Pin-up girl tattoos, aka pin-up tattoos are tattoo designs that use a sexy girl or women as the subject of the tattoo design. Pin-up tattoos are considered to be “old school” – that is, a classic American tattoo style that was popular before and during the Second World War.
Oo-la-la! Ladies in Ink
Pin-up girl tattoos are based on pin-up girl posters. These first became popular in the 1890s, as men’s magazines began to feature a photo of a scantily clad woman in the centerfold. The women were usually actresses or models who had caught the public’s attention and adoration. They were often posed in a seductive way, pouting and batting their eyelids. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, such images were considered risque by some people and downright crude by the more conservative types.
Pin-up girl pictures and tattoos were especially popular during the First and Second World Wars. Soldiers, Marines and other military fighters would get a tattoo of a pin-up before leaving for the war as a reminder of what they were fighting for. Often these pin-up girl tattoos would resemble a girlfriend, wife or a favorite actress.
Pin-up Girl Tattoos are Seductive Skin Art
The models and actresses who posed for pin-up photos and illustrations wore full make-up and cosmetic aids such as false eyelashes and fake beauty spots. Bright red lipstick and smokey eye shadow were desirable features of pin-up girl attire, and the girls sported perfect hairstyles. Pin-up girls were the embodiment of the desires of men during the first half of the 20th century.
In the western world, opinions about women were changing rapidly. The feminist movement was born in the late 19th century, a time in which women fought for the right to work, choose their marriage partners and decide for themselves whether to bear children or not. Women were suddenly speaking out and acting out. The hemline of woman’s skirts, which had always been floor-length, rose suddenly to be knee-length by 1920. Hundreds of years of beliefs about women were suddenly called into question, and men began to be fascinated by the world of women that they had previously not seen. Pin-up girl pictures often caught women in their underwear, in the act of dressing, bathing or styling their hair. Men were suddenly fascinated by the private lives of women.
Tattoos of girls in parodies of men’s attire become popular, especially military and naval uniforms. The costumes worn by the girls were appealing because of the way that the male outfits and uniforms had been transformed to be sexy and feminine. As the hemline became higher and higher during the 20th century, pin-up girls costumes became smaller and more seductive, revealing yet more flesh to the viewer.
Sexy Pin-up Tattoos Return to Skin
Pin-up tattoo designs have always been popular, though there was a decline in their popularity during the 80s and 90s. This may be because the western world’s armies, the home of pin-up tattoos, were mostly at peace. The recent wars in the East have given rise to a pin-up tattoo renaissance, especially among martial men. Modern pin-up girl tattoo designs are based on images of modern actresses, models and singers. These tend to be far more revealing and sexual in nature than old school or classic pin-up girls.
Many modern pin-up tattoos are based on old school characters, such as a the heroines of comic books from the 1950s and 1960s. Catwoman and Wonder Woman are two examples of these. The main difference between these modern cartoon pin-up tattoos and their vintage counterparts is the size of their costume.
Pin-up girl tattoos have become very popular with modern girls and women. These designs are a symbol of femininity and old fashioned ideals. Vintage styles are making a come back, especially the red lipstick and smoky eyes that were popular in the 1950s. As girls begin to wear this vintage chic, they have begun to express their love for this era through tattoo designs of women from the mid-20th century.