Hilda is a character created by Duane Bryers for Bigelow & Brown in the late 50's and drawn until early 70's. She is different from most pin up girls in that she is a little curvier and more realistic looking and she's also just loving life! Hilda is portrayed cycling, swimming, reading, eating, and just generally enjoying herself in comfortable real life poses. She is not precariously positioned, preened and pouting, she is sexy as an imperfect but loveable character.
I first learned about Hilda through a post on Messy Nessy Chic. You can learn more about Hilda at the Toil Girls website.
What really struck me about Hilda though was that she looks so much like me! Or I look like Hilda I guess as she came first. The red hair, the curves, the falling asleep over ice cream sundaes... Rockin' Roy is convinced of the similarity too. She also reads a lot just like me! Plumbing CAN be fun!
Pin-up girls have a long history. The started out as a way of promoting products in that classic 'women are props/accessories' kind of way that society and advertising likes to repeat.
Before the second World War, while pin ups were known more for being sexualised, they were also more fantastical in their artistic portrayal. Things changed in the 40's though and 'girlie' pictures became more about flirty seduction. There have been arguments back and forth since then about how pin-ups clash or combine with feminism. Some argue they represent a freedom from the previous century's repression and a more healthy attitude to women's bodies and their own sexuality, while others maintain they are detrimental due to the nature of objectification associated with them. For my part I think both those things are true because our cultural history is a complicated one. I also believe you can enjoy aspects of popular culture whilst still remaining critical of them because nothing exists in a cultural vacuum.
I think a lot of people today are drawn to pin-up art because some of it very beautifully done and because there is a hue of romanticised nostalgia about it. We know that World War 2 was a hellish nightmare to live through but we still soften the edges when we look at films and fashion magazines from that period. The styles of the last 100 years hold a fascination for us I think partly because of the advent of photography and the development of mass produced clothing. That beautiful photo of a relative from the 50's is so much more enchanting because it's part of our personal identifiable history. As are the Hollywood Golden Era movies and musicals we grew up with from Sunday TV repeats or wherever. There's no doubt that Art Deco designs are still elegant and attractive and that Dior dresses are still divine but no time in history was ever perfect, in fact some were awful which is why fresh innovative design was so important.
Our love of the retro and vintage is entwined with all kinds of history - personal, social and imagined.