Wednesday, 27 February 2008

84: Dave Berg - Fashion

Dave Berg in “Mad” October 1968

There are a moderate amount of gags at the end of the 60s about fashion and gender – deriving either from the trend for unisex clothing or the trend for men to have long hair. Gags about hair are usually some sort of variant on a spectator asking how do you tell the boys from the girls. Gags about unisex clothing usually come down to some sort of argument/agreement as to who wears what which day. These gags usually express the older generation’s slight anxiety about the disintegration of the firm rules about performance of sexual roles. What they usually never even faintly touch is even the slightest hint of fagginess. Boys may look more like girls, but its not because they’re actually effeminate or sexually desire other men. Berg’s older beatnik/rebel in the first the three panels offers reasons for his expression of self through fashion, however the reveal in the final panel of the cinched waist, the hands on hips, the wrist bangles, the earring and the suddenly more stylised twirled moustache gives him more the air of a hairdresser than a campus hippy.

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