|Feb. 13th, 2012 @ 10:47 am Thoughts On Pin-Ups|
I have a disclaimer I feel I should make, and since it's not particularly bookish, it seems to fit better here than in the actual book blog.|
See, I am not opposed to pin-ups. In fact, I actually quite like them. It takes a lot of skill on both the parts of the model and the photographer to come up with an appealing image of a woman that displays her feminine attributes to their greatest advantage. Pin-ups are their own art form, and in fact I took a workshop on How to Pose Like a Pin-Up which was both entertaining and educational. Pin-ups are awesome!
The thing is, though, pin-ups cater to a very specific idea of femininity. It's all soft lines, soft curves, pouty lips. In my posts about gendered poses in urban fantasy book covers and gendered poses in romance novel book covers, I question why some of the women are set up to look like pin-up models. This isn't intended to be a commentary on pin-ups being inherently bad. What I do think is bad is pretending this is the only way a woman can be considered appealing. There are as many different ways to be womanly as there are women in the world, and pretending soft curves is the only way to be appealing insults pretty much everyone. It seems to have become the default, though, the only way we're meant to understand this woman is attractive. And that's what I find problematic, why I question pin-up poses on book covers where it's not appropriate. Sometimes it might suit the character, and that's fine! Most of the time, though, it doesn't, and is a blatant attempt to sexualize the female character in a very specific and codeified way.
Style is a choice. Pin-ups are one style, and a lovely one. However, it becomes problematic when this is the only way we can think of to present a woman.