I wanted to take a moment to discuss some questions about the sexist aspect of pin-up and glamour art. Where exactly does it fall in the spectrum between fine art, celebrating feminine beauty, and exploitative pornography, which degrades and subjegates women?
Arguments have been made that pin-up art, especially when used as a sales vehicle, objectifies women. Did the Gibson Girl represent a new independence or yet another model on how to land a better quality husband? Do today's 'heroin chic' models lead to realistic self images for women in general? Marketing increasing panders towards a youthful demographic. At some point Calvin Klein's seductive naïf ceases being simply youthful and starts becoming disturbingly sexual. With unattainable role models, young women are bombarded with the notion that they can never be completely attractive without engaging in consumption of everything from toenail polish to cosmetic surgery.
With the possible exceptions of Eric Stanton's dominatrixes and comic book 'bad girls', most pin-up style subjects engage us with a curious combination of confident sexuality mixed with vulnerability. The best pin-up art invites the viewer to share a moment with the subject, usually playful and not overtly suggestive or disreputable. There are those who will find a sinister motives behind what I consider playful fun. I'm not about to try to change anyone's opinions on this matter, I just wanted to open a dialog. Does this mean I consider Mamie Van Doren a better actress than Meryl Streep? Apples and oranges my friends. Now, if anyone opens a beefcake or classic actresses site, I hope it will be as respectful as this one. ~