Confidence is one of those unique, awe inspiring virtues, that nearly everyone suggests we should have, and yet as women, most of us struggle with at one point or another. For years women have styled their hair, adopted new fashions, and dieted in the name of finding confidence in regard to their physical beauty, and recently, many women have turned to pinup photo shoots in order to see themselves as beautiful. If you've never taken part in a pinup photo shoot, you may not see the correlation. After all, pinups are all about objectifying women, right?
Wrong. That may have been the case a few decades ago, when so called gentleman's magazines brought the genre to popularity, sending copies stocked full of classic pinup beauties overseas during World War II. Initially, the starlets and models who posed for pinups may have been somewhat objectified, but even in its infancy, the pinup genre hailed from much deeper roots. It comes from the centuries long practice of modeling art after a profound appreciation for the female form, which is precisely why so many photographers and artists have continued the tradition today.
You might argue that the pinup genre only perpetuates the pitfalls of "the feminine mystique," encouraging women to feel obligated to fit within the constraints of perceived glamour, sexuality solely for the purpose of breeding, and a life dedicated to raising a family or caring for a man. But today's pinup genre has evolved to being a safe arena in which women can express and embrace their individuality for their own sake, sometimes even trying on new roles, in an effort to find deeper personal connection to their unique identity. (Pinups are no longer just for the sake of lovers or admirers — many women get pinup portraits for themselves.) Because how we relate to our visual identity does play a role in our overall happiness and mental health.
Embracing female strength and independence is not about striping away notions of beauty, or entirely ignoring physical attributes. It's about discovering and embracing our facets, forging a cohesive blend of these elements, and supporting ourselves, and all women, in the ability to be fully realized versions of our multifaceted selves, no matter what we look like.
Pinups today really are a wonderful way to pay tribute to the women of the past, and to embrace our personal beauty. They can be done solo, with or without props, or in groups, with friends for a fantastic girl's day out. But if you're still on the fence about the whole pinup experience, here are a few more reasons you might want to consider giving it a try.
1. Pinups Are Body Positive
The curvy, creative culture of the pinup genre is pretty accepting. It's about self love, and beauty in all forms, and celebrating our similarities in tandem with our differences. Plus, the retro style looks great on just about everyone.
2. Pinups Are Unapologetic
Pinups are bold, sexy, and sometimes a little bit strange. They embrace a brazen, rockabilly attitude. They are what they are, and if you don't like it, you can eff-off. That's an attitude that we can all benefit from embracing and emulating every once and a while, because when it comes to your individuality and the integrity of your motivation, you have to stand strong. It's like that rather infamous quote, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind!"
3. You'll See Yourself Objectively
Having your portrait taken by a professional photographer is genuinely rewarding. Photographers offer an unbiased view of their subjects, and especially in the case of pinup and glamour photography, subjects are often surprised by their own beauty in the eyes of another. Sometimes the best way to bolster your physical self confidence is seeing yourself in an image someone else has taken — seeing that you don't have to fit into a mold to be beautiful or sexy.
4. It's An Opportunity To Play
The pinup genre is playful, and never takes itself too seriously. It has, for decades, revolved around ladies acting out or enjoying a variety of scenarios, either as hyper-stylized versions of themselves, or exploring new roles. The photograph above is clearly from a convention, but it illustrates just how adaptable the vintage pinup style can be, and how creative you can get with it. Not to mention, if you're working with a professional photographer, you'll reap the benefits of having their style, hair, and makeup team's full creative prowess at your fingertips. Step outside of yourself for a while, try on a new identity. You may just discover hidden aspects of yourself in someone else's shoes — and you're bound to have a great time doing it!
5. You'll Honor Your Strength And Conquer Your Fear
Not only will you be conquering any personal fears you may have around embracing your sensual side or showing off a little bit of your body, but you'll be paying a subtle tribute to the women who have fought for your rights. Without the women's suffrage movement, you wouldn't be able to do commonplace things that we take for granted every day. By stepping outside your comfort zone now and then, you give the women who've come before you a little hat tip, and reaffirm your strength and the strength of women kind.
6. To Celebrate!
Whether you're recently engaged, treating your friends to a super unique bachelorette party, celebrating a sweet promotion, or just looking for a fun reason to dress up with your gals, pinup sessions make for great celebratory events. The process of being photographed in this style is joyful, and after all the pampering and laughter, you'll have some incredible portraits for a lifetime of memories.
7. You're A Dish, And You May Want Proof
That's right, someday, you'll be an old woman. And, sooner or later, your grandkid will escort you onto a boat where someone will unveil a decades old print of your pinup shoot. Everyone will ooh, and ah, and you'll get to enjoy their stunned reactions as you explain to them that you were in fact quite a dish back in your day (while reminding them that you still are, of course).
OK, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but you get my point. We all change with age, and in the future, you may long to look back at your younger self with admiration. While you'll have a multitude of photos to choose from (considering this digital age), you may not have quite so many images that portray you as a voluptuous or sensual woman. And if that's any part of your personality, it's worth preserving. That's not to say you won't be sensual or enjoy your sexuality as you age, but things do change, visually speaking.
8. Pinups Are Classy
Sure, there are pinups out there who aren't entirely tastefully shot, but those are the portraits that give the genre a bad name. Excusing the more gritty or casual images that have been created to cater to specific preferences, most well-vetted, professional pinup photographers hold themselves to an exceptionally high standard, and aim to create images that portray women as classy and polished. This doesn't mean having to sacrifice your casual, tomboy, or androgynous style, if that's part of your personality. It simply means that if you've found the right photographer, you can expect an exceptional final product (beyond a standard selfie) that reflects your inner beauty.
9. They're A Visual Reminder Of Your Identity
Whether you're a music buff, a code kid, or a gear head, the prop aspect of a pinup portrait is a wonderful way to celebrate your identity. And since almost all of us experience days of doubt now and then, when we're not quite sure what makes us unique, or so wrapped up in a difficult moment that we forget what brings us joy, having a series of playfully polished images that speak to our individual interests and style can be a huge boon.
Not to mention, as you plan for your pinup session you'll have an opportunity to explore and curate your dearest interests for the purpose of choosing props and planning your image. And, during your photo shoot, you'll likely get to gush a bit with your photographer about what makes you tick and how your life has been influenced by your choices and preferences, which can be a hugely cathartic and empowering experience. Truly being seen by another human makes for a beautiful moment, and a lovely memory.