Gender notes: the pinup push

(Dense with references to buttocks and their possible sexual portents, so not to everyone’s taste.)

From The Mary Sue site, “We’re All Kinds Of Obsessed With Nicola Scott’s Nightwing Drawing Highlighting His Assets: Gotham’s ass indeed”, by Kate Gardner on 9/20/19:


(#1) Dick Grayson evolves into pinup-push Nightwing (hat tip to Kim Darnell)

The title says it all. In her latest art depicting DC characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman throughout the years, comics artist Nicola Scott drew the evolution of Nightwing, a.k.a. Dick Grayson, ending with art of him in a pose usually reserved for male artists drawing female characters, and we’re totally obsessed with it. It’s about damn time that men had to push their tush out alongside their female counterparts.

A pose signifying (women’s) sexual availability, with a long history, but especially as made famous by movie star Betty Grable in 1943:


(#2) Betty’s body for the war effort: a photo that graced many a US military locker in World War II

The photo gets its punch from the male gaze, which metonymizes Betty’s buttocks to her sexual organs, her vagina as sexcavity.

What, then, do we make of the powerfully callipygian Nightwing in #2? His buttocks get their punch either from the female gaze, now liberated to objectify them as mere pointers to his primary sexual organs, his genitals; or from the gay male gaze, metonymizing his buttocks to his sexcavity, his anus viewed as a sexual organ. Either way, a man’s body is being treated — uncomfortably to many, especially to men — as nothing more than desirable meat.

The feminist version. From my 8/26/16 posting “Sylvia Sleigh’s male art”:

A follow-up to the last, bonus, section of my posting on Michael Heizer and Lynda Benglis, a section about Sylvia Sleigh and her gaze-reversal paintings:

Around 1970, from feminist principles, she painted a series of works reversing stereotypical artistic themes by featuring nude men in poses that were traditionally associated with women, like the reclining Venus or odalisque.

I’ve now collected images of five of these paintings in a posting on AZBlogX — not only witty, but also sexually arousing and meant to be.

The jokey queer versions. The whole apparatus of traditional cheescake poses has been subjected to playful deconstruction by queer artists — two of them the main subjects of my 5/9/13 posting “Pin-up boys”. First about the Men-Ups! site by Rion Sabean:

A restructuring of the ways in which males are presented in popular media, applying traditional pinup poses that are reserved for the female form, while still presenting the models in ‘masculine’ clothing [and engaged in stereotypically masculine activities].


(#3) A Sabean pinup push

… This is not the first arch send-up of classic pin-up photos and drawings using men. There’s also Paul Richmond’s [drawings of] Cheesecake Boys.


(#4) From the Paul Richmond video “Let’s Draw Cheesecake Boys: Episode One” featuring Gabe Gabriel: another pinup push

… “Each figure is shown in the midst of a revealing and ‘accidental’ wardrobe malfunction, struggling to gather his aplomb and his pants without ever losing his cool,” Richmond told The Huffington Post in an email. “It intrigues me that it was almost exclusively women who were depicted as hapless victims of skin-baring circumstance, such as the pin-up girls by Gil Elvgrin and Art Frahm. Those ladies couldn’t even walk down the street without their skirts blowing up or their underwear falling down — or both!”

The posting continues with more conventionally masculine pin-up boys in homoerotic drawings and photos.

One Response to “Gender notes: the pinup push”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Tim Evanson, this Nightwing montage:

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