Thursday, April 7, 2011


Pin-Up Girls and the Genesis of the Kissy Face

Here's a hypnotic before-and-after gallery of pinup models and the pinup drawings they became. (No. 6 is my favorite.) It also seems that in the pinup lies the origin of the beloved/reviled kissy face. Is there an official name for that face? It seems to have metamorphosed from a sexily surprised "oopsie doops, my skirt flew up" expression to the stale and trouty "female douchebag face," as it's described here.

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I like the term "facebook face" or duckface. Kate Beaton illustrates it perfectly in the second to last comic here.


I've always called it Mary Kate and Ashley Face, as it seems to have really taken hold right when they were turning 18 and were all the tabloid rage.


Isn't it a Rachel Zoe thing? Fix your mouth like you're saying "prune" (or "poo").


A friend's much-younger girlfriend does this whenever a camera flashes anywhere near her. Based on photos, I'm not even sure if she has teeth. Thus she is known as "Blue Steel."

Hero of the Beach

I've always heard duckface, although I've always interpreted it as the "I am not really totally comfortable with this" face.

It ain't a real high school party until all the girls be ducking it up.

peachy lefever

i have to have the gold shoes from #7 illustration! do these exist in real life???



peachy lefever

YES!!!! (thank you)



Lily Rowan

I guess it's nice to see that women's bodies have been "made better" in pictures for so long?


Obvs I type way too long. Seriously, right?!

Lily Rowan

And I agree with you about appreciating these figures -- but still, big boobs still hardly ever come with a tiny middle in real life!


Agreed. And I'm not sure why either woman in #14 is upset about their weight, because they both look great. (Don't even get me started on wearing high heels on the scale...)


She needs the heels so she can see over her boobs!


I like that she's throwing up horns in the drawing.


Wow, the direct connection between the hand-drawn alteration of real features into idealized body perfection and the contemporary photoshop version is more apparent than I would have guessed. But still, I am loving these curves so much more than the waif look.


i love how happy and ridiculous they are. i had an arguement with my father about how media saturation has made our time seem so much more nefarious than the days of old. he was insistent, no, they really were more innocent. an oversimplification, i'm sure, but one i find myself thinking about more and more as my daughters get older.


"White Man Prefers the Past"


ahh, a potent smackdown as my inability to empathize with all others is laid bare. well done.


A few years ago, three girlfriends and I spent months raiding vintage and thrift stores, finding hair and make-up artists, finding a photographer, and creating our very own pin-up calendar that we printed and distributed to a select group of friends. It was one of the best things I have ever done and probably will ever do. I may not ever have children, but I will always have this fab calendar of me and my friends looking sex-ay and having a blast!

Lily Rowan

That's awesome.

Edith Zimmerman

That is brilliant.


@Edith and SuperGogo: How about a post on it with the pics?




So jealous, Gogo!How about a Ladies of The Hairpin calendar?


Is it me, or do some of those pinups closely resemble... Nevermind.

Jolie Kerr

@punkahontas: BRILLIANT. Can I have a whole calendar just of Katie Walsh sporting festive headwear?


Um whoa. You should be doing this as a business, like glamour shots but actually awesome. I would totally pay to come play dressup and go home with a few pinup shots! I love this!


Created account just to share, such places do exist! (In AZ, at least.) http://www.flashinthepast.com/


"stale and trouty"

ilu EZ

Shannon Knox@facebook

Notice that each woman lost a few pounds in the translation from photo to pin-up poster.


The caption on No. 6! Fit to kill! That is bad ass!


Covetously eyeing the boots in #6, those are amazing. And who among us has gone down a slide bare-assed? I'm guessing that's the first and last time #13 did that, oh the pain.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

#16 is so hot! I want that tattooed on my person somewhere.


That's the mouth I make when I'm concentrating -- more the round lipped version than the aquatic fowl type. For reals. I don't know why, but it always helps, the way it helps some people to stick out their tongues.

Also, that second link is disturbing. This is how it should go:

To our Dearest Internet Whores,

Please accept our sincerest apologies for the harsh tone of our last letter; we may have found it humorous enough on the battlefield amongst our fellows, but we realize now that it was probably just the gangrene or the dropsy talking. Please do not judge us too harshly, whores, darlings! We long for the day that we will see you flatten your lovely lips in such a scowl again -- oh what we would give! We fear that day may never come -- oh when shall this flame war end?

Yours eternally,
Dickwads of the Digital Age

^ Better, yes?


"That's the mouth I make when I'm concentrating -- more the round lipped version than the aquatic fowl type."
Me too!


I'm glad I'm not the only one!


jeesh...talk about butter faces! also...back in the day models were a little long in the tooth, no?


Funny how the kissy face seems to create forehead crease.


Oh how I love thigh-highs.

Also, more than making the girls thinner and boobier (because really, never surprising) I was surprised at what short haircuts many of the models had - half the photos have much longer hair than the original model.

Jolie Kerr

Me too. Love love love. I wanna snap the garters against every one of those thighs.


Wow. That woman's body looks almost exactly like mine. I have never had that happen before! Of course she was totally slimmed in the drawing.


I thought the exact same thing. "Wow, real lady bodies!"


What's with all the (okay, actually just two) women making the kissy face at birds? Is this some weird male fantasy I was unaware of?


In the dog house building one, does it say something in Japanese on it? Am I wrong in supposing that perhaps this is a hidden political cartoon about US internment of Japanese citizens duing WWII, cleverly disguised as light titillation?

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