Friday, October 17, 2008

Defining the pin-up

As I write here, one thing that question that often comes to me is, "What is a pin-up?" I think that it's easy to define a pin-up as just a pretty girl, and not take it any further than that, but in reality there's so much more.

I'm not looking to be a pin-up on paper (though I wouldn't turn down the offer), but my main goal instead is to be a pin-up in real life. However, it's not enough just to be pretty. My favorite pin-up artist is Gil Elvgren, and one reason I like him is because his girls have so much character. Of course they convey that sense of playful innocence we all love, but when I imagine meeting one of them in person, I think the Elvgren girl would be just as much fun to spend time with as she is to look at. She's well-mannered and treats others the way she wants to be treated. She dresses modestly, with class, but won't shy away from the happy accidents that allow her to show off those gams. She has a range of interests that stretch beyond fashion and domesticity; in fact, part of her power lies in the fact that when you look at her, you might initially write her off. Quickly, though, she proves you wrong--she's witty, interested in art, is an avid reader and also incredibly curious about everyone and everything around her. Even after she greaduated from college, she never stopped learning.

Back in the day when Elvgren was painting, it may not have been socially acceptable for most women to get involved in politics, but I imagine that his ladies are citizens of the world. They take seriously the ongoing fight for women's rights at home and abroad, and don't take for granted the sacrifices others have made before them. They're compassionate with others less fortunate than themselves, and play a role in their community that goes further than local gossip. They vote. They volunteer for charity.

I know perfectly well that back in the America of the 1940s and 1950s, when most of my favorite classic pinup girls were created, things were much different for women. They had a very different relationship with the world than we do, and what was pushing a boundary back then (like going out without a hat and gloves) is not given any thought these days. Relative to their era, I imagine that classic pin-ups were a little rebellious. I imagine a man might have been taken by surprise when he learned that there was so much more to the girl next door than just a pretty face and sense of style. I think it's incredibly important for any aspiring pin-up to remember that, for as much as she might fuss over her outward appearance, a girl's most compelling feature is always her character.


Ruby said...

so excited that you updated! thanks so much.

Pinupmania said...

Gil Elvgren is a very great artist. There are many others great artists. I like Art Frahm, Runci, ZoƩ Mozert...

MizMerryMac said...

Always a pleasure...Thanks for your thoughts on the role of "pinup girl". A subject that inspires me in all their coy goodness.

Tag! You're "it"!
creatrix omnificant procrastinaticus

Kitty du Vert said...

Thanks for the comments! I love hearing back from you.


Creative Commons License
Pinup Tales by Kitty du Vert is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.