Pin-up grrrls craft version of new, stylized sexuality

'Suicide Girls' puts the pin-up portrayals of women in the hands of some strong women.
‘Suicide Girls’ puts the pin-up portrayals of women in the hands of some strong women.

Book: ‘SuicideGirls‘ by Missy Suicide, Feral House, 156 pages, hardcover


Imagine the girls your mother warned you about — then picture them resplendent with tattoos, piercings and enough attitude to make most matriarchs swoon with repressed jealousy.

'SuicideGirls' by Missy Suicide, editor
‘SuicideGirls’ by Missy Suicide, editor

That’s the world Missy Suicide has created in “SuicideGirls,” the book version of the wildly successful and wicked website featuring the indie sexuality of alt-divas.

Katie, a 20-year-old Los Angeles office manager, sports a full-color tattoo of Jack Nicholson’s character from “The Shining.” Lux, 22, a Portland, Ore., performance artist, sports ink of twin snakes intertwining up her torso.

This is what Playboy might look like if Courtney Love were editor-in-chief.

Each photograph and self-portrait depicts a stylized, in-your-face approach to sexuality and self, and it’s evident that none of these girls care what you might think of them: They’re doing it as part of a process of expression and making up their own rules in the process.

“These girls, I thought, could be the new Pin-Up girls, each with their own ferociously unique style and outlook,” writes photography editor Missy Suicide of the post-punk scene at Portland’s Pioneer Square that gave rise to the concept that ideals of femininity and beauty are now as divergent and independent as the women themselves.

Her impetus became the driving force behild the pin-up grrrl site,, the 2-year-old site that has nearly doubled its membership since the book’s publication in September 2004.

Part of the book’s charm comes from its straightforward and unvarnished photographic approach. There’s no fancy studio lighting, no diffusers or star filters to create that 1970s porn feel — in fact, while several of the images would certainly earn an R-rating for a Hollywood film, few of them are blantantly prurient.

Refreshingly absent from the collection of images in “SuicideGirls” are also many of the now-trite poses commonly found in gentlemen’s magazines. But then, the book isn’t exactly geared toward gents, anyway.