I went to Barnes and Noble last night to cash in some of my gift cards (woohoo!), and among some other new finds, I picked up a calendar for the BF and I. I wanted to get a larger calendar for our kitchen so I didn’t have to keep printing out my Outlook calendar for us to keep track of our numerous social engagements– ha!
At any rate, I picked up a mini wall calendar with the artwork of Gil Elvgren. Don’t know who he is? Not to worry… he’s not quite as well-known as Picasso, VanGogh, or any of the Renaissance greats. He’s an American artist whose work was widely distributed in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.
You’ve most likely seen his style in tattooing. I know that’s where I first heard of him.
Now here’s the thing: some people find pin-up girls (and I’m speaking of the pin-ups noted above and not the newer ones) smutty. Sometimes, I agree. I prefer the old-school pin-ups created in the ’30s to the ’70s, the ones that don’t show tons of skin. My favorites? Elvgren’s girls-next-door caught in surprising situations that just so happen to result in a racy/slightly-shocking picture.
This is where my opinion comes in. Some people think the old-school pin-up girls represent the sexualization of the American woman and the pressure of mainstream media on women to achieve an ideal body type. I disagree. As I was looking at my calendar, I realized that the pin-up movement inspired American women to embrace their inner femininity and sensuality. These paintings aren’t sexy, they’re sensual. They’re about women having fun and finding themselves in embarrasing situations, figuring out what to do to get out of them. Peeping Toms, skirts caught in motorcycle wheels (which is why you should wear pants, incidentally, but that’s beside the point), and frogs jumping out at teachers– all not-so-common occurrences, but they make for great art.
The women in these paintings don’t have today’s rail-thin body types. They’re curvy. They have waists and hips, a classic hourglass shape. If our society could only embrace the shapes and attitudes of these pin-up girls, women everywhere would be in a much happier place. Think about it. You don’t have to worry about maintaining your boyish figure, figuring out how to make yourself as top-heavy as possible. Leaving more to the imagination with your wardrobe, only hinting at what might be underneath your killer outfit.
So here’s my charge to my female readers: buy some thigh-high stockings and a slightly longer, fuller skirt. Pair them with a blouse and some high heels. Define your waist. Embrace your inner glamour girl and your true figure. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you’re shaped like, or what your personal body issues are: take a look at some classic pin-up girls and feel their confidece emanating from the paintings. Harness that confidence, be your own pin-up, and rule the world.