What Makes Flipping the Bird So Punk

Flipping the bird, the single-digit salute, giving the finger or flipping someone off—no matter how you phrase it, the gesture is the same. Middle finger extended to the sky with the other digits in flexion or converted into a gnarled claw. Flipping the bird is often regarded as a symbolic act of defiance, disdain and rebellion. It has been ingrained into the psyche of punk rock and pop culture for a long time. Ignoring the fact that the ancient meaning of the gesture was slightly more nefarious and offensive, we now see celebrities jumping on the middle finger bandwagon.

It seems as though no one is interested in subtlety or hiding their disdain anymore. Either that or there is some street cred and perceived edginess behind the act. But I digress. It is a way of defining yourself as someone that “doesn’t give a F✱CK!” and that’s not always a bad thing. While we often look up to the people that break from the pack and march the beat of their own drum. There is a certain degree of bravery in going against the norms to forge your own path. This is where the “pretty bird” punk damask patterning makes the most sense—it is a way of saying I forge my own path, haters be damned!

Punk Damask as a Form of Nonconformity in a Traditional Medium

Damask has deep connections with decadence and the exotic. Before the industrial revolution, people sought unique damask patterns to help define their aesthetic. A modern equivalent to finding these unique fabric patterns would be discovering underground music. It could also equate to seeking out burgeoning fashion designers and creating your aesthetic that refuses to conform to popularity. Nonconformity is a very punk tenet. After all, “variety is the spice of life.” Flipping the bird, even a pretty one, on conformity and banality is living life with a punk rock edge. So be a flipping pretty bird, and let that damask pattern fly.

If you liked this article you might like previous articles in this series like Damask for the Masses Part I and Damask for the Masses Part II.

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