We’re closing Pin-Up Week with a subject very close to my heart–the rather remarkable and often ignored absence of women of color in the pin-up genre. We don’t see pin-ups of color in magazines. We don’t see them on pin-up tribute sites. We don’t see them in pin-up contests. Long-time readers of my blog know that this issue is one I’ve talked about before, most notably in the article “Why Doesn’t the Lingerie Industry Like Women of Color?”
In the 8 months or so since that piece was published, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with lots of other people…from photographers to models to fellow lingerie fans about this issue, and the results have been…well, depressing is the only word I can think of to describe it.
Common excuses for not using women of color include them “not having the right look,” photographers “not knowing how to shoot women of color,” women of color being “uninterested in modeling,” or (and this is my all time favorite), “women of color look too sexual in lingerie.” Because seriously, what does that mean?
As a woman of color who is proud of my ethnic identity, that is unacceptable. And it’s hurtful. No one wants to feel like they’re automatically less attractive because of the color of their skin.
I know how things were back in the day. I know that Black women and Asian women and Hispanic women and Native American women were not most photographer’s first choice for models, but since when did past segregation become an excuse for present discrimination? After all, there weren’t many tattooed pin-up models back in the day either, but they’re everywhere now…and that’s a good thing.
Furthermore, the notion that there weren’t any pin-ups of color back in the day is false. There were plenty of pin-ups of color in the past. And there are heaps of pin-ups of color now. So today, I’m going to celebrate them…because I truly believe that beauty comes in every color.
I’ve posted a few of my favorite pin-up photos in this article. You’ll find lots more on The Lingerie Addict Tumblr, where I’ll be posting images of pin-ups of color, both past and present, all day long.
Got something to say about the absence of pin-ups of color in the industry? Share your thoughts in the comments!