The Girl who Wanted to be a Vargas Pinup

A couple of women recently asked me why I pose in vintage lingerie, baring my soul and other parts, to the world.

I had to think about the answer to this. It's not just about nostalgia. Anyone can collect nostalgia. Most women don't display it. There must be something a bit exhibitionist about me. Mainly though, it's about rebelling against the whole pop culture - fashion industry that believes that every woman must be built like an adolescent boy. If you have breasts or hips, somehow you are perceived by the fashion industry as "too fat."

Why women buy into this (young ones, especially,) I have no idea. Do young women really think that if their Body Mass Index is 19, that they'll be spotted by a talent scout and made famous? Off the top of my head, I can think of three women that happened to: Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, and Claudia Schiffer. Two of those women are curvy women, and as much as I thought Twiggy was cute in the '60's, I never had an inclination to look like her.

When I was in second grade - all of 7 years old - I announced to my friends that I wanted to be a pinup model. I didn't see anything wrong with it. The Vargas pinups I'd seen, (thought to be hidden from prying eyes) seemed to be very happy with their femininity. The images were beautiful - larger than life to my mind. The soft and exaggerated forms celebrated the female gender, and I wanted to be like that. There seemed to be a hidden power they possessed - and I wanted some of that. I couldn't wait to grow up.

Of course, in my teens and twenties, and even into my thirties, I completely lacked the courage and confidence it takes to emphasise ones curves for the camera - especially since curves seemed to have gone out of fashion with the '80's. I was in my twenties in the 1980's, but busy with kids and family life. Posing for pinup photos was the last thing on my mind.

But something happened once I hit age 40. Realising that I was getting older, I decided that I needed to start living some of my dreams. And I'm so glad that I did. One day I will be an old woman and I'll have some fabulous photos to look back on. I'll just see that little girl who wanted to be a Vargas pinup, and I'll still be rebelling, even if it's just for an audience of one. And I'll probably be wearing a bullet bra, too.


words: Melanie O., Australia (View from the Tenth Level)
image: Cheryl Hicks, Texas (imagewarehouse)


BluePrintReview - issue 17 - Bodyscapes