Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey has been many things during its decades-long run. It's been a comic strip which celebrated patriotism, individuality, and even the power of friendship. But it's not a comic strip which could ever be considered politically correct, at least when it comes to gender relations.
Sexism in the strip is embodied most magnificently by the bountiful Miss Buxley, the often-harassed secretary of the sometimes oafish General Halftrack. In the offhand manner often displayed in earlier eras, the notion of a woman-chasing, tit-gazing boss is the source of laughter and his hapless buffoonery at attempting to lure a fetching damsel like Buxley is ludicrous. But times change.
Mort Walker for his part has always been an artist, typical of his generation who drew women as the distant allure. In the pages of Beetle Bailey, we have a cadre of soldiers who are in a relatively woman-starved environment, so most of their attention is immediately directed to the buxom Buxley.
|(Miss Buxley's Debut in 1971)|
It's at once a picture of the real world both for good and ill. That said, the folks in the Europe sure saw the attraction of Buxley and in the Scandinavian comic Billy which is the name Beetle travels under in those northern realms, Miss Buxley is often the focus of the covers. I've featured them here from time to time, but the passing of Mort Walker inspired me to gather up a goodly number. Here the are in all their splendid sexist glory. My mother would be ashamed, but I'm sure Mort is proud.
And to close out this...ahem...look at the bountiful Miss Buxley, here is another by Mort Walker himself. Buxley in the buff is everything we imagined, but then she always is. At some gutteral level that's girl power at its most fundamental and most potent alas.
Regular and more polite programming will pick back up tomorrow.