Pamela Anderson: What Her Story Says About Us By Daisy Foster

Pamela Anderson: What Her Story Says About Us By Daisy Foster

. 4 min read

If her recent documentary and memoir have taught us nothing, it’s what it means to survive a very full life–and keep a hopeful heart.

One unsuspecting evening in 1997, I trudged over to my writing partner’s several-story walkup in NYC’s Murray Hill to find him standing, remote control in hand, excitedly in front of the TV. Those were the days of large box televisions, with cable and a VCR strung to its back. As I took off my jacket and set down my laptop, he rewound and fast-forwarded the tape—the video squiggled and shrieked—before he turned to me and asked, “Have you seen the Pam and Tommy video yet?”

Of course I hadn’t. I hadn’t wanted to either. The tape was stolen sometime in 1996, so by now, it was copied and shared and, apparently, everyone had seen it but me. I’d heard about it, of course, but not paid too much attention. All I knew was that Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee had taped themselves gallivanting nude and having sex, mostly on a boat. This didn’t interest me in the slightest. “Dude…” my friend said, “you gotta see this…” He started the tape right at the most intimate moment, Tommy on top of Pam, her with the video camera. He climaxes and ejaculates on her. If memory serves, she kept repeating over and over that she loved him and he eventually states, wearily: “I love you…” My friend—who, if he hadn’t been an old friend would have officially been a creepy weirdo for suggesting this whole viewing session—turns to me and says, about Tommy Lee: “He’s fucking hung like a bear…”

But that wasn’t my takeaway. I felt that it was something I should not have seen. Appropriately, I hadn’t viewed a couple’s private sex tape before, and it just seemed wrong. At the time, there was a rumor that Pam and Tommy had possibly distributed this themselves for publicity, but I didn’t care. I didn’t need to see anymore.

Flash forward to February 2022, Hulu’s Pam & Tommy series is the most talked about new show. Lily James wore a breast plate and Sebastian Stan a prosthetic penis (that even talks). It’s a complete mockery of their lives and relationship. No surprise, Pamela Anderson had nothing to do with it. Why would she want to relive that horrific time in her life?

Her response was Pamela, a love story, an hour-plus documentary (released in January 2023) about her life and career, starting from her troubled childhood to the lucky breaks (combined with hard work ethic) that built a storied career in Playboy, Baywatch and then some.

If we’d been paying attention, we would have already known much of what the documentary teaches us, including the pain over her marriage to Lee (and the others that followed), as well as her and Lee’s attempts—and eventual failure—to repossess the tapes she and her husband never gave away in the first place. Other important takeaways include her ability to laugh when she’s the brunt of a joke (which she was publicly, often), her tireless advocacy for animals, and her fierce devotion to her two sons. People made a lot of money off of her and, as her son Brandon states in the documentary, she’s spent most of her life in debt.

Perhaps the greatest reminder is how, living her life in the public eye--some of it scantily clad--makes others think she doesn’t have rights to privacy. Or even her own self.

And that’s where we come in—you, me, all of us. When Pam was younger, so were we. Times, discussion, and the ability to discuss deeper topics has changed over the decades. Pamela wasn’t the first blonde to be treated like an object, bear the brunt of bad jokes, and she definitely won’t be the last.

Media created Pam and the media told us how to think. No matter how smart or how feminist you consider yourself, if you’re being honest, you followed.

What we do learn from the documentary is what a warrior she is.

More importantly, though few of us have the same exact experiences, there’s a universality in midlife that we can all relate to. Looking back at our first two or three decades, we were all beautiful with endless possibilities. The heartbreaks, though necessary, do change us. Life didn’t turn out the way we thought it was going to. But we have grown into strong and powerful creatures. Hopefully, like Pamela, we can stay pure at heart.

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend! And I'd love to have you join us on instagram, facebook & twitter.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter curated by Dish Stanley on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


'Merci'! to Emily in Paris for one of the most riverting women in pop culture "Divorce, Baby, Divorce" by Liza Lentini "Don't Touch My Hat.*" Midlife Men & Loneliness "This is a Tale of Modern Love ..." 2022 2024 Hit List 3 things I'm crushing on 5 Books to Help You Chill TF Out 5 Great Boutique Hotels Around NYC. By Jeanne Bosse 5 things that turn our crush readers on A Book That Could Unf*ck Your Relationship: I Want This To Work By Elizabeth Earnshaw. Reviewed By Angela Kempf. A Circle of Crones. By Elayne Clift A Roman Love Affair. By Lady Verity A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics About Face: Skincare Essentials for Men An Upbeat Playlist for the Divorce-curious And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need A SATC Reboot? And Just Like That... Who Are These People?? By Jeanne Bosse And so this is Another brother gained and lost. By Jeanne Bosse Ask Dish Bedtime Rituals for Couples. By Lauren D. Weinstein Bisexually Anxious Among the Noodges. Review: shiva Baby Bloody Good Sex Book review Book Review: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers Book Review: I'm With The Band by Pamela Des Barres. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude Book Review: Maurice Book Review: Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible Book Review: Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins. Reviewed By Lady Varity Book Review: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It Every Time By Maria Konnikova' Book Review: The Lover. By Marguerite Duras. Book Review: The Story of O Book Review: VOX by Nicholson Baker. Reviewed by Christian Pan Building The Perfect Music Collection Calm App Review: “If I Traveled Or Worked In An Office, I Would Rely On This App Heavily”. By Evie Arnaude Christian Pan CRUSH Summer Reading List! From CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, Owner of The Chatham Bookstore Culture/Comments Dear Dish devour DEVOUR {things to do, have & know about} Devour: Reads we think you should devour Dish Gets A Kink Assessment. Dish Stanley Dish Stanley's Rules for Polite Society Doing Nothing With Friends Effortless, Natural Holiday Makeup. By Lauren D. Weinstein Emily In Paris Extended Encounters. By Lisa Ellex F*ck Songs. Three Best Jazz Albums for a Sexy Night In. By Lisa Ellex Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude: Mireille Guiliano. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude Five Best Jazz Clubs Around The Country. By Lisa Ellex Foria's Totally Useful Guide to Sexting Four Indie Bookstore That Stayed In My Life Long After I Left Town. By Dish Stanley French Kiss: French Girls Do It Better, Right? friendship Fun in the sun skincare tips get your spy thrill on Girl Crush. By Lady Verity Grief. By Lauren D. Weinstein Healing Through Change. By Lauren D Weinstein Heard It at The Grammys: Dishs Crush on Silk Sonic Hefner. By Bob Guccione, Jr Hide A Love Note In Their Pocket. Hit List Holiday Invites Holiday Perspectives. By Dean Christopher Hook Ups Hot Thots How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Holiday Party. By Evie Arnaude How to find porn thats actually good I am my own family I just turned 60 but I feel 22 I redesigned my closet. I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies Im glad my mom died In Good Hands. Kathy: This Is A Love Story About Three Friends La Mia Famiglia by Lisa Ellex Lamentations on the Lost Art of Kissing. By Elisabeth C. Lamotte Leave the husband, bring the cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla Let's Reconsider, with Adam Grant Love & Mike's "Bad Girl Pasta" Love/Sex/Moon Magick By Lynn Eaton LXIX. By A.K.A. Darla Meeting Across the River Melissa Biggs Bradley's New Book Safari Style Makes Me Want To Go On A Safari midlife MIDLIFE CRISIS: When Reality Strikes, By Dean Christopher Movie Magic. By Amy Ferris My First Solo Trip: Mexico, Part I. By Dawn Larsen My Prostate Journey: A Personal Story Naked & Not afraid by KC Roth Oasis in the Desert. One woman's honest journey through vaginal rejuvenation. OMG Yes. Pamela Anderson: What Her Story Says About Us paris Pillow Tawk (or NOT)? Play well with others. By Dish Stanley Playing Games: A Review of Esther Perel's New Sold Out Card Game. Podcast Review: Dying for Sex. Why You Need to Listen to Molly's Journey. political thrillers PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth a Re-Watch PrimeCrush Bookshop PrimeCrush Cocktail Coaster Giveaway! QUIVER. Sexual Debut Stories. recommedations Red Flags Reports from the edge. By Jane Boon Sexual Frustrations. By Elisabeth C Lamotte Shameless Quick & Easy Mac & Cheese. By Evie Arnaude Sighs & Moans. By Ralph Greco SIP. Best Lines from the Double Dates Podcast Hosted by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue Six Ways to Get the Friends Who Count Snapshot Rec: Get Yourself Sexify-ed on Netflix. Snapshot Rec: Read Liza Lentini on the Indigo Girls in SPIN Solo in my Sixties. By Jeanne Bosse Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. Stanley Tucci Is Paradise Stories to Read Aloud to a Lover. By A.K.A. Darla Tell Me More. By Dish Stanley The 3 Things You're Really Fighting About The 4 Most Common Skincare Issues for Men (But Were Afraid to Ask). By Lauren D. Weinstein The Crush Letter 44 The Crush Letter 51: DEVOUR The Crush Letter 58 the crush letter 72 the crush letter 73 The Crush Letter 75 the crush letter 77 The Crush Letter Its a tune The Crush Letter No 33 The Crush letter No 36 The Crush Letter No 39 The Crush Letter No 40 The Crush Letter No 41: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 42 The Crush Letter No 43 The Crush Letter No 45 The Crush Letter No 46: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 50 The Crush Letter No 53 The Crush Letter No 54 The Crush Letter No 55 The Crush Letter No 56 DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 57 The Crush Letter No 59 The Crush Letter No 60: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 61 The Crush Letter No 62 the crush letter no 63 The Crush Letter No 64 The Crush Letter No 65: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 66 The Crush Letter No 67 The Crush Letter No 68 The Crush Letter No 69 The Crush letter No 70 The Crush Letter No 74: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 78 The Crush Letter No 80 The Crush Letter No 81 The Crush Letter No 82 The Crush Letter No 83: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 84 The Crush letter No 85 The Crush Letter No 86: The Toy Tester Report The Crush letter No:71 DEVOUR The Crush Letter No. 79 The Crush Letter No. 94 The Crush Letter: Culture / Comment The Dynamics of Friendhip By Lauren D. Weinstein The Friendship Files By AKA Darla The Golden Bachelor The Hole. By Kiva Schuler The Holiday Anti-Checklist By Liza Lentini The Perfect Snowy Saturday. By Jeanne Bosse The Ritual of Comforts. By Lady Verity The Sex Position Report. By Dish Stanley The Solo Series Thee Timeless Travel Books. By Bob Guccione Jr. Things To Let Go Of. By Dish Stanley This must be the place To get all of us, subscribe. Top Ten Jazz Albums To Soothe Your Soul. By Lisa Ellex TOPIX Transitions Treats: A Sex Toy Tester Update Under The Radar Series. By Dish Stanley Valentines day what dead to me taught me about family. Who Are CRUSH Readers Grateful For? Women of a Certain Age Whose Style I Admire You're My Medicine Your Big Green Heart. By Liza Lentini Your Love Is King & Queen, GQ Zits a poppin Zoning Out in Comfort. By Dean Christopher