Pin Up Girls

Marine with a Pin-Up Girl Picture

Marines on a boat in the Pacific Theater with a pin-up girl picture.

The pin-up girl images were distributed predominantly by Esquire magazine (who employed artist Alberto Vargas to draw the images) through the mail. The troops would pin up the images on barrack walls, hence the name 'pin-up' girl. In this image, a Marine looks at a pin-up girl before his boat lands on an island in the Pacific Theater. These pictures were considered good luck charms by many soldiers and provided entertainment/distraction. 

Yank Magazine Pin-Up Girls

Collage of pin-up girls for Yank Magazine.

Yank magazine was a weekly publication put out by the military for the troops. The magazine regularly included images of pin-up girls, both paintings/drawings and photographs of real women. While the troops would fantasize about these images, women back home would try to emulate them. If this image was what the boys overseas were fighting for, the girls back home wanted to be that image for them. The women wanted to be desired by the returning soldiers, even if this body type was unrealistic for a majority of American women. 

Varga Girl with WAAC Accessories

Varga Girl for Esquire Magazine.

This particular topless Varga Girl image was one that spurred the U.S. Postal Service to file a lawsuit against Esquire magazine to prevent them from mailing lewd material to the public. The Postal Service unanimously lost this case when it went to the Supreme Court, marking a turning point not only for freedom of the press but also for women's sexuality. This ruling made a statement that women's nude bodies were appropriate for public viewing for the first time in American history. This also lead to a boom in the pornography industry in the 1950s. 

Pin Up Girls