Gypsy Creams

“motherhood” Tag

You can’t give a baby Carnation!

Woman's Weekly / 20th March 1965

You really can’t, y’know. The NHS say so. The main problem is that it’s cow’s milk, which shouldn’t be given to a baby under 1 year old, due to it not having the correct nutrients and being difficult for a baby to digest. Formula milk IS cow’s milk, but it’s specially treated so it fits a baby’s needs, which I’m pretty sure is more extensive than the milk being in ‘globules’. So this advert was really rather irresponsible! Horray! I found this fascinating article on weaning whilst researching for this post, which details some hair-raising ideas from the not-so-distant past!

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Baby Burco

Woman's Weekly / 20th March 1965

Ah-ha: the traditional appliances fight back! As regular readers will be aware, we’ve looked at the advent of the washing machine in Britain, and in 1965, there was undoubtedly still a strong market for nappy boilers.

However, the evolution of the washing machine through this period meant that the nappy boiler’s days were numbered even at this point. The development of the disposable nappy throughout the 20th century also played a large part, reaching maturity in the 1980s. Terry nappies are making a comeback nowadays, mainly due to environmental concerns, and, as you may expect with a modern consumer society, are available in far more colours and designs than they were traditionally.

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She’s a man-i-ac…

Woman's Weekly / 23rd May 1969

Horray, it’s Mary Marryat! We’ve had an uneasy relationship with the long standing Woman’s Weekly agony aunt, but she’s not being particularly awful here. Tracking down your adopted children is ethically dubious, and would have been extremely difficult in 1969 anyway. Her advice to ‘Fenella’ (I love that name) and ‘Miss A’ is also sensible. However, it’s the letter to ‘Bernadette’ which raises childish giggles, as well as highlighting the essential conservatism of our Mary. She only views interest in sex as part of marriage, and recommends various hobbies to take Bernadette’s mind off her entirely natural libido. I can’t help but think that the late, great Claire Rayner would have suggested a different, free, form of entertainment…

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Golden Babe

Woman's Realm / 11th March 1967

Well, lookee here. Is this an ad from one of the first disposable nappy brands in the UK? I don’t know about your mum, but mine put traditional terry nappies on me. I’ve probably said this before, but the prospect of my mum boiling nappies was what made my dad put his foot down and demand that they bought a washing machine. Bizarrely, my mum was quite prepared to go through the sort of drudgery that her poor mother had to! Also: a knitted cover?! I think we can work out why disposables didn’t have those for very long!

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Woman's Realm / 18th March 1967

*David Attenborough voice* “Now, here we have a marvellous example of a traditional housewife in the wild: a Llandovery farmhouse, to be precise. Watch her nimble fingers at work as she bakes countless pies for her family, and lovingly lines their arteries with Cookeen.”

Ahem. Cookeen is still around, of course, and appears to have made a comeback, due to cookery programmes encouraging us to get our mixing bowls out. Nowadays, Cookeen is owned by Princes, who are based in the Liver Building in Liverpool, rather than in Kildare House in London. The reason why I bothered looking this up was because the company I work for now occupy Kildare House as one of their many London offices, oddly enough.

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Berlei Teenform

Woman's Realm / 31st March 1967

I’m…not sure where to start with this one. Me and my boyfriend found ourselves writhing around in our seats with discomfort whilst reading the ad, and certainly the language alone is enough to put it in first place in the ‘Adverts Totally Made of Wrong’ category on Gypsy Creams. Actually, I may provide that as a category when the site’s given an overhaul later in the year.

But the language isn’t the only problem (although the ‘Berlei Teenform Littlest Darling’ is enough to distract you from anything else). This ad totally blows out of the water the oft-written about idea that the ‘Tweenage’ market is something new, with the odd name ‘beTweenager’, and the suspicious assertions that teenage girls need Berlei’s special bras. And that’s not all! Berlei have a whole range of girdles to ‘help’ your daughter’s posture. Oddly enough, in a world where girdles are no longer in fashion, we haven’t got young women bent double in the street, possibly because your posture is largely a matter for your core muscle groups, rather than a nylon strait-jacket.

As for the dire warnings that a teenager should NEVER wear an adult bra: well, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of evidence to support this. I do remember reading a recommendation in a teenage magazine that girls shouldn’t wear an underwired bra until their breasts are fully grown, but I started wearing underwires from 14ish, and mine don’t seem to be an abnormal shape. In fact, the wide variance in size and shape of breasts suggests that there isn’t really that well defined a ‘norm’ to deviate from anyway, and there certainly doesn’t seem to be any evidence that there’s any connection between bras and breast cancer either.

So Berlei seem to have cooked up some copy here that The Daily Mail would be proud of: full of unsubstantiated assertions, scaremongering and of, frankly, a rather worrying tone. I must apologise for any nausea that results from reading this advert.

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Bloody kids!

Woman's Realm / 6th October 1967

Apart from the comedy value in the copy here, this is an interesting change of approach from Sanatogen: empathetic rather than condemnatory, as in this ad from 10 years previously. It also gives the lie to the common complaint that children are more trouble than they used to be, because this isn’t how the advertising industry would talk about children nowadays. And yes, this is yet another excuse for women to get drunk, dressed up as a medicinal preparation. We’ve been here before.

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Clare Shepherd answers your questions…

Woman's Realm / 6th October 1967

I see we’ve got the old ‘indulge your sulky husband’ advice again, but Clare’s probably right about the cause, so I would have advised a good chat after dinner myself. However, the real interest lies in some of the other letters here. The woman who hasn’t told her daughter who her real father is because of shame over the divorce is a sad case, and although I’m not sure what Clare means by ‘legal difficulties’, the daughter clearly has a right to know. The poor woman who’s not been able to tell her husband about her problems with sex is a real sign of the times, but it’s reassuring that Clare tells her that help is readily available, and I can’t, thankfully, imagine a parent reacting to a blind boyfriend in the same manner nowadays as the letter writer’s mother here.

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Eat Eggs, You Mothers!

Woman's Own / 14th July 1967

Don’t you just love emotional blackmail? This instructive ad, which includes the famous Fay Weldon line “Go to work on an egg.”, also includes the line “…children who start the day with a proper cooked protein breakfast feel, look and behave so much better than those who don’t.” This reminded me of the famous line from Brass Eye: “That is scientific fact. There’s no real evidence for it, but it is scientific fact.”

Although some studies have certainly found that breakfast is beneficial for overall health, there’s no suggestion that a cooked protein breakfast is necessary. If you’re interested in what you should eat for breakfast, take a look at the British Dietetic Association’s advice.

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Twiggy Style

Woman's Own / 14th July 1967

Whilst we’re on the subject of being skinny, this comes from a longer interview with Twiggy’s mum, which is alarmingly unguarded by modern standards. I can’t imagine a publicist nowadays allowing a model’s mother to talk about her daughter’s financial affairs, or so much about her personal life! I thought this page was particularly striking, and handy for anyone wanting a bit of make-up inspiration.

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