Thursday, August 7, 2008

She's Not a Hot Mess - She's Just Hot

When I say things like “God, I love Pamela Anderson!” I feel like some old school feminist in the world just winced and held her hand to her forehead, like Harry Potter with his famous evil-sensing scar. I grew up with the bra-burning, hairy-legged, HERstory feminism of the 70’s and between that and the portrayals in mainstream culture, I grew up with a film of “beauty and brains don’t mix” that still clouds my perceptions, even though I know it’s just as much a prejudice as any other. It’s unfair and untrue, but there’s still a glitch in my bain which, when it sees statuesque blonde and does not think “scholar.” And if I’m that way I know a lot of other people have it a lot worse.

That’s why I love Pamela Anderson and moreover, I love her new show on E! “Pam: Girl on the Loose.” This 21st century siren ends her show with a broadcast from her bathtub, a sweet and sultry burlesque move for the digital age and she comes off throughout the show as smart, practical, creative, hard-working, unaffected and lovable. She bleaches her own hair. She blithely gets rid of Baywatch memorabilia in a charity estate sale in a fine example of material detachment. She has a nice, normal relationship with her mom. She’s not a hot mess – she’s just hot.

Maybe the fact that this is such a refreshing change says more about the nature of the current crop of stars than it does about Pamela, or bombshells for that matter. Our expectation have been systematically lowered by the Paris-Britney-Winehouse level BS that one is impressed if a young beauty is even sentient, much less vibrant and interesting, someone you’d want to have a vodka cran with.

Pamela Anderson comes off like that, a sister you’d want to hang with and learn a few things from, things like a) being a success doesn’t mean being a snob-and-a-half, b) you can use and enjoy your looks but they’re not everything and c) no freaking kidding – a Walt Whitman quote they used to was shown during her estate sale to benefit PETA: “This is what you shall do…love the earth and the sun and the animals. Despise riches….stand up for the stupid and crazy…and your very flesh shall be a great poem.”

A nice sentiment. And Pamela Anderson is, I think, one fabulous couplet.

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