Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Culture soup – why Dags aren’t Bogans.


Symmetry by Donna Williams www.donnawilliams.net There’s a lot of controversy about what a dag is and many people mistakenly confuse Dags with Bogans. Bogans are Bogans. Dags are Dags. Just as some Geeks are Trekkies (but not all), and some Goths and Punks are also Emos (but certainly not all) some Dags are also Bogans but most Bogans don’t qualify as Dags. Lost? Then read on and it’ll become clear as mud.

Dags are like geeks without computers and a good dose of silliness and ability to laugh at themselves. Originally a word meaning the poo left dangling from a sheep’s butt, the word dag in colloquial Aussie English means someone who doesn’t buy into fashion nor the conformist-nonconformity of prescribed styles of rebellion and is hopelessly resigned to being themselves.

Dags are often mistaken for Bogans. But dags aren’t about bravado, they’re not the slovenly couch potato. They’re not walking apathy or loud mouths with four letter vocabs with interests limited to sex, drugs and alcohol. That’s the Bogan. Bogans are not idiosyncratic and many Bogans may fit the Leisurely personality trait which craves the freedom to do as they please and has a distaste for compulsory activity.

Dags are in a class all of their own. Dags are about individuality not laziness and many would fit the Idiosyncratic personality trait which is more than having a natural aversion to forced conformity and a love of non-conformity. The true idiosyncratic is so good at having a ‘world of their own’ that they generally struggle to notice what the social majority are doing. In other words they can’t be bothered rebelling, they generally just dag along on their own track.

Dags can have style and usually do, but unlike Bogons, a dag’s style isn’t by necessity slovenly.

Dags are the kids who put their frilly underpants on their head as a fancy hat with ear holes. They’re the ones who put their jumpers on as wooly trousers and wouldn’t be ashamed to turn a spare pair of socks into gloves if they were cold.

Dags often accidentally set off styles (Bogans generally don’t). But a dags style is probably not a mainstream or alternative style out of a magazine or off a TV show. In other words dags are idiosyncratic. And dags are amusing just by being themselves. They’re fun loving, naturally silly and their dagdom makes them so real and likeable we all feel like we ‘know them’.

Joan Cusack, Gina Davis, Rachel Griffiths and Julie Walters have all played loveable dags. In Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe plays the geek but Rupert Grint plays the affable dag. Bill Oddie, Steve Irwin, Eric Idle and Spike Milligan have all played ‘the dag’. The character Ugly Betty portrays a dag. Too often in film dags are unfortunately portrayed as ‘lost’ in need to being helped out of being a dag so they can be accepted into the mainstream heirachy, akin to the ‘ugly duckling’ myth.
I consider the term dag to be a compliment and find daggy friends to be of the highest caliber one can surround oneself with.

It takes a bold person to abandon embarrassment in order to have the freedom to simply be oneself.

There is no place for heirachy in the dag’s world but there is many a dag queen who has excelled in being themselves regardless of being that square peg in a round hole and the never ending hard sell of pigeon-hole-style personality transplants on offer and the unrelenting social con to buy into one or perish. That being said, for those proud to admit their dagdom, here’s an invitation to my ‘dag shop’.

Dag on.


Donna Williams *)