I love Pinup culture, and pinup style. On the daily you can find me me with thick black winged eyeliner, red lips, and extremely teased hair. I dress in a collection of vintage dresses, and PUG dresses of course, most of the time. So when an event comes up that allows me to go all out, and show off my pinup style 100% and have it be appreciated, I jump at it. Some events that have been popping up are "pinup contests." I have only participated in 2, as I am not sure how I feel about them, some are truly legit, and some seem to be just a reason for some creepy man, to make inappropriate comments and man handle the girls participating.
Yesterday, I found myself in the latter of the two types of contests. I did my research, and it had legit sponsors, and really good prizes so I thought it would be a good one. I was wrong. The host was some guy who hosts some car show on some random cable network, who really thought he was somebody, even though I had never heard his name or seen his face before in my life. Girls were called up the stage stairs by what they were wearing, "tight red shirt, get up here", he would say, then he would immediately grab us around the waist and make some sort of inappropriate, comment. He told one girl who was a nurse, that he would like to get a "sponge bath from her later.' There were no judges with judging criteria for the contest, no one made note of the quality and effort the girls put in to their fashion choices, or how intricate their hair-do was, or how flawless their makeup was. Girls were not interviewed more than just saying their name and where they were from, and at which point the Cable TV Star would make fun of their hometown. The more I replay the experience in my mind, the more disappointed I become. I know the people who organized the event had not intended it to go this way, it was meant to be a fun, uplifting experience... the hosting just went terribly wrong.
My first experience was much better. That contest had a panel of female judges, interviews, a set list of judging criteria, and most of all a host who respected the women who put themselves out there and got up on stage. I would like to participate in another contest like this one, but I am afraid that many are like the one I experienced yesterday. The truth is I really enjoy getting up on a stage and having an opportunity to talk about why I love pin-up style, and to tell the story of how I found the vintage dress I chose to wear, or the amazing American, women-ran and owned company that made my outfit. Some contests can be empowering for women and pinup culture, and some are just sadly an objectifying spectacle that demeans women.
In the future, before signing up for another one of these contests I am going to ask these questions, you might want to do the same before participating in one yourself. #1-Who is the host? Is it someone who knows and respects pinup style and pinup culture? #2 How is the contest judged? Is there a panel of judges with certain criteria they are looking for, are the judges male or female ? #3 What is the content of the show? Will the girls be interviewed or get to show off a talent? I think by researching and finding the answer to these things, it will be easier to discern if participating in a particular pinup contest is a good or bad idea.