This excellent article pretty much sums up my thoughts on the late Betty Page. It’s a frank examination of her life and her legacy.
Whereas Borges was a writer and Monroe was an actress, Page was a body—as pure an object as the pornographer can manage. Page was never really asked to act (unless cat fights and bondage performance count as ‘acting’ at a level comparable to Monroe’s embodiment of a character). Page was merely asked to ‘be’. But to ‘be’ only as an object, subject to our gaze, subject to the whip, subject to an open handed spanking. Indeed, the binary qualities of bondage and domination are found in the subject-object relationship. Her ‘80s and ‘90s resurrection as a figure of interest was as an image to be drawn, dressed up, or otherwise consumed, which serves to further exemplify the prominence of Page the image as object to be manipulated or to be used as decoration. Her “life” was erased by the image that she had become.