The pin-up girl occupies a unique space in feminist history; influenced in no small part by aesthetics of Burlesque, the cheesecake images have been labeled everything from “subversive” to “wholesome.” In some ways, the pin-up was the first mass-produced female icon celebrated for her sexuality, taking the place of the more demure, pious upper-middle class ideal of Victorian womanhood. 

 

But the pin-up, like all commercial images of the female body, could be objectifying and limiting in that it pressured women to conform to a rigid standard of beauty. We often think of pin-up culture as a more pure example of “real” women’s bodies, un-doctored by Photoshop, and yet, retouching of a sort persisted even in the most beloved of pin-up images. 

 

The iconic pin-up artist Gil Elvgren, for example, often slimmed his subjects’ waists and expanded their chests and hips to conform to a 1950s hourglass silhouette. Before now, casual mainstream consumers had no way of knowing the lengths he went to to preserve this exclusive view of feminine sensuality, but a new series of photographs released by Nerve.com showcases the real-life models behind the famous images. These charming snapshots, when transformed into marketing images, are indeed snipped and sculpted to unrealistic and cartoonish shapes. Of course that's the artist's personal aesthetic, but we should nonetheless consume media, especially ad images, with a critical eye. Take a look. 

Thanks to Distractify

Images via Distractify 

Tagged in: vintage, victorian womanhood, retro fashion, pinup, pin-up girls, pin-up, photoshop, models, gil elvgren, burlesque, body positivity, beauty standards   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.


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