Jokes and Gender, 1947

Akbaba, January 1947
-How's the new lighter that I got?
-Like you... with five or six strikes it barely lights!

For the most part, Akbaba seems to be a magazine for and of men - scanning its pages, I've lost count of the number of times in which a buxom woman in a short dress is the object of some kind of male attention. But, as this cartoon suggests, reading Akbaba in that way might not be so straightforward. After all, it's the woman who teases the man here. Visually, we might also notice the way it's her body that defines the cartoon; his body is almost an afterthought (compare, for example, to the cover from 1938)

I don't know enough about Turkish gender politics in the 1940s to say much else about the comic - there are all sorts of questions about sexuality (your lighter, my dead, doesn't spark), about dress (the woman's dress and stockings, a kind of over-the-top modernity), and about consumption (a modern, middle-class home, but what's the history of çakmakı in Turkey?) that we might begin to ask.


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