The Woman Behind the Camera Part II

STOP! In the name of blogs! Before you read this post!

Please head over to The Pinup Professor for Part I of the post!

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I was so excited to have the opportunity to be a guest blogger for The Pinup Professor this week! It was an absolute honor, as her blog is one of my favorites. In this very special two part Tuesday Tribute, you’ll get to read about the woman behind the camera on Annie’s blog, and more information about the transformation process here.

Bunny Yeager, similar to Bettie Page and Millicent Patrick, is an inspirational woman who left her mark as a pinup model and photographer. Thus, Bunny embodies the glamorous, sexy, model and the comfortably cute artist. Why pick and choose one persona when you can be anything you want to be?

For this transformation tribute, I chose three Bunny looks to recreate with the help of my friend! For all of the looks, I used a vintage brownie camera I found off of Etsy for $10. The flash did not have the little lamp, but since it was merely used as a prop, I didn’t think of making it look realistic at that moment!

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The first look, also featured on the Pinup Professor, is one of my favorite photos of Bettie and Bunny working together.

I love this photo because of the dynamic between Bettie and Bunny. You see Bunny admiring Bettie, and Bettie looks absolutely liberated. Since the beach was such an important part of Bunny and Bettie’s work together, I knew I just had to include a beach scene. After all, Bunny lived in Miami and many of Bettie’s photos as well as her own self-portraits were on the beach. Being at the beach, feeling the [extreme] wind in your hair, and the sand in your toes is such a relaxing experience – it’s probably another factor why Bunny was so comfortable shooting at the beach!

For this look, I borrowed my friend’s vintage tiki shirt, which I actually found for him at Slone Vintage in Burbank, and the Laura Byrnes high waisted shorts in olive twill from Pinup Girl Clothing. Funny enough, my shoes are actually Bettie Page, but they no longer carry this style on their site!

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The second look was from a self-portrait of Bunny Yeager with Artistic lighting, taking in Miami in the 1950s. She is wearing casual leggings and a seemingly white, or a lightly colored cardigan. To be honest, I got rid of my basic leggings a long time ago. I definitely did not want to make an additional purchase for a photo recreation, so I opted for my Funny Face pants by Pinup Girl Clothing. Since the pants are actually much longer on me that leggings, I simply folded the pants in to look more like the length of Bunny’s leggings. I also paired it with a white H&M cardigan I got from their bargain rack. This was definitely one of my favorite looks to recreate because the items were so basic and can easily be found in most closets.

Luckily, I had my makeup and hair done professionally in the morning by Erika Reno and Missy Firestone for a different very special photoshoot, so it was great to have my hair and makeup done for this special tribute! Both ladies are absolutely amazing and super sweet!

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The third and final look I recreated was not necessarily trying to mimic the photo exactly as it is, but just to have some fun as well!

For this recreation, I used the Laura Byrnes California Sean top and high waisted shorts in olive twill from Pinup Girl Clothing. I opted for this blouse because it had the classic neckline in her photo and similar length sleeves. Once again, I already have this top in my closet so I didn’t spend any more on clothes to recreate this look. What I love about more of Bunny’s looks as a photographer is that she primarily wore basic pieces which can be mixed and matched easily. In an era of exquisite couture gowns, fabulous pinup outfits, and gorgeous tea length dresses and petticoats, these Bunny outfits definitely stand out!

I also wanted to include the following two photos, just because  I loved them so much!
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Thanks for reading Part I and II of this special Tuesday Tributes post! Until next time ❤

 

 

Bettie Page: Pinup Feminist?

I want to thank Ani for graciously inviting me to share my thoughts on her fabulous blog. Please check out my site, The Pinup Professor, for more articles about feminism and pinup fashion.  Thanks for reading!

Virgin or slut? Madonna or whore? For centuries, these reductive dichotomies have distinguished and characterized female sexual identity. We women are often forced to negotiate between tautological extremes, hoping to avoid allegations of promiscuity while maintaining our sexual autonomy. In a world full of Kardashians, we’re told, be an Audrey. We judge ourselves, and other women, based on binary systems of evaluation. But these dueling stereotypes can never fully capture our sexuality and our identity as women.

 

Throughout history, feminists have confronted oppressive constructions of female identity, including the Victorian “cult of true womanhood” and the feminine mystique of the mid-century. While many women, like Betty Friedan, articulated their objections through the written word, another Bettie chose quite a different medium to challenge patriarchal norms.

Now, it would be disingenuous to suggest that Bettie Page’s motivation for modeling was to “smash the patriarchy.” It wasn’t. Nevertheless, her ability to add complexity and nuance to the pinup genre, which, at the time, had been hijacked by the one-dimensional “Playmate,” was, in its own way, revolutionary, and dare I say…feminist?

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When Bettie Page first appeared in Bizarre magazine, pinup art had devolved from the empowered and subversive Vargas Girl to the submissive and childlike Playboy Playmate. Maria Buszek, in her book Pin-up Grrrls, attributes the regression to the postwar climate in America. Starting from the trauma of war, patriarchal America was anxious to return to a simpler time with clearly delineated gender roles. Men worked. Women stayed at home. Gone were the complicated, dangerous femme fatales; they were quickly replaced by images of subdued and compliant bombshells. As Hugh Hefner related, “Playboy is not interested in the mysterious, difficult woman…” His magazine, saturated with the male gaze, was unapologetically produced for the exclusive perusal and enjoyment of men.

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It was into this particular milieu that Bettie Page interjected her brazen good looks and lighthearted personality. Rather than being reduced to a sex object, Bettie Page turned herself into the subject of a particular brand of bondage-and-domination (B-D) photography. Instead of pigeon-holing herself as a “top” or a “bottom” (which was customary within the genre), Page performed both roles with her signature, over-the-top playfulness. Her sexuality was multidimensional, self-directed, and fun. She was also photographed by women (the indelible Bunny Yeager) for both male and female audiences. In effect, Bettie Page completely subverted the pinup standard of the day.

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I suppose that’s why I find it surprising that, just earlier this year, a house mural of Bettie Page was defaced with the note, “Stop exploiting women’s bodies” signed by “some feminists.” The argument, unfortunately, is one that has persisted within the women’s movement for quite some time. I have read too many many feminist blogs slut-shaming women for participating in burlesque or for wearing “revealing” clothing. While perhaps well-intentioned, these women are complicit in the same type of dichotomic thinking which reduces women to sluts or saints by conflating sexual expression with exploitation. The owner of the Washington house mural, Jessica Baxter, responded perfectly by obscuring the “feminist” message with one of her own: “Autonomous sexuality is empowerment. Telling a woman to cover up is oppression.”

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I think it’s about time that we abandon the archaic and rigid binaries that have defined us for so long. While I would personally never cover up for religious reasons or bare all as a pinup model, many women who do so are exercising personal agency, and that—in and of itself—is a feminist undertaking. And based on that criterion alone, Bettie Page may have very well have been a pinup feminist.

  

At Home with Monsters

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Aren’t Monday holidays just the absolute best?

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Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to view Guillermo Del Toro’s exhibition, At Home With Monsters at LACMA. The exhibition runs through November 27, so I’d recommend viewing the exhibit before it’s too late. Tickets sell out quickly, so we reserved a time slot online in order to ensure that we’ll get in. LACMA members get in for free, but those who aren’t members must pay $25 for the special exhibition, which also includes general admission.

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The exhibition was held in the Art of Americas building, which is one one of my favorite spaces in LACMA. Previously, Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s was also exhibited in the space, so I loved seeing the varying ways that LACMA utilizes that space. At Home with Monsters was organized in winding pathways and smaller sectioned off rooms, almost as if you are walking through a maze-like home. If you looked through certain openings in the walls, you’d be able to see sculptures glancing back at you.

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The exhibition featured pieces from Guillermo Del Toro’s personal collection, sketches, costumes, and clips from his films, as well as pieces from LACMA’s collection. The artworks on view were all great; I really appreciated that many etchings from LACMA’s collection were put on display right alongside del Toro’s collection, such as Disney concept art, life sized figures of writers and horror characters, and other items. Displaying older etchings next to contemporary works allows audiences to view them in a completely new, and rather untraditional context. Some of the items that were brought over from del Toro’s Bleak House included a life-sized statue of Edgar Allan Poe reading.a gothic inspired chair, and life sized sculptures of Frankenstein and his Bride.

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While I enjoyed the exhibition – as much as I was able to see from it – I do believe that there were too many pieces to completely appreciate the exhibition from one visit. When viewing any museum or exhibition, one shouldn’t try to see everything the museum has to offer. Often times, people can get overwhelmed and quickly forget most of the things they saw. Instead, if guests pay attention to a few key pieces, the experience would seem more fulfilling.

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At Home With Monsters looked aesthetically pleasing, almost like trying to recreate a wunderkammer, Cabinet of Curiositywhich I genuinely appreciated. However, there was an overwhelming amount of artworks, comics, sculptures, costumes, and film clips,  most of which I felt like I missed out on. Not only was there an overabundance of pieces in the show, but the exhibit was overcrowded. While LACMA’s efforts at crowd control are undeniable, it was impossible to get to see certain pieces that I really wanted to.

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Lately, I feel as if LACMA  has become the Disneyland of museums. Featuring blockbuster exhibitions such as this are great ways of bringing in new audiences to see museums, but the overwhelming amount of pieces, combined with the number of people there to view the exhibit means that exhibitions are no longer for single day visits. Guests must now visit the exhibition more than once to firstly see the whole exhibit, let alone understand anything from it.

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I know I’ll definitely have to visit the exhibition again, but luckily I get to see it for free, because I can’t imagine having to pay $25 admission plus $12 parking every time I want to see an exhibition. Paying for museum admission is a bit strange to me, as I firmly believe that museums should be free and always open to the public for entertainment and education, but charging $25 is absolutely preposterous! But alas, what can we do! LACMA knows how to cash in on things that people want to see, and they’re really good at it.

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For this museum trip, I wore my Glamour Ghoul dress in black and white stripes, minus the peplum. Since I got the dress from the yardsale, it didn’t come with the detachable peplum. However, since I’m a fan of wiggle dresses, I have no problem wearing it as is without the peplum! I paired it with my burgundy coffin purse from Tatyana boutique and simple black heels.

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Outfit Details:
Dress: Pinup Girl Clothing
Purse: Tatyana
Shoes: Sidecca