Bunny Yeager was a pinup model and photographer who appeared on TV and in exploitation films, while creating pinups and “art” nudes for Playboy, coffee-table books, and how-to publications. She is currently experiencing a revival as part of a subcultural vogue for 1950s and 1960s Americana. In her images she was often both subject and photographer, and her self-reflexive pictures engage with issues of authorship, control, and the sexualized gaze. This text examines Yeager's portraiture, her instructive writing, her representation in the film Bunny Yeager's Nude Camera (1963), and the way she positioned herself when discussing her work, to demonstrate how she embodied a mode of professional and sexual agency that engaged with broader, progressive ideas pertaining to women's labor and identity circulating in 1960s America as part of feminism's second wave.
Having Her Cheesecake and Eating It: Performance, Professionalism, and the Politics of the Gaze in the Pinup Self-Portraiture of Bunny Yeager
Ellen Wright is VC2020 Lecturer in Cinema and Television History and a member of the CATH centre at De Montfort University, Leicester, England. She has taught film studies, media studies, and photographic theory, and specializes in the representation of femininity in the leisure industries, consumer culture, and broader social contexts, particularly in early Hollywood cinema. Her academic publications include “Betty Grable: An American Icon in Wartime Britain,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 31, no. 4 (2011), and “Spectacular Bodies: The Swimsuit, Sexuality and Hollywood,” special edition on leisure industries, Sport in History 35, no. 3 (2015).
Ellen Wright; Having Her Cheesecake and Eating It: Performance, Professionalism, and the Politics of the Gaze in the Pinup Self-Portraiture of Bunny Yeager. Feminist Media Histories 1 October 2016; 2 (4): 116–142. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2016.2.4.116
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