Gypsy Creams

Woman Archive

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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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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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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