Most people hear "pinup" and think long hair, red lipstick, and for most the part, women. But what's to say that men can't have that, too? Or perhaps find a style within the 1950s that fits within societal gender norms?
We had four men from BuzzFeed destroy the preconceived notion that playing dress ups and feeling "sexy" is something that only women enjoy or seek. We went to Sherbet Birdie's Pinup Photography studio in Sydney to see what they could muster up, where we learned far more about ourselves than ever anticipated.
When I was first asked about doing the shoot I felt a mixture of emotions - nerves, excitement, apprehension. For me, the only idea of pin up I had was 1950s style and women. I never really considered it as something a man would do.
Generally, it feels very much like society says that women desire to feel attractive and that men don't really care. But I don't think that's necessarily the case. Every morning you wake up and get yourself ready in the "armour" you feel will prepare you best for the day. I think everyone does this, regardless of gender, and wants to feel attractive or desirable (even if it's just for yourself.)
Look, I'll probably never put on make up on a day to day basis (I'm too lazy), but seeing myself made up for the shoot did give me a better understanding as to why anyone chooses to wear make up - it's mostly for yourself. Seeing the change in attitude/personality of all the pinups once the transformation was complete was fascinating because it really highlighted how we all put on some kind of facade to tackle each day.
When I was first asked to be in a pinup shoot, I immediately conjured up images of women during wartime and men with their polished shoes and tailored clothes, looking flawless. I didn't know what was going to happen to me, though.
The character I was transformed into was a lot of fun and I really got into it. I was able to leave some of my daily hang ups and just be someone else. I felt great about myself. I felt confident, and assumed a character that I would never normally associate myself with.
After having done this, I think that it's a great thing for men to try out. Men love to be someone else, just as much as women do. Men love to feel attractive and be pampered, and why not? I think that people shouldn't knock it till they try it.
When I heard the words 'pinup model' I immediately distance myself from that sort of thing, so it was fair to say that walking into the studio I was completely out of my comfort zone. I felt like I wasn't good enough for it.
I thought the classic, retro look - red lips, black hair, perfect makeup. I now understand that it extends very much to males as well. It's all inclusive and proved to me that fashion and beauty is never defined by gender.
It sounds very cliched, but if I could do it, I think anyone can and should. Especially if, like me, you're not confident in your appearance. Let it go and have fun... let what makes you unique shine through, no matter your colour, size or shape!
The experience further highlighted for me how much fashion is used to define gender (e.g. most public restrooms use pants and skirts to designate genders), and also that we define ourselves according to social traditions more than we realise.
I feel like men desire to feel and look attractive but perhaps some men aren't comfortable to admit that or feel like they don't have as many established tools for expressing themselves physically as women do. There are certainly tons of men who spend more time thinking about their look than many women do, and vice versa.
Clothes, hair, makeup. They're not really for other people. They're for you. So you can chose how you want to define them in any way.