Gypsy Creams

A box of old magazines, a scanner, and some server space.
Gypsy Creams is lovingly scanned and written by Tanya Jones.

Fynnon Salt

Woman / 25 December 1965

Godfrey Winn is a name almost forgotten today, but thanks to the wonders of Wikipedia, I’m able to tell you that he was a respected war journalist, actor and author. However, at this point, Winn was a much-loved columnist, writing for women, and this advert clearly shows him in this role.

Two things clearly leap out at me from this ad copy; that being in your 40s was considered vaguely shameful for women back then, whereas the stigma is considerably reduced nowadays, and that her appearance is much older than would be expected of someone her age now. Not only does she LOOK older than she is by modern standards, but her description of her ‘rheumatism’ is akin to something I might expect from someone at least 20 years older than her. Getting older in the 1960s does sound a little like Logan’s Run, but it’s important to realise that life expectancy for women when Mrs Baker was born was around 60, so perhaps it’s not that surprising that her attitude might be one of a woman approaching old age.

I’ve put rheumatism in quotes for a reason, as Fynnon Salt, from what I can gather online, is another name for Epsom Salts, still sold today as a treatment for aching muscles, and rheumatism is nowadays recognised as an umbrella term for various muscular aches. Given the description of her job and her age, I would expect Mrs Baker to experience pain in her legs, but the attitude in the advert suggests that this is an actual condition, rather than a normal reaction to fatigue. Plenty has been written about the ‘medicalisation’ of human pain, and it continues to be a controversial and complicated subject, but this seems to typify a common attitude of the time, where normal pain is seen as something wrong with the person, rather than the pressures they are subject to.

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Gay Nylons

Woman's Realm / 15 July 1961

Well, indeed. I think I’m most amused by the drag queen aesthetic here, although it probably wasn’t intended at the time, but it strikes me that I don’t see as many adverts nowadays expressing this level of joy. Perhaps I’m just a jaded modern gal.

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Kleinerts

Woman's Realm / 15 July 1961

These appear to be ‘Pull-up’ pants for teenage girls, so I’m not all that surprised that they didn’t become popular. I suspect part of the failure might be the ‘fleecenap’ that’s meant to absorb menses, although I can’t say for sure how it measured up against other sanitary alternatives of the time. Another attempt was made a few years later in the shape of Nikini, but the failure of this product suggests that, amazingly, not all women are made to the same shape and size, and so they’re better off deciding for themselves exactly where their sanitary protection should sit. A secondary reason why this kind of product isn’t likely to be making a comeback is the loss of social stigma around tampons, and even the reputation of menstrual cups is changing from being too ‘hippy’, due to some canny advertising praising their ecologically-friendly credentials.

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Be a better mother: drink milk!

Woman's Realm / 15 July 1961

It’s interesting that you see an advert for a non-branded foodstuff such as milk in this era without seeing a Marketing Board endorsing it, but I suspect the Milk Marketing Board was responsible for this piece of emotional blackmail.

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Groovy Knits

Woman / 25 December 1965

This is fab, man. That black and white top is too much!

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Oskar Werner and the Dave Clark Five

Woman / 25 December 1965

Oskar Werner was hitting his peak here, which may explain Margaret Hinxman practically wetting her knickers in this interview. There’s not much about Margaret herself online, although her books are still on sale, but the reference to her here, lifted from Richard Burton’s diaries, is rather funny.

I have several friends who enjoy nursing a hatred of Dave Clark from the Dave Clark Five, so the bottom item is for them. Enjoy.

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Why Do People Hurt Each Other So?

Woman / 25 December 1965

Aha! A problem page! Although Evelyn Home was compassionate by the standards of the famous Mary Marryat, the advice here is both bad by its own standards, and, understandably, compromised by her inability to discuss homosexuality frankly, which wouldn’t be legalised between men for a further two years.

Although I can understand her urging to the writer of the featured letter to ‘forget’ her friend (a sexless affair, it seems), there was really nothing stopping him getting in touch to tell her what was happening, apart from, I suspect, a childish inability to deal with both his and her emotions. But of course, there wouldn’t have been the counselling services to help her deal with her understandable sadness, and so Evelyn could do nothing but urge her to push her feelings away, leading this poor woman to run the risk of becoming divorced from them entirely. What a sad situation.

Evelyn does redeem herself when advising a woman failing to cope with the idea of having a son-in-law with a different skin colour to her, and giving a woman who has developed a crush outside marriage permission to recognise her own sexuality. However, there’s an awful lot of avoidance here, and I recognise this attitude in older members of my family. I’m relieved that we can be franker about sex and more open to recommend talking about problems nowadays.

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Scandinavian Fashion

Woman / 25 December 1965

A rather lovely feature on Scandinavian fashion and customs, including a mention of Shetland, traditionally a link between Scotland and Scandinavia. I’m not sure what happened to the Norwegian lessons, though…

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Too Much Bother?

Woman / 25 December 1965

I can only presume that this campaign was in response to consumer research, but I must admit that I’m puzzled. Surely, if you’re already being kept up by a bunged-up kid, rubbing some Vicks on their chest isn’t THAT much of a hardship?

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Cossack Vodka

Woman / 25 December 1965

I think we can probably tell that we’re in the era of Babycham being an acceptable drink for women, with stout if it was decided you needed the iron. What is interesting is that vodka, if anything, is seen much more as a drink for women and young men nowadays, which I guess is progress, even if there’s a hint that vodka’s a good way to drink without imbibing too many calories. Still, there’s some fascinating serving suggestions here, including the now everyday ‘vodka with coke’, so bottoms up!

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