Gypsy Creams

Woman Archive

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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Ugly Duckling

Woman / 25 December 1965

Now don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not against makeovers per se, and I’m a great believer in enhancing your best features, but *honestly*, this poor young woman.

Obviously, with this being the 1960s, the ability of this woman to get ‘boys’ to notice her is all-important, and naturally, poor Paulene had to ‘admit’ that her eyebrows were bushy (gasp!), leading Woman to advise her on a plucking method that would give her the least unnecessary pain. We’re also taken through a make-up routine to bring out her ‘latent prettiness’, which raises an interesting question; what does that actually *look* like?

The new hairstyle is quite something, too; a perfectly reasonable bob is turned into something more suited to a member of the Household Cavalry. In fact, I’m reminded of the makeover that poor Kate Middleton was subjected to when she became the Duchess of Cambridge. Still, now she’s getting admiring leers from her male co-workers, she’ll soon be able to bury any ambitions she might have had and get married. Thanks, Woman!

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VG Foodstores

Woman / 17th August 1973

I thought we’d leap 8 years into the future from the last post, and wallow in VG Foodstores nostalgia. My mum was a fan of ‘Waistline’ salad cream, as she was perpetually on a diet. Check out the ’70s diet, though; chopped ham, baked beans, and not a vegetable in sight! Although convenience stores still sell a lot of this stuff, they also have pretensions towards being greengrocers, a consequence of public worries over health and the demise of the traditional greengrocer.

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What’s Gone Wrong With My World?

Woman / 23rd December 1967

Here’s a treat: Marje Proops’ “Counselling in-the Round”. We’ve come in at the middle, as sadly I don’t have the issues either side of this one, but this is clearly something more ambitious than a problem page. Marje Proops’ advice is, in my view, spot on. This seems to be a classic case of what happens when a society insists marriage must accompany sex: two people get hitched whilst still riding on a wave of lust, and, as Marje says, either grow to love each other, or things turn sour soon after.

I hope this couple came to understand each other a little better as a result of this, especially as it’s hinted that the ‘other man’ isn’t really interested in sweeping this woman off her feet. Although this is clearly a bit of a sad case, it’s also a fascinating glimpse of a time when your attitude to BBC Two was an accurate marker of your class, and when those class distinctions actually mattered. Of course, there are still socio-economic groups in British society, and although the gap between the rich and poor is wider nowadays than it was even in 1967, there does seem to be a more fluid definition of class for the people in the middle, with fewer real markers of where you fit.

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Quick Work!

Woman / 23rd December 1967

Isn’t this dress FAB? And I know at least two friends of mine that would love to make it.

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A Right to Live?

Woman / 17th August 1973

This is a well-argued article on euthanasia, which shows us how long the debate has been going on for, and although I think Diana Norman’s argument isn’t that helpful for degenerative conditions, it’s nice to see such a thoughtful piece in a woman’s magazine. Also, it’s a real shock to see the reference to ‘woman’s new freedom’ at the end of the article, at a time when my mother would have been around my age. We haven’t come quite as far as we think we have…

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Never ask a lady…

Woman / 17th August 1973

I picked this page because of the piece about dates of birth not being obligatory to open a National Savings account: for foreign readers, National Savings is the bank of the UK’s Treasury, offering investors a variety of savings and investments, all backed by the UK government, which, along with the US government, is just about as safe as you can get. The old saying about it being rude to ask a lady her age still holds a certain sway here, but I can’t imagine any woman of my generation being so neurotic about it that it stops her from opening a savings account. I also doubt very much that anyone’s allowed to withhold that information now, given the much larger volumes of data that are held about citizens nowadays. It’s a bit scary, really.

This isn’t the only thing to make this page interesting, though. There’s a great discussion around what motivates people to own shares, which is still relevant today, although the prejudices will of course be different. Not only that, but it seems that mortgages have always been a bit of a minefield when it comes to selling finance: the endowment policies that this article seems to praise also ran into trouble in the mid 1990s, due to the low inflation in the UK during this period, but were still sold to customers, causing a mis-selling scandal. Knowledge is power, people.

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The Chairmobile

Woman / 17th August 1973

It may have been designed by Lord Snowdon, but there’s a good reason why you can’t get the Chairmobile today: it quite clearly doesn’t work. Granny may think it a terrific wheeze to go to the shops in her armchair, but heaven help her when she finds the first uneven pavement on the way.

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