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Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture Paperback – 31 May 2006
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"This is a nice combination of art history and cultural history, and it works!"
"I]nfectiously interesting and bold. I found myself reading and thinking, 'Damn, I want to have a drink with this lady.'"
--Courtney E. Martin, "Feministing"
"[E]ngrossing and well-researched. . . . By marrying the evolution of feminism with the evolution of pinup art, "Pinup Grrrls" contextualizes both. . . ."
"Maria Elena Buszek's enthusiasm for her subject is obvious. . . . It's a book by a young woman discovering herself and her powers, something of a kindred spirit to the pin-ups she studies."
--Josie Appleton, "Times Literary Supplement"
""Pin-Up Grrrls" is a great read, and its treatment of the evolution of iconic images of women over the last two centuries will interest students of popular media, women's studies, and feminism as well as art history."
--Leigh Ann Wheeler, "Journal of American History"
"Buszek's appealing work charts the converging historical, visual, and theoretical paths of the feminist movement and the pinup from the 19th century to the present, offering a feminist interpretation of the pinup attuned to the kaleidoscopic nature of feminist engagement with issues of sexuality."
--K. Rhodes, "Choice"
"Buszek shows that pin-ups form a visual history of the women's movement, in terms of the pin-up's content, acceptance, and appropriation by women. Also, she suggests that their visibility in popular culture makes feminism a constant presence--a presence that . . . refuses to be ignored."
--Susan Bustos, "The Peer Review"
'Drawing on a large body of research and commentary, Buszek smartly focuses on individual contributions and landmarks rather than sweeping claims. An academic, Buszek isn't afraid to dig deep into her subject, but she tempers her treatise with healthy doses of wit, grace and rhythm, and rarely falters."
"Buszek takes us on an academic journey through 150 years of saucy, socially aware images and their repercussions on the mainstream. For those of us who thought that reclaiming sexuality in the name of feminism was a fairly new concept, this is a great introduction to the revolutionary beauties of the past."
--Catherine Plato," Curve"
"By revealing that feminists from all eras have celebrated their sexuality through the pin-up, Buszek leaves readers with renewed respect for female sex icons such as Bettie Page, Sandra Bernhardt, and Lydia Thompson. "Pin-up Grrrls" also helps put today's newfound pop culture obsession with pin-up culture ... in context."
--Jessalynn Keller, "Nylon"
"[F]eminists are appropriating historical pin-ups as empowering images of confidence, power, and transcendence of gender norms. Buszek traces the origins of this infusion of feminist beliefs into the history of the genre, and delivers an entirely fresh perspective on an externally misogynistic art form."
--Chelsea Stack, "The College of New Jersey Women and Gender Studies Newsletter"
""Pin-Up Grrrls" is an exhaustive chronicle of the pin-up from its stage, street, and screen origins to the postmodern feminist pin-up, and its storied relationship to feminism in the United States. This book
is essential reading for anyone interested in feminism, history, art history, feminist art, histories of sexuality, or popular culture."
--Chadwick Roberts, "Journal of Popular Culture"
"Maria Elena Buszek offers an educational, yet stylishly entertaining exploration of pin-up history. . . . ["Pin-Up Grrrls"] is 'chick lit' for all women in support of their own sexuality should purchase and read many times over. Buszek has precisely mastered an entire subject in which all women can both learn and appreciate the power of feminine sexuality."
--Stephanie Nolasco, "New York Press"
"This eloquent, erudite surprise of a book should be required reading for scholars of gender, sexuality, U.S. history, visual and material culture studies, and art history. . . . [A] beautifully written, well-researched study that necessarily situates the pin-up in the messy past and present, where the boundaries between cultural categories are never defined and are always in contestation."
--Elspeth H. Brown, "Winterthur Portfolio"
"Whatever your feelings about the pin-up and its place in feminism and popular culture in general, Buzsek has provided a thoughtful study of the genre in all its manifestations. The book includes many examples of the pin-ups she alludes to in the text, along with a very comprehensive bibliography. It is clear from reading the work that this issue, like so many concerned with the rights and roles of women in society, is by no means clear cut and the debate certainly isn't over yet."
"Buszek not only provides us with an encyclopedic historical entomology of the pin-up but participates in a potent ongoing reaction to Clement Greenberg's Adorno-esque pre-World War II condemnation of kitsch. . . . From the slippery issues of pornutopia and female fetishism, from T"he Bridge Across My Pussy "to queer monsters, she-devils and fierce funny feminism, there can be few books as usefully provocative as this for an undergraduate or graduate class on feminism, popular culture and art history."
--Jonathan Zilberg, "Leonardo"
""Pin-Up Grrrls" is a well documented and thorough study. . . . Buszek successfully unravels an organic link between the evolution of the genre and the various stages of feminist thought commonly associated with the three waves of feminism. . . . The author draws from a large body of theoretical, historical and visual research providing an uninformed reader with the necessary background for understanding and contextualizing the material at hand. Buszek writes with structure and clarity, avoiding overly technical terms and theoretical jargon, making her research accessible to the general public."
--Lidia HwaSoon Anchisi, "Metapsychology Online"
"No cheap thrills here: Maria Elena Buszek's "Pin-Up Grrrls" is a welcome departure from the usual pin-up fare. . . . If you're looking for a few dirty pictures, grab a "Maxim" at the gas station. If, however, you're looking for an insightful and thorough exploration of a popular sexual phenomenon researched and written by a smart woman and focused through a feminist lens, this book just might be your wet dream come true."
--Kelly Moritz, "Feminist Review" blog
""Pin-Up Grrrls" is a funny, sexy, political take on the pin-up. In this book, women flaunt their sexuality, use images of themselves to their own ends, and remake the pin-up genre in endlessly creative ways."--Susie Bright, author of "Mommy's Little Girl: On Sex, Motherhood, Porn, and Cherry Pie"
""Pin-Up Grrrls" is ultimately a tale of the feminist reclamation of female sexuality as much as it is the story of the pin-up. With great historical consciousness and painstaking research--and without falling back on tired old stereotypes of pro- or antiporn feminists--Buszek stakes a thoroughly convincing claim that feminism is a political movement that has always championed women's sexual agency and that is sure to appeal to grrrls and womyn alike."--Rachel Fudge, " Women s Review of Books""
"In "Pin-Up Grrrls," feminist art scholar Buszek optimistically traces the development of feminism and the assertion of female sexuality in the public sphere through a well-illustrated focus on a 150-year history of the female pin-up. . . . Through meticulous research, presented in a chronological narrative structure, Buszek demonstrates the complex interaction between the pin-up and the historical contexts in which it articulates female sexuality."--Hillegonda C. Rietveld, "Feminist Review"
"With "Pin-Up Grrrls," Buszek provides a unique blend of art, cultural, and women's histories that will engage a wide and diverse audience."--Rachel Epp Buller, "Woman s Art Journal""
"Pin-Up Grrrls is a funny, sexy, political take on the pin-up. In this book, women flaunt their sexuality, use images of themselves to their own ends, and remake the pin-up genre in endlessly creative ways."--Susie Bright, author of Mommy's Little Girl: On Sex, Motherhood, Porn, and Cherry Pie
"Pin-ups that women love? That they create? Yes! In her brilliantly vibrant debut book, Maria Elena Buszek gives a lucid, rich, and thorough account of a nineteenth- and twentieth-century history in which women employ the power of erotic imagery to celebrate themselves. From the writing to the reproductions, Pin-up Grrrls is eye-opening."--Joanna Frueh, performance artist and author of Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure
"Pin-Up Grrrls is ultimately a tale of the feminist reclamation of female sexuality as much as it is the story of the pin-up. With great historical consciousness and painstaking research--and without falling back on tired old stereotypes of pro- or antiporn feminists--Buszek stakes a thoroughly convincing claim that feminism is a political movement that has always championed women's sexual agency and that is sure to appeal to grrrls and womyn alike."--Rachel Fudge, Women's Review of Books
"Buszek's academic background in art history allows her to convincingly dispute the notion of the pin-up as merely objectifying women, and her selection of archival images is a feast for the eyes. . . . BUST readers will still no doubt devour this intergenerational expose of how strong women asserted themselves, their whole selves--including those lovely legs, bodacious busts, and devilish derrieres."--Amanda McCorquodale "BUST Magazine "
"In Pin-Up Grrrls, feminist art scholar Buszek optimistically traces the development of feminism and the assertion of female sexuality in the public sphere through a well-illustrated focus on a 150-year history of the female pin-up. . . . Through meticulous research, presented in a chronological narrative structure, Buszek demonstrates the complex interaction between the pin-up and the historical contexts in which it articulates female sexuality."--Hillegonda C. Rietveld "Feminist Review "
"Using the pin-up as an interpretative lens for probing complicated issues of women's sexual agency, Buszek offers a fascinating and lively . . . history of the American women's movement and its engagement with popular culture. Pin-Up Grrrls features ninety-four figures, many of which appear for the first time in print and provide ample visual support for her argument. . . . Buszek has tackled an enormous subject here, and her book should interest anyone looking for an overview of historical developments in feminist thought and female representation."--Marlis Schweitzer "American Quarterly "
"With Pin-Up Grrrls, Buszek provides a unique blend of art, cultural, and women's histories that will engage a wide and diverse audience."--Rachel Epp Buller "Woman's Art Journal "
Top customer reviews
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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Of course, if you decide to read this book, you have to prepare yourself for a vast intellectual challenge. It is a complex weave of very different thoughts; the chapters are regulary cross-references so you have to keep many things is mind.
It could have been made a bit even more enjoyable with two things. First of all, there are several dozens of pages at the end of the book -- at this quantity, these would have been much more useful as footnotes. Secondly, much more pictures would have been much better. Parargraph-long description of pin-up pictures would be unnecessary if the reader could see the pictures itself.
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