Stereotypes are tenacious, as we all know. When we think of a pin-up, the image that often comes to mind is a fair-skinned young woman with explosive curves and a wasp waist - a quintessence of glamour and beauty. However, beauty standards evolve regularly, and the 20th century alone witnessed numerous aesthetic revolutions approximately every 10 to 15 years, each bringing new models of feminine beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. In this article, we'll explore how being a pin-up today doesn't necessarily mean adhering to the dictums of the 1950s. Our era offers broader possibilities.
Pin-Ups of Color
Among the clichés about pin-ups is the notion of skin color. A wonderful French example of an ebony-skinned pin-up comes from the magnificent Jenny Rieu, originally from Paris and living in Los Angeles. A curvaceous woman, model, and content creator, she is committed to promoting inclusivity and diversity. She is active on major social networks, particularly Instagram, where her account "A Parisian in L.A" boasts over 33,000 followers. And then there’s Audrey Sweetblack, also known as The Pin-up Pastry Chef. Her Instagram profile, with nearly 12,000 followers, is an eruption of colors and variegated pastries. On her website's homepage, she explains her vision: "My retro pin-up world is inclusive, positive, and colorful. It defies norms and knows no limits. It's a reflection of my style, personality, and most importantly, my heart."
Black Pin-Ups of the 1950s
Contrary to popular belief, black pin-ups did exist in the 1950s. Dorothy Dandridge was the first successful African-American actress and even nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Eartha Mae Kitt, also known as "Miss Kitt," was an actress, dancer, and singer. Orson Welles once called her "the most exciting woman in the world." These women's relative obscurity is due to the segregation prevailing in the United States at that time. They had to work harder than others for visibility in the artistic milieu. Marie Bryant, Madeline "Sahji" Jackson, and Lottie Graves, known as The Body, are other notable examples from that era.
Age is Just a Number in Pin-Up World
Breaking another myth: age. Who says a pin-up stops being one because of the numbers on her ID? Dita Von Teese, the queen of burlesque, will be 50 in September 2022 and remains as stunning as ever. If Marilyn left us at 36, it wasn't wrinkles that stopped Liz Taylor, or Italians Sophia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida from maintaining their elegant charm even in their grandmother years. The extreme goes to Mami Van Doren, a 91-year-old American actress and singer, considered a sex symbol in the 1950s. In 2016, she appeared in the Arte documentary "Pin-up: The Revenge of a Sex Symbol," where she shared her experience of being a sex symbol for over 50 years.
Pin-Ups, Tattoos, and Family Life
Today's pin-up contests and festivals worldwide regularly feature various styles. Tattooed women with hair in all hues are not the exception but a celebration of colors and joie de vivre. Did you know that tattooed pin-ups with flashy hair colors already existed back then? Yes, trends recycle! Diablo Rose, a pink-haired pin-up, defines herself as a guru of multicolored hair and vintage makeup. A dedicated mother, she shares her life with her baby on Instagram, boasting over 63,000 followers. Bernie Dexter, a tattooed pin-up model and fan of Betty Page, has launched a collection of dresses in the pin-up style, including a capsule inspired by her favorite idol.
The Right Proportions for a Pin-Up?
Today, at pin-up events, there's often criticism about weight. The underlying idea is that to be a pin-up, one must have a perfect physique, ideally fitting the famous 90-60-90 measurements.
Thankfully, the pin-up fashion world is becoming more democratic and now embodies the idea that being a pin-up goes beyond weight. Miss Victory Violet, one of the less voluptuous pin-ups, showcases her Disney-inspired styles and vegan recipes on Instagram with 207,000 followers. On the more voluptuous side, Ginny Weasleys, a delightful witchy pin-up with an eclectic style, encapsulates everything we’ve discussed in this article. On her Instagram, which has over 30,000 followers, she displays her tattoos, multicolored hair, and unique outfits.
In conclusion, being a pin-up is not exclusive to perfect women with certain physical, social, or cultural characteristics. A pin-up is a proud woman who loves to take care of herself, whether in her choice of clothes, lingerie, makeup, or hairstyle. Pin-ups can have many facets because there's room for everyone in this universe, rich in its diversity.