Recently, I read your book and watched a documentary about your life. When I finished, I decided to write you this letter – a letter and message you should have received 25-plus years ago.
However, in 1995, I was nine years old. At the time, I knew you as a stunning actress with implants. I knew you were married to a wild musician and thought you were a little wild. At the height of your fame, I was just a kid living my life without any clue that my mere perception of you, which was unfair and incomplete, contributed to people’s warped justification to mistreat you.
As a child, I didn’t realize that people were captivated by your shell but oblivious to the fact that there was a real person underneath.
Also, I didn’t know (or maybe don’t remember) about your sex tape until I watched the documentary. As a woman and survivor of sexual violence, I was devastated by how the justice system grossly failed you. A sex tape was stolen from your home and distributed to millions without your consent.
When you took a stand, instead of the system protecting you from being violated, they violated you even more. Revenge Porn laws, which prohibit people from distributing sexual images and videos without consent, were still years away. But there was plenty of basic legislation in place that could’ve led to some accountability. Somebody robbed you, and you owned the rights to that video.
Opposing lawyers argued that since you posed naked by choice in Playboy, your body was, as the documentary put it, “public property.” None of the lawsuits ended in your favor, as the system took away your right to choose when, where, and how your body is seen.
That is reckless, inhumane, and insanely misogynistic.
I wonder if the same logic would have applied if you grabbed one of the lawyer’s watches off their wrist and told them, “Well, I heard you gave your son your Rolex for Christmas, so now you have no right to decide when you give away your watches.”
You said the distribution of the sex tape felt like rape. I think it was rape.
And people should have been crying out in a fury, but instead, they were too busy bursting into laughter and meddling in every detail of your life.
TV and radio hosts asked you questions they wouldn’t have asked other people, including questions about your breasts and sexuality. Comedians made jokes about the tape. And people across the globe talked about your body and your tape as if it was their right to do so. This happened because society let it happen. The way people treated you was viewed as socially acceptable.
You were an exaggerated example of the injustice towards and mistreatment of women that persists in our society today. So many women have been dismissed, ignored, and abused without consequence. So many women have spoken up against predators only to be told they asked for it, deserved it, or their memory is flawed. So many women had had their looks discredit their intelligence or talent, as if there was some correlation between attractiveness and competency. So many women have smiled through jokes that aren’t funny – just to keep the peace or maybe even to keep their job.
Pam, you could be so angry right now (and rightfully so), but instead, you’re at peace with your journey. You raised two sons who love and appreciate you. You continue to live with an open heart and a curious mind. You advocate for animals, and you’ve learned not to let how other people view you impact how you view yourself.
For years so many people were captivated by your body. But your book and documentary finally gave people a glimpse at your heart.
And while I am glad it did, there is still no excuse for how our society enabled people to mistreat you.
I am writing this letter to you now to offer you what you, and all women, deserve and have deserved all along, which is endless support.
I hope every door opens back up for you and you walk through the ones that lead you to your happiness.
Keep being strong and brave. It inspires us all.
2 thoughts on “Dear Pamela, I read your story and I want you to know this”
Tremendous letter Lauren. Very powerful
Yes, I watched it too. There was always so much superficiality and artifice in the coverage of her life, that I tuned it out. When I watched the documentary, I realized what assholes the press had been. Did you catch the female reporter who asked, “Will you become a serious actress?” while they were on the set of Baywatch? She replied, “I am!” That question spoke volumes about perceptions and how they’re shaped by layers of misogyny.
Thanks for writing that letter of support. I hope she sees it.