Gypsy Creams

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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