My favourite thing about Pamela Anderson’s new memoir, Love, Pamela and Netflix documentary, Pamela, a love story is that she’s telling HER side of the story. It’s incredibly empowering and healing to reclaim the narrative of our own lives…

I loved Baywatch growing up.

I mean, I remain scared of having my hair sucked into a pool drain even wearing a swimming cap after one episode where someone’s long hair had them trapped underwater and in need of rescue.

And I never knew how Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) found the energy to be a lifeguard by day AND private investigator by night but I adored it.

Pamela Anderson always came across as a really sweet person but, as a teenager, I felt uncomfortable with what I considered her (and others’) exploitation with all the naked women on ‘lads mags’ covers while their male peers didn’t have to strip off to promote whatever films / tv shows / music they were doing.

So her describing posing for Playboy the first time as giving her a sense of freedom after years of shame (due to childhood molestation and rape) was unexpected (by me).

Pamela, a love story

Pamela Anderson’s eldest son, Brandon Lee was one of the producers. And after the violation of Pam and Tommy (a TV series ABOUT them having been exploited) being made without their consent, this family support felt particularly important.

Of Pam and Tommy, she said, ‘They should have had to have my permission.’

Having woken up outraged on her behalf a couple of nights when I found out it hadn’t been (and then obviously declined to watch it) I was delighted to buy her memoir the other week.

I wanted to hear what SHE chose to share about her life so far.

And now, with Pamela: A Love Story on Netflix, viewers get a mixture of press footage, home videos (SHARED WITH CONSENT), diary entries – read by someone else but with Pamela’s full permission – and interviews.

Become bitter or love more

‘My mom taught me the most important lesson in life. When you are hurt, you have two choices: To close off, become bitter. Or love more. Persevere. Love is the greatest healer. I choose love.’

And she remembers Smokey Robinson applauding her apparent fearlessness after yet another divorce: ‘Baby, you’re romantic. Keep on trying. You are my hero. I love that you keep trying. Some people just get bitter and you keep going.’

Animal rights activist

Deciding to capitalise on her own image on behalf of the animals and environment she cares so much about made sense to her: ‘I was already getting teased and made fun of. I wanted to use that [attention] for good.’

The documentary shows her playing along with obnoxious late night talk show hosts mocking her in order to get the message she cared about across.

Tell your own story

Pamela, a love story is unusual and messy and funny and sad and as she says herself, ‘My life is not a “woe is me” story’.

She owns her story and her choices.

Pamela wanted someone else to read the diary entries – she’d kept countless journals from childhood – as she felt revisiting them would be too painful but she was happy for them to be read by others.

Mostly upbeat and humourous in spite of some heavy content (treated respectfully), there was one line where she said she sometimes doesn’t know if she’s alive or dead (talking about her most recent husband before they got divorced).

Although she keeps looking forward and doesn’t want to go backwards – something that could, if and when she chooses to, be therapeutic for her – Pamela Anderson mostly seems to have made peace with her past while being open to a better future.

Why do (some) men get jealous of their babies?

While Pamela glossed over a lot of the abuse by other men, she clearly loved Tommy Lee.

And left when he attacked her while she was holding baby Dylan at just a few weeks old.

He spent 6 months behind bars and she resisted his pleas to get back together.

And I woke up thinking of ALL the women who are KILLED by their men when pregnant and how many men get jealous of their own babies.

And how easy it is to simply scream into the abyss, ‘FFS. What is WRONG with them?’

And yet, in this patriarchal society, many men (Tommy and the actual violence being an extreme part of the spectrum) have been CONDITIONED to believe their needs should come before that of a helpless newborn.

Instead of supporting Pamela and being an active father, he was drinking and sulking. Feeling unseen and unheard.

He was a rock star and could have sought therapy to help him better understand his own Attachment issues and ways in which he was being triggered.

I wish that there was more support for men to both seek mental and emotional health support and to access it.

A part of me was judging him harshly. He and other men who act violently and abusively would find change and rehabilitation easier if his saying what he said about going from being her #1 to her #3 was met with a recognition of this (rage inducing, selfish, entitled sounding tantrum from a grown man) need for love.

This would benefit all of us.

And, hopefully, once he (and others) connected with their unseen, unheard vulnerable parts, they’d then be able to properly be there in a loving, supportive way to be active fathers.

Am obviously not excusing violence or bad behaviour but IMAGINE a world where fathers’ concerns and fears being heard (while mothers were properly honoured and supported as they created and birthed entire new lives) meant they could HEAL and STOP the cycles of abuse.

Audiences have power

The whole sex tape horror show (where the judge and public seemed incapable of recognising the exceedingly obvious difference between her consenting to her body being on show when she chose to pose naked and home videos being stolen from her home and edited into a sex tape) will, I hope, make viewers and readers recognise their own power.

What do you read, click on and watch? Where do you put your attention?

Are you helping people profit from exploiting others?

Do you ever excuse yourself telling yourself it’s (pictures invading people’s privacy, online pileups, mob mentalities etc) already out there and doesn’t matter?

As Gloria Steinem says, ‘We should act as if everything we do matters because it might.’

How might you open up more even if it feels very vulnerable?

Feel free to email to let me know.

And please do feel free to share this post so others who may find it helpful can read it.

With love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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