Back in the day, pinup models donned their victory rolls to boost wartime spirits. Now, they do it to advocate for a much-maligned dog breed. Deirdre Franklin, the founder of Pinups for Pitbulls, explains how a burlesque hobby evolved into a life-saving non-profit.
We all know the pinup aesthetic: a glamorous, rosy-cheeked woman standing — or lounging — confidently and alluringly, giving a wide smile or sly pout to the camera. The classic pinup style popped up in the 1940s, when the “victory roll” hairstyle gained momentum; artwork of pinups would decorate World War II barracks, ships, submarines, and fighter planes. Burlesque, a fashion and dance style that has been around in varying forms since the 1840s, similarly took on new shapes in the mid-1900s. Today, pinup and burlesque are often celebrated for their body-positivity and self-confidence messages.
Deirdre Franklin, a lifelong dog-lover, found herself part of the burlesque community in the “MySpace era,” and she rapidly gained a fan base for her creative costumes. When she funded her animal advocacy efforts using donations from her burlesque fans, she realized she could combine her love of animals and dress-up into one productive, thrilling project: Pinups for Pitbulls, an organization that makes pinup-style calendar that raises money and awareness for Pitbull protections. Today, Pinups for Pitbulls is made up of a team of volunteers in over 20 states and saves 1,000 dogs annually. They have overturned breed bans, adopted out Pit Bulls, and changed countless peoples’ biases about Pit Bulls.