A while ago, I wrote about Briggite Berman's Hugh Hefner documentary, about how it highlighted a debate between Hef's lecherous man-fans and his well-cinched feminist critics. I suggested that there was a third view Berman missed: that of women who understood the pin-up mentality and how it could work to female power and strength.
Well hang on to your hats, because here comes Pin Up Clinic, whose pin-up calendar release party is at Homespun Bikes Sat/13.
The group has put together a calendar with 12 months worth of alternative lovelies from around the Bay Area, with all proceeds going straight to Women's Community Clinic. Amanda Kennedy, the mastermind behind the project, had inspiration strike her when she was asked if she's like to examine a part of a woman's body that not even Miss August shows off in the calendar.
“The doctor asked me if I wanted to see what my cervix looked like... handed me a mirror and a flash light and had me sit up and take a look at my self. It is a pretty profound experience to see inside your own body like that. The female body is amazing and we don’t get to appreciate ourselves enough,” Kennedy told us of an appointment at Women's Choice Clinic in Oakland in an email to SFBG.
Miss August gets back to school you on what feminism can look like. Photo by Tiffany Black of Blackbird Photo
Later, Kennedy and friends decided that they wanted to give back to the professionals that had done so much to take away the mystery and shame women can feel about their bodies. And what better way to do that then by showing off, in all it's glory, the female form? “The pin up calendar was a way for us each to appreciate ourselves and share it with others,” Kennedy recalls.
So there you have it. Only problem was that the Women's Choice Clinic had closed in the interim, but that didn't stop Kennedy and gang. They elected Women's Community as their back up beneficee because it shared the same empowering philosophy as the first clinic -- as Kennedy puts it “women treating women, which helps to create a safe space for so many people who have had negative experiences with heath care.”
What to say to those that find the concept of pin-up posters demeaning, anti-women productions? “Redefining beauty is important. By controlling our images we get to share our ideas of beauty,” Kennedy tells us. Included in her project are luscious images of kink educator Tina Horn and Lubricated Zine “jack of all trades” Vanessa Jean.
In teaser shots assembled on Pin Up Clinic's website, Vanessa Jean sits and lies in a pile of her self-published creations wearing a torn Ramones tee. The images show her as an actively imagining individual, but there's no denying those flannel-printed boy shorts hug some curves that'd make Hef proud.
“There are so many schools of feminism, some think we should never be sexualized and I understand that,” Kennedy says. “It’s so frustratingly common for people to criticize how a woman looks before they comment on what she is doing. I'm glad that both groups are around, because an important part of feminism is that women should be free to do whatever they want, express themselves to the fullest and stand up for what they believe in.
And who doesn't believe in unembarrassed, convivial reproductive health care? Pin Up Clinic has printed up 1,000 calendars to be snapped up at $15 a pop on their website or at Saturday's party, which will feature live music, a photo booth, and fortune telling.
I predict you'll want to buy one of these for someone on your holiday shopping list, but maybe that's just me hinting that I want one.
Pin Up Clinic's 2011 Calendar Release Party
Sat/13 7 p.m., free with purchase of $15 calendar
494 Wesley, Oakl.