• Pin Up Girl Illustration

    Sexy Pin Up Art | Sexism or Feminism?

    Tantalizing and artistic, a fascination with pin-up prints and girls has endured for over a century. But ever since its rise to popularity people have debated over the social impact of sexy pin-up art. Is...

    Tantalizing and artistic, a fascination with pin-up prints and girls has endured for over a century. But ever since its rise to popularity people have debated over the social impact of sexy pin-up art. Is it sexism or feminism?

    For decades pin-up art has been both celebrated as a symbol of feminism and criticized as oppressive sexism. We take a look at which is true.

    Sexy Pinup
    Sexy Pinup

    Criticisms of Sexy Pin-Up Art

    Ever since the beginning of sexy pin-up prints, there have been criticisms. Two of the most common critiques have been the objectification of women and the corruption of social morality.

    In the early days of vintage pin-up art, even celebrities were taking part. For actresses, sexuality was the key to public recognition, fame, and success on-screen. As such, they would seek to make and distribute sexy vintage pin-up art as a form of self-promotion.

    Some people see this as proof that pin-up art is the objectification of women. In reality, it was a symptom or, more appropriately, a reaction to a system that objectified women. For many, pin-up art was a tool that allowed women to gain notoriety in an unequal society.

    Another common complaint is that this erotic art corrupt social morality. This criticism was inevitable. Pin-up girls are the direct descendent of burlesque photography and culture. Burlesque intentionally runs against the grain of societal norms. So any offshoot of it was likely to rub some people the wrong way.

    Throughout history, emerging art forms and ideas have always been met with heavy criticisms. From historical thinkers like Socrates to modern art forms like video games, new concepts and arts always face accusations of corrupting the youth.

    For pin-up art prints, the positives far outweigh the criticisms.

    Sexy Pinup
    Sexy Pinup

    Positive Body Image

    The pin-up model is a celebration of the bodies of real women that predates Dove’s celebrated Real Beauty campaign by over a hundred years. From its outset, pin-up prints have propagated positive body image. Rejecting the Victorian era’s zeal for bodily shame.

    The simple makeup and apparel that accentuates the feminine body focusing on natural female beauty. The pin-up model isn’t chasing false beauty ideals. She is confident in her own body and celebrates her sexuality.

    Healthy Body Type

    Early pin-up models helped to establish healthy body types as desirable. It encourages women to celebrate a clean, healthy, real feminine body. As Meghan Trainor would say, “I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll.”

    Sexy Pinup Illustration
    Sexy Pinup Illustration

    Erotic Self-Awareness & Expression

    The sexual revolution often receives credit as one of the most important events in feminism. Pin-up model Bettie Page is heralded as the catalyst of the sexual revolution. Vintage pin-up art, however, had already been giving women a means of erotic self-awareness and expression since the 1890s.

    The pin-up girl is sexually liberated, a testament to feminine beauty and sexuality.

    Shop Vintage Pin-Up Art For Sale

    Today, vintage pin-up art remains popular and impactful in the erotic art community. It crosses bridges of BDSM art and fetish themes that celebrate femininity. Discover pin-up art for sale in our online gallery today.

    Art Provocateur is the premier online gallery of erotic art prints.  Browse our galleries of limited edition and one-of-a-kind artwork. We have the largest selection of erotic and nude art from both established artists and rising stars.

  • Contrasting Modern & Vintage Pin-Up Art

    The iconic American pin-up girl of the 40s and 50s. Photographs, drawings, and paintings of models intended to be pinned up on the wall. They’re famous for decorating the noses of fighters planes and...

    The iconic American pin-up girl of the 40s and 50s. Photographs, drawings, and paintings of models intended to be pinned up on the wall. They’re famous for decorating the noses of fighters planes and bombers of World War Two. But their origins lay long before that, and they’re still popular today.

    War Production Co-Ordinating Committee Poster
    We Can Do It!

    Although pin-up art didn’t get its name until the 1940s, its origins trace back to the later years of Victorian burlesque photography and it’s boom in New York during the late 1800s. Burlesque performers used provocative photographs to promote themselves and their shows.

    Early pin-up paintings and photographs featured nude or erotic artwork. It went from being a promotional tool to a popular commodity among soldiers in WWI. At the same time, as it was becoming popular in overseas conflicts, film was taking off at home.

    Actresses were competing for roles and they followed the example of burlesque performers. They took up proto-pin-up art to increase their public visibility and demand. This introduced vintage pin-up art to the mainstream.

    Over a couple of decades, pin-up art grew into its own art style with common looks and purpose.

    BDSM Photography
    Craig Morey | Dita Von Teese C-06

    The Vintage Pin-Up Art Look

    The vintage “pin-up look” is relatively simple. Clothing, hair, and makeup are all worn to emphasize and accentuate natural features. While the looks focus on natural beauty, the posing is based on sexuality. The women (and occasionally male) pin-up model poses in provocative poses, usually with a simple backdrop.

    Pin-up clothing and apparel compliments the natural curves of the body, usually accentuating the cleavage. The type of clothing is often sexually suggestive. For example, nightwear and lingerie are common themes because we associate them with the bedroom and love-making.

    Models may pose in various states of undress as well. Artistic prints depict them about to remove clothing, or completely nude.

    The makeup was also serves to emphasize natural features. In part, historians credit this to the limited makeup available due to war rationing. Foundations and powders were a key element, sometimes emphasized with blush on the cheeks. Eyebrows and eyes were contoured to make them stand out. And most iconically, the lips were made to look plump, vibrant and full.

    Romantic Art Bedroom
    Piacente | Facelift

    Purpose of Vintage Pin-Up Art

    The purpose of the pin-up art had some variation as the art form evolved. It started off as a promotional tool for burlesque performers and burgeoning entertainers. Eventually, pin-up artwork transitioned into its own commodity.

    During WWII soldiers were once again played a key role in popularizing vintage pin-up art. Pin-up images were used to boost morale on the front lines. The US government even took part, asking women to send lipstick kisses on letters to soldiers. These are kisses where the woman applies lipstick and kisses the letter so it leaves a full, plump lip shape – reminiscent of pin-up model makeup.

    Romantic Art Bedroom
    Lucas | Heart Shaped Lips

    Classic pin-up art went from being used as an advertisement for the model, to being sold as its own artwork on their own and in magazines, or even in advertisements to sell other products. BDSM photography magazines gave rise to celebrated pin-up girls like Bettie Page. Often hailed as the “Queen of the Pin-Ups”, Bettie Page ushered in a new era of female sexuality.

    Heralded as the catalyst to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, Bettie helped bring about the new purpose found in modern pin-up art.

    Pin-Up Inspired Art
    Pin-Up Inspired Art

    Modern Pin-Up Art & Culture

    Visually, the modern pin-up scene has a lot of carry-over from the 40s and 50s. The classic look actually had a bit of a resurgence with the focus on natural bodies and curves over the past decade. The art is still sexual, but has more focus on female empowerment and betterment.

    In part, this is exemplified by the importance of inner beauty. Pin-up contests focus on inner beauty, not just cosmetic appeal. Judging considers:

    • – Originality
    • – Presentation
    • – Stage Presence
    • – Crowd Appeal
    Romantic Art Bedroom
    KAZNACHEIEV | Awaiting II

    Often it is paired with feminism, having helped push the sexual revolution. In feminist art pin-up girls weaponize lipstick, challenging social norms and promoting positive body image. The famous “We Can Do It” stamp is a popular feminist icon today.

    It represents women coming into the workforce during the Second World War, an important stepping stone towards gender-equality.

    While early actresses helped to spread the genre, many of today’s entertainers are pushing modern pin-up art forward. Many pop culture icons, like Lana Del Ray, style their looks after the vintage pin-up look. Katy Perry, for example, makes use of pin-up apparel and makeup styles in her performances and videos.

    Retro Pin Up Art
    Shaun Tia | Save A Horse

    Modern & Vintage Pin-Up Art For Sale

    Explore the Art Provocateur Gallery to shop the most enticing modern and vintage pin-up art for sale. Discover art prints ranging from erotic and nude photography to pin-up paintings. Start building your collection today and learn the tantalizing thrills of decorating with nude art.