We all see those two words thrown around all the time. Pinup… Rockabilly, but have you ever wondered what the difference between the two is? If there is even one?
First a bit of history for all those that like to get all the technicalities out of the wayJ. Rockabilly emerged in the late 30’s early 40’s and began gaining popularity in the 1950’s. Technically it isn’t a style it’s a genre of music. Actually it’s one of the earlier styles of rock n’ roll that blends hillbilly (which at the time was an offensive term), boogie woogie, and rock n’ roll of course. Some of the more popularly known rockabilly artist would be Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bill Haley and His Comets who recorded ‘Rock Around The Clock’. Initially Rockabilly had a lot of negative connotations and was received poorly by not only older and northern Americans but musicians alike. Around the 1960’s Rockabilly music began to die out, so though it had a big impact on American culture it really wasn’t around for very long at least in popular culture. However Rockabilly music did experience resurgences off and on in 1980 and again in the early 1990’s with groups like The Cramps, The Polecats, and Los Lobos.
When you talk about Pinup it gets a little tricky. If you want to know when the term Pinup Girl or Pinup was coined? That would be 1941… essentially a Pinup was a model who’s mass produced photos, postcards, drawings, posters, etc… could be found ‘pined up’ on a wall or wherever. Even though the term Pinup didn’t come about until ’41 we know that women have been posing for this genre of photography since as early as the 1890’s. As before with Rockabilly originally Pinup had nothing to do with a clothing style or subculture instead it referred strictly to a style of photography and the models that posed for them. Some of the more famous Pinup models include Josephine Baker, Joi Lansing and of course the fabulous Bettie Page. Over the years Pinup has always been controversial, it consistently challenged societies views on the role of the women, and challenged women themselves as they argued over what effect these images had on not only society but on themselves.
Whew *wipes forearm across brow* well we’ve got the history lesson out of the way, and the truth is being a history major I just couldn’t help myselfJ. Okay moving on… the Essence of Rockabilly and Pinup are still alive but now-a-days it’s safe to say that they do have double meanings.
Today Rockabilly no longer simply refers to music but an entire subculture is the easiest way to explain it. Now-a-days music and style seems to run so closely together and if you pay attention you notice (of course this doesn’t go for everyone) that people that listen to the same music i.e. hip hop, rock, tend to dress alike and also like similar things. The same thing goes for people that enjoy Rockabilly music. Because the genre came about in the ‘50’s it makes sense that the people that enjoy the music would enjoy not only the culture of that era but the fashions as well.
Pinup it tends to have a double meaning now. The original meaning still stands there some great traditional modern pinups today such as Angelique Noire, Cherry Dollface, and Doris Mayday. In addition to the traditional meaning a Pinup is also known as a woman that dresses strictly vintage usually the 40 -60’s eras but a Pinup goes for a more glam look.
In reference to whether there’s a difference between Rockabilly and Pinup…well in the end there’s not. The lines between Pinup and Rockabilly cross and blur so much until they are nearly indistinguishable. I think the stereotypical misconception is that when you think Rockabilly you think Leather jacket, white-tee, and cuffed jeans. Whereas the stereotype for Pinup tends to be the black wiggle dress, red lips and Maryjanes. But all us Dolls know these are just what they are, Stereotypes. They are the rare days when I want to be casual and wear my button down shirt and high-waisted pants, then the days I want to bust out that wiggle dress, or off the shoulder top to show off the tattoos. The point is in the end Pinup is Rockabilly and Rockabilly is Pinup, yes they are actual terms with meanings but style wise…they go hand in hand. And more importantly it’s what you want it to be.
FASHIONABLY SPEAKING THAT IS…Joie Cuentista