Tuesday, September 02, 2008

You Can Leave Your Hat On: the once and future pinup--veinglory

There are a lot of sub-genres that don't so much come or go, as adapt for a new generation. Romance is one, erotic genre fiction... and the pinup. The idea of the pinup is to be sexual in a way that is non-threatening for the audience. Something you could literally 'pin up'. Now in some circles that is the artistic equivalent of a gynecological exam--but in most environments it is a little more artfully posed or coyly covered up.

Hanging in my office this year (and by the way where the hell do most of this year go? September already!) is 'Bad Rap's EXPOSED calendar. Whatever might be threatening by the amount of skin should is rendered pretty broadly acceptable by the puppy dogs and charity angle. What I liked about this calendar is not just that the models looked happy (many pin ups seem to exuded a sort of miserable poutiness) but that it included an interesting range of people. Pin ups in general lean female, white, young, blonde etc etc. Very dull.

And for those who think the pin up is all terribly retro, well it is still clearly alive and well in magazines and on billboards pretty much everywhere. Unless of course I am just reading sexuality in this Agent Provocateur advertisement that is not intended? (*cough* riiight). The pinup is, if anything, even more ubiquitous now and pinned up in even more public places. What would be sexual harassment on an office noticeboard, is now run of the mill on the side of bus stop or subway wall.

The pinup genre still, of course, includes crude, misogynistic and just plain 'ewww' material. And decisions about what is the right time or place for a sexually posed human figure are not always fool-proof. But one very welcome development has been the realisation of advertisers and other purveyors of all things Pavlovian that what is good for the goose, well....

And while we are on, tangentially, the subject of advertisements--here is a favorite of mine:

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