A pin-up model (known as a pin-up girl for a female and less commonly male pin-up for a male) is a model whose mass-produced pictures see wide appeal as popular culture. Pin-ups are intended for informal display, i.e. meant to be "pinned-up" on a wall. Pin-up models may be glamour models, fashion models, or actors. These pictures are also sometimes known as cheesecake photos.[a] Cheesecake was an American slang word, that was considered a publicly acceptable term for seminude women because pin-up was considered taboo in the early twentieth century.
The term pin-up may refer to drawings, paintings, and other illustrations as well as photographs (see the list of pin-up artists). The term was first attested to in English in 1941; however, the practice is documented back at least to the 1890s. Pin-up images could be cut out of magazines or newspapers, or on a postcard or lithograph. Such pictures often appear on walls, desks, or calendars. Posters of pin-ups were mass-produced, and became popular from the mid-20th century.
Male pin-ups were less common than their female counterparts throughout the 20th century, although a market for homoerotica has always existed as well as pictures of popular male celebrities targeted at women or girls. Examples include James Dean and Jim Morrison.
Beginning in the early nineteenth century, pin-up modeling had "theatrical origins", burlesque performers and actresses sometimes used photographic advertisement as business cards to advertise shows. These adverts and business cards could often be found backstage in almost every theater's green room, pinned-up or stuck into "frames of the looking-glasses, in the joints of the gas-burners, and sometimes lying on-top of the sacred cast-case itself." Understanding the power of photographic advertisements to promote their shows, burlesque women self-constructed their identity to make themselves visible. Being recognized not only within the theater itself but also outside challenged the conventions of women's place and women's potential in the public sphere. "To understand both the complicated identity and the subversive nature of the 19th-century actress, one must also understand that the era's views on women's potential were inextricably tied to their sexuality, which in turn was tied to their level of visibility in the public sphere: regardless of race, class or background, it was generally assumed that the more public the woman, the more 'public,' or available, her sexuality, according to historian Maria Elena Buszek. Being sexually fantasized, famous actresses in early-20th-century film were both drawn and photographed and put on posters to be sold for personal entertainment. Among the celebrities who were considered sex symbols, one of the most popular early pin-up girls was Betty Grable, whose poster was ubiquitous in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II.
In Europe, prior to the First World War, the likes of Fernande Barrey (aka "Miss Fernande"), were arguably the world's first pin-ups as is known in the modern sense. Miss Barrey displayed ample cleavage and full frontal nudity. Her pictures were cherished by soldiers on both sides of the First World War conflict.
Other pin-ups were artwork depicting idealized versions of what some thought a particularly beautiful or attractive woman should look like. An early example of the latter type was the Gibson Girl, a representation of the New Woman drawn by Charles Dana Gibson. "Because the New Woman was symbolic of her new ideas about her sex, it was inevitable that she would also come to symbolize new ideas about sexuality." Unlike the photographed actresses and dancers generations earlier, fantasy gave artists the freedom to draw women in many different ways. The 1932 Esquire "men's" magazine featured many drawings and "girlie" cartoons but was most famous for its Vargas girls. Prior to World War II they were praised for their beauty and less focus was on their sexuality. However, during the war, the drawings transformed into women playing dress-up in military drag and drawn in seductive manners, like that of a child playing with a doll. The Vargas girls became so popular that from 1942–46, owing to a high volume of military demand, "9 million copies of the magazine-without adverts and free of charge was sent to American troops stationed overseas and in domestic bases." The Vargas Girls were adapted as nose art on many World War II bomber and fighter aircraft; Generally, they were considered inspiring, and not seen negatively, or as prostitutes, but mostly as inspiring female patriots that were helpful for good luck.
Among the other well-known artists specializing in the field were Earle K. Bergey, Enoch Bolles, Gil Elvgren, George Petty, Rolf Armstrong, Zoë Mozert, Duane Bryers and Art Frahm. Notable contemporary pin-up artists include Olivia De Berardinis, known for her pin-up art of Bettie Page and her pieces in Playboy.
Many people believe that since its beginnings the pin-up "...has presented women with models for expressing and finding pleasure in their sexual subjectivity".
According to Joanne Meyerowitz in "Women, Cheesecake, and Borderline Material" an article in Journal of Women's History, "As sexual images of women multiplied in the popular culture, women participated actively in constructing arguments to endorse as well as protest them."
As early as 1869, women have been supporters and protesters of the pin-up. Female supporters of early pin-up content considered these to be a "positive post-Victorian rejection of bodily shame and a healthy respect for female beauty."
Additionally, pin-up allows for women to change the everyday culture. The models "...succeed in the feminist aim of changing the rigid, patriarchal terms".
It has further been argued by some critics that in the early 20th century, these drawings of women helped define certain body images—such as being clean, being healthy, and being wholesome—and were enjoyed by both men and women; as time progressed these images changed from respectable to illicit.
Conversely, female protesters argued that these images were corrupting societal morality and saw these public sexual displays of women as lowering the standards of womanhood, destroying their dignity, reducing them to mere objects to pleasure men and therefore harmful to both women and young adolescents.
Pin-up modeling is a subculture that is invested in promoting positive body images and a love for one's sexuality, "...pin-up would also find ways to… encourage the erotic self-awareness and self expression of real women".
The classic style of the pin-up originates back from the 1940s. Due to the shortages of materials during WWII, this period of makeup is considered the "natural beauty" look. The US was immersed in war-time economy, which put distribution restrictions on consumer goods. General rationing was supported; women applied mild amounts of products. Despite the rations, "Women were encouraged to keep buying lipstick and to send letters to the front covered in 'lipstick kisses' to boost the morale of the soldiers."
The products consisted of:
"having a sun-kissed glow was popular among white women.
Lipstick "turned into a symbol of resilient femininity in the face of danger" and was seen as a way to boost morale during the war. The shape of the lip was also iconic of the 1940s. The lips were painted on to look plumper, a broad outline of the lip was added for roundness. This fuller look is known as the "Hunter's Bow", invented by Max Factor. The pin curl is a staple of the pin-up style, "women utilized pin curls for their main hair curling technique". Originating in the 1920s from the "water-waving technique", the hair style of the 1940s consisted of a fuller, gentle curl. The drying technique consists of curling a damp piece of hair, from the end to the root and pin in place. Once the curl is dry, it is brushed through to create the desired soft curl, with a voluminous silhouette. Victory rolls are also a distinctive hairstyle of the pin-up. The Victory roll is curled inward and swept off the face and pinned into place on the top of the head. Soft curls, achieved through the pin curl technique, finish off the look of pin-up. As a makeup style, the classic pin-up underwent a revival in modern fashion. The red lip and winged eyeliner made a re-emergence in 2010, with singer, Katy Perry being the most accessible example of modern pin-up makeup. There is a lack of representation in the media of women of color as pin-up models, even though they were influential to the construction of the style and were just as glamorous. As a makeup style, it is simple and sleek makeup, that is noticeable and glamorous.
Although pin-up modeling is associated with World War II and the 1950s, it has developed more recently into a subculture which can be seen represented in the styles of some celebrities and public figures. Pamela Anderson was considered the "perennial pin-up" due to decades' worth of modeling for Hugh Hefner's Playboy magazine. The American singer Lana Del Rey, whose style is comparable to that of the classic pin-up model, has performed a song called "Pin Up Galore". Beyoncé has recorded a song titled "Why Don't You Love Me" which pays tribute to the pin-up queen of the 1950s, Bettie Page. The burlesque performer Dita Von Teese is often referred to as a modern pin-up. She has appeared in a biographical film about Bettie Page, Bettie Page Reveals All, in which Von Teese helps to define pin-up. Katy Perry makes use of the ideas associated with pin-up modeling, and has included these in music videos and costumes. The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show can be comparable to burlesque show, whereas their yearly advent calendar can compare to pin-up in general. 
The pin-up modeling subculture has produced magazines and forums dedicated to its community. Delicious Dolls, a magazine that began in 2011 and has both a print and digital version, was described in 2015 as "the most-liked" pin-up magazine in the world. One of the magazine's mission statements is "to promote and showcase retro and modern pin-up girls". The magazine supports pin-up-related events throughout the United States and allows anyone to be featured in the magazine as long as they have worked with an approved photographer. Within this subculture there are opportunities to perform in pin-up contests, including one which takes place during the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly festival. The goal of the contest is "not one that is based solely on popularity or cosmetic appeal, but one that includes inner beauty as well". Women of "all shapes and sizes" are encouraged to participate, and winners are judged on their biographies, pastimes, and work they do outside of the pin-up hobby. They do not perform, but rather are judged on their authenticity, originality, overall styling presentation, crowd appeal, and stage presence.
Though Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page are often cited as the classic pin-up, there were many women of color who were also considered to be impactful. In the 1920s two of the most notable Black burlesque dancers were Josephine Baker and Lottie Graves. Despite the little history on Black burlesque dancers, Baker and Graves are a good starting point for evaluating women of color in pin-up. Dorothy Dandridge and Eartha Kitt also added to the pin-up style of their time, using their looks, fame, and personal success. African-American pin-up finally had a platform when the magazine, Jet, was created in 1951. Jet supported pin-up as they had a full page feature called, "Beauty of the Week", where African-American women posed in a swimsuits and such. This was intended to showcase the beauty these women possessed as they lived in a world where their skin color was under constant scrutiny. It was not until 1965 that Jennifer Jackson became the first African American to be published in Playboy as Playmate of the Month. And it was not until 1990 that Playboy's Playmate of the Year was an African-American woman, Renee Tenison. Historically, women of color in pin-up are still not as common as their white counterparts. However, the recent revival of pin-up style has propelled many women of color today to create and dabble with the classic pin-up look to create their own standards of beauty. In Jim Linderman's self-published book, Secret History of the Black Pin Up, he describes the lives and experiences of African-American pin-up models.
Azumi Muto (武藤 亜澄, Mutō Azumi, June 13, 1986 – December 30, 2006) was a pin-up model and aspiring actress for an agency in Tokyo, Japan. She was murdered by her 21-year-old brother Yuki Muto (武藤 勇貴, Mutō Yūki) (born 1985) on December 30, 2006. Her death aroused the tabloids' notice for the circumstances surrounding the crime.Bernie Dexter
Bernie Dexter (born January 13, 1970) is an American model and fashion designer and 1950s style pin-up model, published in many magazines and books. She is in the official film Bettie Page Reveals All.Bettie Page
Betty Mae Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008), known professionally as Bettie Page, was an American model who gained a significant profile in the 1950s for her pin-up photos. Often referred to as the "Queen of Pinups", her jet-black hair, blue eyes, and trademark fringe have influenced artists for generations.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Page lived in California in her early adult years before moving to New York City to pursue work as an actress. There, she began to find work as a pin-up model, and posed for dozens of photographers throughout the 1950s. Page was "Miss January 1955", one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine. "I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society," said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to the Associated Press in 2008.In 1959, Page converted to evangelical Christianity and worked for Billy Graham, studying at Bible colleges in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, with the intent of becoming a missionary. The latter part of Page's life was marked by depression, violent mood swings, and several years in a state psychiatric hospital suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. After years of obscurity, she experienced a resurgence of popularity in the 1980s.Dirty Martini (burlesque)
Dirty Martini (born Linda Marraccini in New Jersey) is a New York City-based Burlesque dancer, pin-up model and dance teacher.
She is best known for her over-the-top performance acts, which mostly incorporate various classic burlesque styles such as the fan dance, balloon strip tease, the Dance of Several Veils, and shadow stripping, as well as her 50s styled pin-up images.
Martini regularly performs in New York City and extensively throughout North America and Europe in a wide range of venues from Carnegie Hall to weekly burlesque venues to gay leather bars. She was crowned Miss Exotic World 2004.Dusty Anderson
Ruth Edwin "Dusty" Anderson (born December 17, 1918) is an American former actress. She was a World War II pin-up model and appeared in the Yank magazine.Elaina Satana
Elaina Satana is a Las Vegas-based burlesque performer and pin-up model. She's the founder of The Sin City Grind Kittens (est. 2003), and specializes in eating both fire and glass on stage. She's also known for performing to and alongside rock-n-roll and punk, self-designed ornate costumes, her tattoos, and her hourglass bombshell figure.
Elaina adopted the surname Satana as a tribute to Tura Satana, one of her biggest inspirations. The practice of adopting the surname of a mentor or hero is common in such fields as professional wrestling, where it is not uncommon for several generations to keep one wrestling identity alive for decades, or for a wrestler to metaphorically be the offspring or simply a namesake of another established wrestler.Eve Meyer
Eve Meyer (born Evelyn Eugene Turner; December 13, 1928 – March 27, 1977) was an American pin-up model, motion picture actress, and film producer. Much of her work was done in conjunction with sexploitation filmmaker Russ Meyer, to whom she was married from 1952 to 1969. She was killed in the Tenerife airport disaster in 1977, the worst aviation accident in history.Heidi Van Horne
Heidi Van Horne is an American actress, pin-up model and writer. Besides modeling, she has acted in independent films and on several TV series, including ER, The O.C., and Gilmore Girls and as the prize girl on the revival of The Gong Show with Dave Attell for Comedy Central and Happy Madison Productions.
At the age of 14, she was cast in the film Dazed and Confused by director Richard Linklater. Van Horne acts in indie films, as well as on TV and in commercials, such as starring in one of the popular "What Happens in Vegas" ads for the Las Vegas Tourism Board and opposite James Woods and Vince Van Patten for their website, Hollywood Poker.net.
She also writes a weekly column for Hearst Publications' Houston Chronicle and has authored pieces for other publications.Jules Hodgson
Jules Hodgson, also credited as Joolz or J. Hogstorm, is an English musician, record producer and former member of the KMFDM, an industrial band, and The Spittin' Cobras (along with KMFDM bandmate Andy Selway). He is a former member of PIG and Lodestar. In 2006, Hodgson married pin-up model Go-go Amy and divorced in 2008. Jules now resides in Seattle, Washington. In 2007, he formed The Black Lab Studio.
Hodgson is originally from Leeds, England.Linn Thomas
Linn Thomas (also known as Lynn Thomas) (born January 21, 1976 in Newport News, Virginia, United States) is an American erotic model.
Her mother is Vietnamese and her father is a mix of Irish, Welsh and Italian. They met and married in Vietnam. Linn was born after her parents moved to the United States. Her father abandoned the family when Linn was very young.Linn Thomas became a Playboy Playmate in May 1997. In October 2000, she became a Penthouse Pet of the Month and the first pin-up model in history to have appeared in both Playboy and Penthouse as a centerfold model. She has also modeled for Perfect 10, Danni's Hard Drive and J. Stephen Hicks' Digital Desire.In 2003, she appeared with Victoria Zdrok in the erotic film Temptation, directed by Michael Ninn.Lynda Wiesmeier
Lynda Ann Wiesmeier (pronounced WEES-myer, May 30, 1963 – December 16, 2012) was an American model and actress. She made her debut film in American Pop. Wiesmeier was selected as both cover model and Playmate of the Month for the July 1982 issue of Playboy magazine, and her centerfold was photographed by Richard Fegley. Wiesmeier also appeared in several Playboy newsstand special editions and videos, and worked steadily for Playboy for more than five years after she graced the magazine's fold-out page, first as a nude glamour and pin-up model, and then as a promotional model and a feature reporter for the Playboy Channel.
She died at age 49 in December 2012 due to a brain tumor.Mark Mori
Mark Mori is an American documentary filmmaker, television producer and screenwriter of documentary and reality television series and specials.
He produced and directed, Bettie Page Reveals All, the authorized documentary film on life of pin-up model, Bettie Page, released in 2012. Previously, Mori produced and directed Building Bombs, Academy Award nominee for Best Feature Documentary for 1990 (DVD release by Docurama/New Video in 2005), Executive Produced, Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann, documentary short Academy Award nominee for 1993; received an Emmy Award for the television documentary special, Kent State, the Day the War Came Home for 2000; co-produced The Fire This Time, 1994 Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize nominee and 1995 WGA TV Documentary, Current Events Award nominee and in 2000, Executive Produced and Directed, the investigative TV documentary, Wayne Williams and the Atlanta Child Murders for Court TV. Mori also founded the production company Single Spark Pictures in 1996. He is the namesake for his nephew, Mark Mori.Meg Myles
Meg Myles (born November 14, 1934) is a pin-up model, singer, and actress on stage and screen, actively mostly in the 1950s and 1960s.Striporama
Striporama is a 1953 comedy film directed by Jerald Intrator. The film starred a number of burlesque comedy, dance and striptease acts that were popular during the early 1950s. Today, it is best known as one of the few feature films starring pin-up model Bettie Page.Tristan Risk
Tristan Risk, also known as Little Miss Risk, is a Canadian film actress, known for her roles in horror films such as American Mary, Mania, and Innsmouth. In 2014 Risk penned the script for the short film Happily Ever Evil, in which she also starred, and in February 2016 she made her directorial debut with a short film she created as part of Women in Horror Month.Prior to becoming a screen actress Risk predominantly performed as a burlesque dancer, pin-up model, and a stage actress. She did not become interested in performing in film until she saw the 2009 movie Dead Hooker in a Trunk, after which she contacted Sylvia Soska, which resulted in Soska casting her as Beatress Johnson in American Mary. Risk was given the GenreBlast Film Festival Les Femmes Du Genre award in 2016.Varietease
Varietease is a 1954 American burlesque film and the first such directed by Irving Klaw. According to its plot, the iconic pin-up model Bettie Page performs a burlesque show alongside Lili St. Cyr, Chris La Chris, Vicki Lynn, Bobby Shields, and others.Veronica Varlow
Veronica Varlow is a burlesque dancer, pin-up model, actress, producer, and performance artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the owner of the internet boutique Danger Dame, which specializes in clothing inspired by burlesque, cabaret, the 1940s and 1950s.Yvette Vickers
Yvette Vickers (born Yvette Iola Vedder; August 26, 1928 – c. 2010) was an American actress, pin-up model and singer.Yōko Mihara
Yōko Mihara (三原 葉子, Mihara Yōko) was an actress of Japanese exploitation cinema, erotic dancer and pin-up model who was active from the 1950s to 1970s.