They say what goes around comes around, and in this case, Pinup girls are back. Not that they ever left, really, but the thirties and forties inspired photos have made their way from magazine pages hidden in drawers and under beds to prominent pieces of art. And in the day of social media, there is a punk-inspired resurgence of this kind of fashion. Many punk rock accessories of today have pictures of Bettie Page and others like her. Photographers have created a market for pinup boudoir photos that girls can take and give to the special loved ones in their lives. And women are rocking the styles of that era from the up-dos to pinup tattoos on their arms, legs, and other parts.
There are a number of reasons that the rediscovery of this beautiful art form celebrating the human body with a touch of elegance and a bit of modesty is now. The people doing it are far enough removed from the first set of pinup girls that they are unlikely to have run across their mother or grandmother with a similar style. The public popularity of burlesque has created a certain sense of fashion with many of the women who enjoy it.
Today, pinup girls are not just photos. They are on cell phone cases and lampshades, light switch plates and vinyl car decals. Though they still speak to the counterculture, the hipsters have redefined the counterculture as ironic, and therefore have begun to embrace them. Dressing like a pinup girl allows women to feel sensual and respected at the same time, which is a difficult balance to find in our nation’s cultural mindset.
Will They Last?
Like all trends, the pinup girl is likely to have her heyday and then return to the archives until they are discovered by a new generation. However, while they are here, they bring up an important cultural discussion that must be had. Why can’t women both be sexual and respected? It often takes a group on the edge, like the punk or counterculture scene, to shake up conventional thoughts and make others reconsider viewpoints they took for granted. Bettie Page was a maverick in changing the female viewpoint on modesty. Her memory may help to redefine what is both sexy and full of self respect at the same time. Thanks go to her and all the fans of pinup girls who are helping to foster this conversation.