Farrah Fawcett Swimsuit Remembered, Made Boys Men

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Back in the day, there was no one as sexy as Farrah Fawcett. Now, the red bathing suit that made her an icon is going to be immortalized in the Smithsonian Museum just two years after the actress died in 2009.

Fawcett’s longtime companion Ryan O’Neal plans to donate the suit and other items from Fawcett's collection to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on February 2. The swimsuit was the one made famous by the 1976 poster (on the left) of Fawcett that sold millions of copies and turned many '70s era adolescent boys into men.

Slate writer James Ledbetter wrote of his love for Fawcett just after she died in June 2009:

When she left the show (Charlie's Angels) after the first season, I don’t remember any of my friends watching it any more, and by the time she and Majors split in 1979, the girls I wanted to spend time with had more dimensions than that poster. I imagine for her, the poster was something she wanted desperately to transcend, but for millions of American boys, it was itself a kind of transcendence.

In 2011, we are bombarded with images of celebrities in teeny bikinis. We grew up on the Friends ladies and their constantly hard nipples (was it freezing in there or what?). This poster seems positively tame by comparison.

As far as one pieces go, hers was even demure. It didn't reveal too much thigh or boob. It was an innocent photo by comparison. She is smiling a confident smile and her hair is tousled like she just got out of bed.

The bathing suit will be part of the pop culture collection at the Smithsonian. The collection also includes Kermit the Frog, pieces of the All in the Family set, and (my favorite) Dorothy's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.

And like those items, maybe it will help us remember a more innocent time, a time before porn stars became mainstream, when nipples were still risque. Thirty-four years can pass in the blink of an eye, but in terms of pop culture, it might as well be 34,000 years.

Do you remember this swimsuit? Will you go see it?


Image via Hobo!/Flickr

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