Pin-Up or Pin-Down?
Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture is a book written by Maria Elena Buszek that explains how third-wave feminists are taking back pin-up culture. This new pin-up culture is shown developing through a 150 year time span. Buszek examines old and new female sex symbols as well as the beginnings of this new revival of the pin-up genre. This book illustrates how women are often publicly depicted and the representation of our sexualities since the early 1860’s. Buszek makes an argument that women dressed in dominatrix gear are complex and even revolutionary for female sexuality rather than being interpreted as mere representations that objectify women. This is a captivating book where Buszek enthusiastically weaves academia with testimony to make a brilliant argument that third-wave feminism should not be one-sided and against sex, yet rather the pin-up culture should be appreciated as a unique art form. The book’s focus can be seen through the third-wave feminism practices that embrace sexual freedom through the act of pin-up. Buszek explored different pin-up girls, such as Cindy Sherman, who was famous in the 1970’s; Suzie Bright in the 1980’s; and Annie Sprinkle rising to fame in the 1990’s. Their art form is a spectacle of the female body, the enjoyment of womanhood. Buszek said that “feminist uses of the genre long predate the popular women’s liberation movement” (pg. 4). The pin-up era’s theatrical cartes de visite helped for the photographs to be mass-produced (pg. 32). Calling card collections of these girls were found in bourgeois households. These cards had still-images of flirtatious feminine actresses. At the same time, the first wave of feminism was developing. In 1894, Sarah Grand coined the idea “new woman” as a model of the female active in the public eyes, “from suffragists to anarchists to flappers” (pg. 78). Buszek said that she, the “New woman”, was white, rather than Latin or African-American. Depictions...
Cited: Buszek, Maria. Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2006. Print.
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