Pamela Anderson and the Judgements I’ve Made

Episode Transcript

Hello everyone, and welcome to if I'm honest with Julia Landauer. We made it to episode two y'all how exciting. I will say, you know, I definitely picked up saying y'all by living in the South for now nine years or something. And it doesn't necessarily feel natural yet. I also notice that when I speak, I went from really strongly pronouncing my like, ing is like going, there was a hard G on there, I noticed that that kind of has gone away. And I also noticed that I say I instead of having a sharp eye, it's like, I don't know if that makes sense. But anyway, those are my thoughts this morning. So I watched the Pamela Anderson documentary, Pamela a love story on Netflix. And I felt compelled to talk about it not only briefly about the documentary, but then also, you know, how aggressively I felt like, Oh, my goodness, I am the culprit of making so many judgments about people. And it was really jarring for me to have this self realization. So heads up, there will be some spoilers if you haven't watched it, and you're planning to watch it, you might want to pause this episode for now. But if not, you know her story is public. But I will kind of go into some of the parts about the documentary. So if you're still waiting to watch, I would I would pause. But overall, it was such a fantastic documentary. You know, I put it on before Ben got home. And he and I are really compatible on a lot of levels. But what we watch is not really the most compatible, we've learned. And, you know, I expected to kind of just like, turn it off when he got there have our evening and pick it up later. But he sat down too and was, you know, interested? I'm sure there were other reasons he was interested. But you know, he he really enjoyed the storytelling and the backstory to her, because we all kind of know her, and especially him being from France just knew her as the American bombshell. So I was glad we got to experience this together. So for some quick backstory on the documentary, so you know, it was fantastic. It was really well done. I think it was produced by her grown sons and her and some other people maybe. But Pamela Anderson is known for Playboy and Baywatch. And she had a sex tape that was leaked. And there were other stories and shows about her, you know, there's a lot of mentions of her in the press. And she says at the beginning that she was never asked nor given compensation for all this coverage. And so my understanding is that her and her sons decided to take the narrative into their own hands, which I think is great. And, you know, for me, and I'll get into this more, the biggest takeaway that I had is just how much more interesting and smart and well rounded she is as a person, and then in turn, how much I judge others. And, you know, not just judging her, but I realized that, you know, I've probably judged quite a bit of people in my life. I know it's human nature to make judgments, right. And we all make split second decisions, it can be used as a defense mechanism. But I have no doubt that I have missed out on getting to know some really cool people because of biases and judgments that I have. And again, I know it's human nature. But there was something about watching this that just made me really I don't want to go so far as to say ashamed, but disappointed in myself. And that's what I want to jump into. In sharing her background Pamela shares that she knows she was abused as a kid by her babysitter. Her dad was the stereotypical bad boy, her parents had a really toxic and kind of volatile relationship. They left you know, her dad a bunch. You know, she was raped when she was a preteen by someone who was twice her age, and she had a lot of shame around her body. And so for her when she was approached by Playboy, for her it was really liberating. It was a way to reframe all the negativity she felt around her body and sexuality and kind of gave her autonomy over her body again. And she says that, you know, she felt liberated with those first photoshoots, because she went from shy and uncertain to really reclaiming the power. That was her sexuality. And I know that this is something that's discussed a lot in current culture, and I found it, you know, I didn't even think when I, you know, casually think about Pamela Anderson, I never would have thought of that is as empowering. And I think that says more about me than anything else. So that was kind of the first thing is like, oh my goodness, this is such a great reframe and so empowering. And, you know, I was also just taken by how smart and funny and incredibly self aware she is. And I love that she had someone or they had someone reading through her journals because she like I journaled a lot throughout her life and she wasn't comfortable reading them, but we get to hear her thoughts read by someone else. And I really loved that I thought it really added to the personal nature of this of this documentary. And yeah, and so as I'm watching through it, I realized like she and I had so much more in common than I ever would have imagined. You know, you know, she had big goals for herself. she had professional aspirations, she had a lifestyle that she wanted to live, she wanted to have a family. And you know, we've, as I said, we've both journaled for so long. But I did exactly what I said not to do in my last episode, which is that I made a ton of assumptions and judgments and, you know, assumed she was just a sex symbol and all of that. And, you know, kind of when we were done watching, I just thought to myself, who was I to label her in my own mind as less than, and again, it's something that I'm really not proud of, but really happy that I've been able to take the time to kind of be self reflective and try to improve moving forward. So obviously, I was really impressed by Pamela Anderson. And if I'm honest, I really had to dig deep afterwards and address with myself, the fact that I, in addition to judging people, I also probably haven't been giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. And I think I'm being particularly hard on myself right now. Because I think, you know, the way that we really improve is by being honest, by being self critical, I have no problem being hard on myself, and then adjusting and finding a way to move forward and forgiving myself, I think that's really important. We can get into that in another episode, too. But I realized that I sometimes assume the worst, and it seems to be more in kind of professional settings, less with personal relationships. But all of this made me really think about how we all have such different lived experiences that shape us, right. And a lot of times, we're not privy to the backgrounds of other people. But if you think about it, from the time that we're, you know, born and conscious to right now, we have so many different impressions that have made a made a lasting impact on us, you know, what types of parents we had, you know, any type of traumas that we experienced, or victories we experienced, you know, who our friends were growing up, if we had toxic relationships, if we got unsolicited feedback that was maybe more hurtful than helpful. I mean, there's just so much stuff that leaves an impression on us. And I really think that this is important to think about, and to have grace with people, especially when interacting, especially if, if you don't like what someone's doing, or any of that. And I had my big awakening to the idea that we never know what someone's going through a few years ago, when I lost a loved one. And this was before this documentary, all that but, you know, I'll never forget that Ben and I had gotten back from a run, it was during the pandemic, you know, it was really hot, I was sweaty, we were smelly. And my brother called and, you know, I excitedly picked up I talked to my siblings a lot, we're really good friends. And I'm, you know, upbeat and positive and expecting to just catch up. And, you know, he just said that a loved one had died. And I hadn't, you know, in my conscious life experienced the death of a loved one before. And, you know, I was stunned, I fell to the floor, it was very much like what you see in the movies, but I just, I had never experienced it for myself. And in the days after that, you know, I was totally grief stricken, right, you know, I didn't feel like I could do my normal activities. I was, I was processing everything. I was letting myself feel my emotions, you know, I wasn't working very much because keynotes had stopped and racing had stopped. And, you know, it was just I did not know how life could keep going on. And even right afterwards, you know, Ben and I had made plans earlier in the day to go to a bakery. And so we we walked over there. And I just remember getting angry with the people I saw on the street who were happy, because like, I was in such shock and grief, and it just seems so unfair, that everyone else around me gets to be happy. Right? And it took days before I could tell my friends about the loss. And you know, I think because I didn't have any obligations, it was almost kind of lucky, I could just be in my grief and feel it and, you know, start to move on from it. But I can't even imagine what it was like for my siblings and my parents and, you know, have to go about your day. And you might tell tell some people but not other people. And you know, long story short that dealing with such a catastrophic upset and having to go on in the world that really made me appreciate that we never know what someone is dealing with. And I would hope that people would have the grace for me in that time. And so I made the decision then and there, that because we never know what someone's going through, someone could be dealing with something major like that or even something minor, and that I made the decision that I want to choose to Lean on the side of having grace for people. And at least assuming neutrality, definitely not assuming the worst in people. And it has been a liberating thing to do that and a much more humane thing to do. And I recommend that for everyone. All right, so talking about having grace for people. Let's bring it back to the documentary Pamela love story. My question is, how on earth did these talk show hosts and journalists get away with the absolutely misogynistic interviews for so long? You know, like, this was in the 90s and 2000s. Right. And obviously, the media landscape was different back then. But you know, these guys who, again, like some of the talk show hosts, you know, are pretty schlumpy looking guys, right? And, you know, they were asking her deeply personal questions about her boobs, about her sex life, about, you know, why she expected people to take her seriously like women asking like, do you consider yourself a serious actress? And she said, Yes. And then they laugh, like, like, really appalling stuff. And I had a new appreciation for the fact that Pamela had to work with the media coverage that she was given. And that that media coverage was, you know, controlled and owned by different people who have different objectives. And I was really impressed with her as she tried to be witty, she tried to shut down the misogyny, she tried to use humor. There was one episode with Jay Leno, where she explicitly said, like, it's not funny, this was devastating for us, talking about her sex tape. And, you know, he just kind of, you know, laughed it off, like, how could she possibly think that something was devastating, she's just a sex symbol. That was the vibe I got. And you know, in the documentary, she even talks about how, you know, the tabloids paint this picture of who she is, and that she hopes that she can surprise people because there's more to her than that. And the vulgarity was awful. The one sided nature of it was awful. And, you know, it got me thinking that like, you know, she couldn't just come on social media and create her own brand image, right. And so I started thinking about that, that role that social media plays in our lives. And you know, there are plenty of issues. I know, it's bad for our mental health, I feel that it's bad for our mental health. If I spend too much time scrolling, there's so much comparison. You know, there was the CDC report on the decline of mental health for teenage girls, largely due to social media, like, I know, it's bad. But as I watched this documentary, I realized that at least one positive is that it gives people whether it's celebrities, public figures, or just normal people, they're the ability to create their own narrative to share their side in a way that was never really possible before, you know, if you wanted wide coverage, you had to go on a show and who knows what the agenda would have been. So I really appreciate the the chance that a lot of celebrities have to share who they are not be bound by, you know, someone else's agenda. And I think that's really powerful. And so obviously, there needs to be a good balance between, you know, all the negative side and the positive side. But I just kind of wonder, what, what would Pamela Anderson as a personally created brand be like today, you know, I know that she's smart. I know that she's funny, I've talked about that. But I really, I would love to see her I would have loved Well, if I was old enough to be consuming this media at the time would have loved to see what she would have done on social media to reclaim her own voice in a time when when the media was so bad. And I wonder if it would have been had been super different, you know? So anyway, I'm happy for her. Now. I, you know, she's a big activist. You know, I admire how protective her sons are of her. And in general, I really recommend watching this documentary if you haven't already. And I think it really, it forced me to reckon with myself and I always like these moments of growth. But the big takeaway would be to let's try not to pigeonhole people. And you know, our lives are going to be richer with new people in it does not mean we have to like everyone, I promise I don't like everyone. But you know, I think it's really cool to be able to try to find the similarities you have with people. And that was something that my mom was always really good at, you know, she would, she would actively seek out the common commonalities that she could find with other people whether she was at a go kart track or in New York or you know, it didn't matter where she she sought out where she could find similarities with people and it made her time wherever she was so much better. And I really admire that and would advise that we all try to do that. So that's our show. It goes by so quickly every time. If you liked this episode, please consider subscribing and sharing it and leaving a review. And thank you for letting me be honest with you. I'll see you next week.