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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful study of a much maligned art form., 1 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Pin-up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture (Paperback)
This is a very useful, and fascinating cultural study.
The product details above pretty much give you an idea of the ground Buszek covers; she explores how women in the theatre, and later in other roles, such as art and the suffrage movement, used, - indeed virtually invented - the pin-up first as a publicity tool, then as an example of the "new woman" during the first quarter of the 20th century. She examines the inter-relationship of the pin-up with the cinema and the way this effected how women saw themselves as their roles in society changed; (an interesting piece of information she unearthed was the high level of women who both read "Esquire" magazine and voiced their approval of, and identification with, the pin-up art it featured).
With the end of the war and the deliberate reduction of women's opportunities in the workplace, the rise of "Playboy" (an avowed male only publication) and the passive, "sex symbol" nature of pin-ups of this period reveal how the form was used to support the social conservatism and aggressively patriarchal climate of the late 50`s and early 60`s - the main reason for the pin-ups negative image which sadly, in some quarters, still exists today. Buszek continues her narrative to reveal how some women have reclaimed the form and have successfully employed pin-ups for witty and insightful feminist ends in the ongoing struggle for an equal society.
Buszek`s writing style employs a smattering of politico-feminist jargon and artspeak, as one might expect from a book dealing with a subject such as this, but it is a fairly readable volume; the wealth of information and illuminating insights it provides are well worth your time. The only serious negative point I found was in the later chapters which tend to reference artists, groups and publications (such as fanzines) which are a little obscure outwith the USA and/or the art mainstream - or perhaps I`m a little out of touch... at any rate, don`t let that put you off.
The pin-up is very much alive and kicking and she can still kick hard for whichever point of view you wish her to represent; if you are the kind of person - male or female - who regards the pin-up as a hopelessly sexist piece of trivia, this book will help you see things differently.
An eminently recommendable book.
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Location: Glasgow, UK

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