As a child of the 90s, when I think of Pamela Anderson it is hard to separate the person from the hypersexualized caricature that we were drip-fed throughout the era. She’s the playmate, the slow-mo running lifeguard, the rockstars wife. After watching her recent documentary “Pamela Anderson – A love story” I now think of her as a passionate animal rights activist, a doting mother, a fearless romantic, and a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
There are parallels here to be drawn to this Marylin Monroe / Norma Jean quality to her. A woman capitalizes on her beauty and sex appeal, while underneath; a childlike counterpart whose past is steeped in trauma and longs for structure, normality and above all, love.
Pamela Anderson talks bravely and honestly about her experiences of child sexual abuse at hands of her babysitter, as well as how she became a survivor of rape at 12 years old. She talks of how these experiences affected her relationship with her body, her disdain and deep embarrassment of it, and her uncomfortably within it. When she was first photographed by playboy, she describes a reconnection between herself and her body, an awakening to her sexuality despite the physical trauma that had crippled her. Even though I can’t say I am a fan of Playboy, I find myself elated for her.