Pin-Up’s are defined as “A poster showing a famous or attractive person”. Usually the term ‘Pin-up’ is used in reference to the images that became popular in World War II. These images depict an attractive female who “are usually glamor models, actresses and fashion models. Imagine the happiness of the male population with these pictures and women, who admire most of the pin up models back in the days because some of them are icons or known personalities.”. Some pin-up is photography and others illustrations done in emulation of the photographs. Notable artists include Gil Elgren and Alberto Vargas. Although the pin up became popular in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s it has been around since the late 19th century.
The pin up is sometimes viewed as a sexual thing, as the woman depicted is often in some kind of costume, outfit, or lingerie that may be somewhat revealing.
Due to the sexualised images of women in the images it is debated whether the pin-up can be feminist or not, as the image of the sexualised woman is often linked to the objectification of women, and “have been used to limit womens growth”. However the pin up “has also represented the sexualised woman as self-aware, assertive, strong and independent” which could suggest that the image has more of a feminist aura about it. Since it was meant for mass production and consumption it also made “An Image of modern female sexuality that was instantly recognisable, culturally acceptable and eminently purchasable”. In showing the female sexuality as an acceptable thing it, in ways could become empowering for women everywhere to embrace their sexuality.
A main quality of the pin up girl is the straight up confidence they exude. The pose of the girls have a lot of attitude about them and give the appearance of a strong, assertive woman, which would be a good point of inspiration for girls. In the book ‘Pin Up Grrrls’ it states “I imagined being the pin up women, but not for him” in reference to how her friends brother viewed the pin ups as opposed to how she viewed them. By saying ‘but not for him’ it suggests that there is something to be gained for the self by being a pin up girl even its intended audience is other people.
The girls are painted in colours that are mainly realistic but also more vibrant, which gives them a radiant glow. Perhaps this is to accentuate the beauty of them. A problem I find with the classic pin up art is that all of the girls are quite thin/tall/busty and there is little variation in the bodies. In regards to body confidence, it doesn’t help by having little representation of girls of different sizes but the pin-up is generally what was found attractive at the time just like most images in advertising or ‘page 3 girls’ are of similar stature nowadays. However modern pin-up photography that aims to copy the style of the original pin-ups is popular amongst girls of many different body shapes who find it empowering.
Although the Sailor Jerry style tattoo pin-up is not modern, nowadays tattoo artists still emulate this kind of style and putting their own spin on the classic pin-up. With the 50’s rockabilly style becoming ever popular, pin-up style can be seen in modern fashion.
3- Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 13
4- Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 8
5- Pin Up Grrrls. Feminism, sexuality, popular culture – Maria Elena Buszek. Introduction: Defining/Defending the “Feminist Pin Up” page 10