates for courageous self-expression, and refuse to conform to mainstream norms. Not to mention they are both iconic beauties who are innovative and creative, and they freely express their sexuality in a way that is joyful and authentic. Clearly, I could go on and on. But I’ll let Stefania tell you a bit more about herself in this quick Q&A.

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BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

Bettie Page Fitness: You seem like you’d be a blast to hang out with. What do you like to do for fun in your free time?

Stefania: Watch horror movies and music clips from the 80’s, lol!

BPF: What are your favorite types of exercise?

Stefania: I've enjoyed trying out Tai chi, and now yoga on my new Bettie Page yoga mats!

BPF: How do you strike a balance between being mindful about your eating without being too restrictive?   

Stefania: I just remind myself, “Everything in moderation” – including moderation itself! :)

BPF: What some of your favorite ways to recharge?

Stefania: I like taking my time to do my glam makeup when I have the chance. Otherwise, I'll put on my James Dean and head out bare-faced and boyish. 

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BPF: When did you first learn about Bettie? 

Stefania: To be honest I cannot remember the exact time. It feels like I've always known of her.

BPF: What are some of the things you most love and admire about her?

Stefania: She was a free spirit in numerous ways. She lived her life to the fullest and tested out different avenues in her life. I feel bad that time got to her, however. She was always beautiful to me, even in her later years. 

BPF: What’s next in your world in terms of work, personal, or anything else you’d like to share?

Stefania: I just want to keep modeling. I'll be staying in Australia from now on, however, after my experiences of treatment in the great USA.

BPF: It sounds like somebody deserves an ass-whuppin’… I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope you’ll change your mind someday and return to grace us with your spectacular presence!

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♥♥♥ 

Food Fix: Permission vs Panic

Improve your relationship with food by shifting your focus from deprivation to abundance

No need to panic… you can always have more later!

No need to panic… you can always have more later!

BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

“You can have more later.” Isn’t there such comfort in hearing that?  There’s something about having a sense of choice and abundance that makes us tend to take only as much as we need or want.

I used to have a wicked sweet tooth, and when I was trying not to indulge, when I would finally “let” myself, it felt like it was my only chance to do it for who knew how long. “Get it while you can” was the message, which only served to create feelings of scarcity and anxiety around food. So I would eat way too much and then feel out of control and physically awful – energy crash, headache, and all-around ickyness. Over time, as I worked toward cultivating a healthy relationship with food, I learned about proper nutrition and the basic physiology of how consistently overeating, especially sugary foods, affects our insulin and blood sugar levels and pretty much every system in our bodies.

I began making choices rooted in treating my body with kindness (learn about the Health at Every Size approach HERE), paying more attention to how my body felt than to the rules my mind rehearsed – more of an internal versus external focus.  When I gave up the restrictive approach and knew I could have more later of whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, because I was no longer constantly trying to “get back on track,” I began eating enough to satisfy but not enough to sicken. 

Do your friendships feed you? What about other areas of your life – do you feel nourished or deprived?

Do your friendships feed you? What about other areas of your life – do you feel nourished or deprived?

Sometimes I would take myself up on the offer to have more, but just as often I’d forget about it or not want more when later came. I was surprised to discover that, given the choice, I rarely wanted as much as I once thought I did. The have-more-later approach allows me to pause and pay attention to how my body feels and make choices accordingly, rather than mindlessly inhaling half a cake and barely even tasting or truly enjoying it.

I’d venture to say that most of us have experienced deprivation – imposed by others or by ourselves – whether with food, love, acceptance, or self-expression. Start working toward awareness of what you’re hungry for, both with food and otherwise. Turn your focus away from rules and limits, and focus on adding the things that nurture you in whichever parts of your life where you’re not getting enough of what you need. If you’re strongly driven by “shoulds” and “should nots” with your eating, it’s highly likely you operate the same way in other areas.

Obsessing over rules keeps your relationship with food in your head – fixating on what you can and can’t, should and shouldn’t eat; what’s “good” or “bad” or “fattening” or not – instead of driven by your body’s cues. It makes you act on external factors instead of intrinsic ones, which is disempowering, ineffective, and can give you a sense of disconnection from yourself and others.

Try for the most part to make food and exercise choices based on a combination of what you know about your body (this is the priority) and what is known about how to achieve and maintain good health (and there’s much more to it than what or how much to eat or work out! Plenty of sleep, socializing, and relaxation, are also essential, for example). If you’re not clear in these areas, set out to explore both. Seek to empower yourself with knowledge, but don’t trust sources that shame you for your choices or generally make you feel like shit about yourself, and expect and embrace a trial-and-error process as you discover what fills you.


Enjoy every single bite! Celebrate food and life!

Enjoy every single bite! Celebrate food and life!

Move away from restraint and deprivation, and start thinking abundance, adding, expanding, enhancing, fulfilling, and satisfying. Instead of “eat less junk,” start with “eat more plants.” Guess what? You’ll inevitably eat less junk. This is a good metaphor for feeding your mind and spirit too – the more you get what you need, the less you’ll want what you don’t need. So instead of trying to subtract the junk, aim instead to add the nutritious stuff. But just as importantly, DO NOT fall into the guilt trap when you eat the junky stuff… that will just continue to feed the binge-shame-restrict-binge cycle.

Get to know your body by asking yourself (even if the answers aren’t readily apparent), “What really satisfies me, in terms of food and otherwise? How do I physically feel after I eat this? After I eat X amount of it?” Ideally, you’ll jot these notes in a journal so you can notice patterns over time. Approach it like a lifelong experiment to explore and find out how much and what kinds make you feel happiest and most alive, given your unique design.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between feeling bad physiologically – nausea, headache, bloating, lack of energy – and feeling like a terrible person because you ate something deemed “bad.” Start placing more emphasis on the former, and remember that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation – and in excess at times! Food doesn’t intrinsically have moral value, despite the media’s and many confused humans’ longtime tendency to frame certain foods as “sinful” and “bad” and something one “cheats” with, along with the common reinforcement of those views by family, friends, co-workers, and even the people who are supposed to be experts. I’ve seen many a fitness pro or dietitian promote these dangerous ideas.

In the process of unlearning deprivation, you may at first eat more than you need. But eventually, with the reassurance that you can have what you want or need at any time, you’ll come to trust yourself. Then you’ll realize there’s no need to overdo it, and the fear and panic will subside, becoming unnecessary.  “You can have more later” is a powerful message. ♥





Weight Stigma Worse for Health Than Being "Overweight"

Research shows that anti-fat bias has more of a negative impact than weight itself.

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BY TORI RODRIGUEZ, FOR MEDICAL BAG

As obesity rates continue to rise, healthcare providers have increased efforts to encourage weight loss in patients considered to be overweight in the interest of reducing associated harms like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. However, emerging evidence suggests that these efforts may also cause harm by promoting weight stigma, which has been linked with a range of negative health outcomes and an increased risk of death. Read the full story here: https://www.medicalbag.com/medicine/weight-stigma-vs-obesity-providing-compassionate-care/article/810901/ 💗

 

The Bettie Page Fitness Body-Positive Wellness Plan!

Forget all the complicated diets and scary exercise regimens. Stick to these tried-and-true basics for optimal health.

The building blocks of the Bettie Page Fitness Body-Positive Wellness Plan! Do as many of these as you can on most days, and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t.

The building blocks of the Bettie Page Fitness Body-Positive Wellness Plan! Do as many of these as you can on most days, and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t.

BY TORI RODRIGUEZ, MA, LPC, AHC

[This info was the basis for last year’s Bettie Page Fitness Health Challenge. We will be doing the challenge again this November. To sign up, enter your email when prompted by the popup box when you enter this site, or shoot us an email at info@bettiepagefitness.com.]

As a psychotherapist, wellness coach, and health journalist with expertise in food and body images issues among others, I often find that when people want to improve their health or other areas of their lives, they feel compelled to make big, sweeping, fancy changes that are either impossible or unsustainable (not to mention joy-sucking and boring). What I’ve also learned throughout my many years of professional and personal experience is that the most effective approach to getting and staying healthy is to simply focus on the tried-and-true basics. This sometimes doesn’t appeal to people who are ready for things to be completely different RIGHT NOW and want that shot of hope that comes from planning to radically overhaul their lives (uh, diet culture, anyone?)

But the letdown when you realize it isn’t doable is more painful than the initial fleeting feel-goods. Diets don’t work, and you don’t need any complicated plan to make major, lasting changes. If you’re ready to give up those quick fixes that quickly fizzle and want to create sustainable changes that actually feel good, then focus on these 6 key areas and just do as many as you can on most days. Make a commitment to yourself to keep it judgment-free and weight-neutral, and keep your inner perfectionist out of it! This is about building a strong, healthy foundation and learning to listen to yourself and make decisions about your health based on what your body tells you instead of what any diet plan, magazine, fitspo page, your mom or friends, or anyone says. (That includes me – which is why these are all suggestions that you should adapt to your own needs.)

Love this bo-po illustration… Does anyone know who the artist is?

Love this bo-po illustration… Does anyone know who the artist is?

This solid self-care approach will help you start shifting your thinking from an externally-focused viewpoint (based on calories, pounds, societal messages) to an internally-focused one based on how your body feels and what you know it needs. Note: You don’t have to love your body to improve your health; you only need to be willing to take care of it or at least to start working toward that goal.

♥  THE PLAN

The basic goals are summed up in the Bettie collage at the top of this post. You might want to save it to your phone or print it out so you’ll have a quick reminder of what you’re going for.

{Each day, thank your body when you wake up.}

♥ Be mindful. As much as possible, avoid distractions when you eat. Fully experience and enjoy your food. Same with exercise: Instead of just trying to get it over with, notice how your body feels as you do it, and appreciate all the countless cells and many systems working in your favor to allow your body to move.

♥ Listen to your body. Aim to pay attention to how it feels before, during and after eating and exercising. You might also start simply getting in the habit of asking your body, “What do you need right now?” even if you can’t recognize the answers yet. 

♥ Eat 5-9 veggies & fruits daily. Eat mostly plant-based (veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains) whole foods – in other words, ones that aren’t overly processed – including at least 3 vegetables and 2 fruits daily, more if you’re already there (9 is the daily amount recommended by the USDA). Eat organic as much as possible, but don’t stress when you can’t. Your protein sources, of course, will vary based on whether you’re vegetarian or vegan or neither. Healthy fats are essential for everyone.

Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, more if you’re very active. Coffee and all kinds of tea are generally great for our health, unless you have a particular reason why you're not supposed to drink them - so enjoy in liberal moderation (in other words, unlimited coffee still isn't a good idea. Well, only in theory.) This isn’t a diet plan; these are concrete actions you can take to improve your health. Don’t frame foods as “good” or “bad, and don’t be restrictive with your eating. Loving limits: Yes. Rigid rules: No.

♥ Move daily if you are able – whatever kind you like. The Bettie Page Fitness videos are great options for strength, cardio, and yoga, especially when you can’t make it outside or to the gym. Some days you might only have time for a 10-minute walk or quickie strength workout… and that’s okay. Bring your full attention to it and make it the best 10 minutes of your day! {Thank your body when you finish.} If you can’t manage any physical activity, do some extra rounds of breathing exercises to create internal movement – you’re still vastly improving your health by increasing oxygen and detoxing your cells, soothing your nervous system, increasing endorphins, and lots more.

♥ Relax. Be sure to carve out time regularly to do literally nothing, laze around with friends or your lover or dog, or whatever makes you feel relaxed. Even when we’re working on self-care, we need regular breaks from focusing on goals or it takes the joy out of it. If being with other humans rejuvenates you, then your relaxation time might sometimes include socializing… also a key component of optimal health, though some need more or less people-time than others.

♥ Sleep at least 7 hours each night. Most of us really do need 8, some need more and some less. But given our current global sleep crisis, a solid 7 each night is an excellent starting point. {Before you sleep, thank your body for getting you through another day.}

*****

Now here’s the part that can be most challenging for many of us: Try to approach all of this with non-judgment, self-compassion, and curiosity instead of the fear and perfectionism that health plans can evoke. If you have days that you can’t meet all (or any!) of your goals, seriously don’t waste a minute judging and criticizing yourself for it. Let this be a truly healthy experience, and don’t bring any of that kind of dread and anxiety to this process. Instead, use that time and energy constructively and put it toward figuring out what might work better next time.

The main thing I want you to do is pay attention – to whatever thoughts and feelings may arise as you work toward your goals, any barriers that get in the way, and what seems to work well for you or not. Ideally, you will also take at least 10-15 minutes for self-reflection each night to record (in whatever format works for you) these observations in addition to noting how/what you did toward your goals that day.

When you’re done reflecting, do a breath-based or guided meditation for 2-5 minutes to sort of reset. Here’s one of my simple faves: Set a timer and do a 4:2:6 breathing pattern – Inhale deep into your belly for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts, then exhale completely over 6 counts. Just pay attention to your breath as you go, and when your mind wanders, gently return your focus to your breath. If you want to try different breathing techniques, check these out: https://bit.ly/2xxz7ug

At the end of each week, set aside more time for focused reflection to assess your progress, notice any patterns, and adjust your goals or strategy if needed.

That’s the basic blueprint! Tweak as needed to make it work for you. Stay tuned to this site and explore previous posts for more tips and articles about health, fitness, body image, Bettie (of course), and more!

Best of luck and warmest regards,

♥ Tori

Jungle Bettie's Fitness Adventures!

Some of my all-time favorite Bettie pics are the Bunny Yeager shots in that infamous one-piece leopard creation that our ever-resourceful queen made herself. These were shot in Florida at Africa USA in Boca Raton and on the beach at Key Biscayne. Bettie’s awe-inspiring fitness and flexibility are on full display as she climbs, hangs, crawls, and does some impossible balance maneuvers near a waterfall (even on wet rocks!), including an advanced yoga toe-stand looking move and a reverse tabletop pose – on her toes, of course – with a leg extension. So yeah, our queen was basically superhuman. Check her out!

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❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Was Bettie Page "Really" a Feminist?

She undoubtedly represents and contributes to women’s empowerment, but does the F-word apply to the Queen of Pinups?

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BY TORI RODRIGUEZ

Bettie is often hailed as a feminist icon – and rightly so. As I wrote in The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups, she earned a bachelor’s degree at a time when less than 4% of women were college graduates, and she was the rare woman of her time who lived independently and supported herself. She unintentionally blazed a trail as a key figure in the sexual revolution and one of the top supermodels in history, despite having been rejected by Ford Models for being too curvy. She survived numerous traumas and other hardships throughout her life and has inspired countless women to live fully and freely in many respects.

Some folks debate whether she was “really” a feminist… she’s not on record as saying so definitively either way, but in an interview with Playboy, she was asked directly if she was a feminist. Her answer: “Women should have equal employment rights. A woman who does the same job as a man should get the same money.” Alas, women today make only about 80% of a man’s wages, on average, and this rate is even lower for women of color.

So, Bettie clearly had feminist leanings but then goes on to say: “As for women who don't want men to be courteous, to give a girl their seat on a bus, I don't go in for that. I think women should enjoy those niceties and courtesies from men.”

To each her own, but my thinking on this is that people of all genders should be equally courteous to each other and to the elderly, pregnant women, etc. I believe an able-bodied person in general should hold doors for others and give up their bus seat for an elderly or ill person. I also think it has to do with intentions and whether the gesture is rooted in gender stereotypes… For example, if a man is giving up his seat or helping a woman because he thinks she is inherently more fragile and in need of protection, that constitutes “benevolent sexism,” a practice that researchers have linked with rape culture and victim-blaming, gender inequality in the workplace, and even cardiovascular disease risk in women.  

And guess what else? Benevolent sexists will be chivalrous and adoring as long as you correctly perform your gender as they believe women should, but will reject you when you step outside those lines. So, benevolent sexism can be sneakily harmful in ways that are harder to discern and confront than with hostile sexism.

Side note: As for whether Bettie was “truly” a feminist, I believe that someone can contribute substantially to a cause (in Bettie’s case, feminism and while we’re at it, body positivity) even if it isn’t intentional and even if they don’t call themselves a feminist – although I highly recommend it, of course!

What do y’all think about all this? Comment below or on this post on IG or FB.