X-rayted pinup

By Phil Plait | June 21, 2010 12:00 pm

What’s more naked than naked?



That picture is one of a dozen making up an unusual — to say the least! — pinup calendar. It was put together for EIZO, a monitor manufacturer; their equipment is used to display high-resolution medical displays… like radiographs. So it’s clever, and apropos.

I had to laugh when I saw them. I’m more of a WWII-style pinup kinda guy, but these are really funny. But as I looked at them more, I started to think more deeply about them.

First, I’m not overly concerned with discussing any potential sexism involved with these images; if you think calendars are sexist this won’t add to the fire or stanch any of those feelings. So either you think they’re sexist or you don’t; let’s agree to that and move on to a more interesting aspect of them.

Are they racy?

And I don’t mean sexy, I mean racy. Sexy is one thing, but racy implies a bit of a wink-wink, a little bit of naughtiness. If you find these sexy, that’s your business, and I have no bone to pick with you.

eizo_skullBut seriously, would someone consider these to be racy pictures? I can think of arguments for and against. In many of the pictures, you can see a hint of flesh, and in many cases those particular body parts are considered to be, um, secondary sexual characteristics — and as is well known by the lingerie industry, hinting at skin can be more interesting than simply exposing it. In a lot of the pictures the model is posed provocatively. In most of them she’s wearing some killer stilettos, which is more of a pinup thing than a medical imaging thing.

On the other hand, these are freaking X-rays.

It’s funny how these things work. There are quite a few triggers that indicate sexuality to a man, including shape — the right curve in the right place. These pictures have that, but only kinda sorta. If it weren’t for the shoes and the poses, in most of these pictures you’d be hard-pressed to know if it were a man or a woman modeling!

And I’ll admit to hesitating before posting a picture from the calendar. I wanted to choose one that was relatively work-safe, and again the presence of the shoes or the pose used in some of them seemed inappropriate, so I chose what I thought was the least likely to invoke those triggers (and my wife agreed). How bizarre! If it were just a skeleton there would be no problem. If it were just the shoes sitting on a table, no problem. But the barest whisper of a breast or a behind together with the footwear and the position does, in my opinion, make these pictures bizarrely racy.

Humans have all sorts of complicated things going on in their brains. I’m curious as to what everyone else thinks about these pictures as well. I know that some people will rail about the sexism, others about the nature of pinups, and so on. But what do you think about the pictures themselves?

eizo_heelsAnd yikes. Check out what stilettos do to your metatarsophalangeal joint between the metatarsal and proximal phalangeal bones! Perhaps one outcome of these pictures is that the next time I see a woman wearing 4 inch heels, this’ll be what I think of.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor
MORE ABOUT: Eizo, pinup, sexism, X-ray

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