Warring Images: The Missing Chapter

Pin up imageThis chapter, which covers the 1940s, was cut from Fresh Lipstick for length considerations. Though I incorporated some of the material—on kinship and on the postwar lesbian subculture—into the chapters on the 1930s and 1950s, much of potential value and interest was left completely out. In this chapter, I discuss subjects ranging from pinups to Latina movie stars to women war workers while exploring questions of work, sexuality, and kinship. The images mentioned are not included right now because I am working on permissions while the website in under construction. –LMS

A slew of images showing women in uniform or working in defense plants appeared in the pages of the women’s magazines during World War II. After having to push for active roles in the Civil War and the Great War, females were actively recruited for jobs that ran nearly the full range of “masculine” employment, civilian and military, during the 1940s. Yet, in spite of the heroic images of women in nontraditional roles, a new genre of titillating sexual images, “pin-ups,” also emerged during that decade. Having appeared first in men’s magazines like Esquire and Police Gazette, these pictures were adapted to propagandize the war effort among soldiers. Pin-ups became so popular they eventually made their way into the pages of the women’s magazines in ads for everything from face cream to corn removers. Images of women operating heavy machinery or wearing crisp uniforms ran in Vogue and The Ladies’ Home Journal, alongside air-brushed women in scanty clothes and impossible poses.

Read the rest of the chapter here.