Gypsy Creams

“teenagers” Tag


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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Kenny Everett’s New Saturday Show

Disc and Music Echo / 23 November 1968

Well, I may have been away for a while, but never say that I can’t come back with a bang. This music gossip magazine is a real find, combining as it does proper music reporting and elements of gossip and teen mag writing. I don’t recall anything quite like it in my youth; Smash Hits was excellent, but there’s no way they would have covered the ‘British Blues Boom’ as this issue does. It’s delightful to see Kenny Everett as the cover star and that his then new Radio 1 Saturday show for 1969 was big news. Having been a Kenny fan for years, it brings it home to me that so much of his career has been presented to me second-hand, and it’s fascinating to see a contemporary reaction. It’s also great for those interested in how Radio 1 established itself as a station for younger people (or, as they have it, the ‘in-crowd’), as it appears 1969 was a significant shift away from ex-Light Programme shows like Saturday Club.

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Drama Queen

Woman's Weekly / 27th June 1969

“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…”. All of these letters are significant in their own way, as none of these problems are issues for men. The 16 year old girl is probably being a bit overwrought, but I stayed the night with my best friend more than once as a teen without being accused of meeting a boy by my parents! Both Mrs. C and Working Wife are suffering from higher expectations being applied to them than to their husbands, and naturally, poor Worried won’t see the father of her child for dust. In some respects, things haven’t changed all that much, but at least women have more options nowadays to either get themselves out of trouble, or to avoid landing themselves in it.

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Three Grown Up Girls

Woman's Weekly / 26th March 1965

See? Only BABIES use sanitary pads! Anyone else feel like they’re being talked to like a toddler?

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Two Misguided Teenagers

Woman's Weekly / 25th June 1965

Oh dear. Obviously, I hope things worked out for these two girls, but it makes your heart sink to see Mary come up trumps again with her judgmental language. What makes her think that either of these two girls will EVER put themselves in such a position again, given the trauma that they’re suffering? This is before the legalisation of abortion in Britain (excluding Northern Ireland), which happened in 1967, so if either of them were pregnant, their options were to bring up the child themselves (or have their parents go through the charade of pretending it was a sibling), have the child adopted, or to have a dangerous illegal abortion.

Of course, what Mary doesn’t mention is that the woeful lack of sex education until recently in the UK (and it’s hardly perfect now), meant that many young people were exposed to the adult world with no way of preparing themselves for it. Perhaps you could justify this ignorance when youngsters had close supervision from adults (although it no doubt caused unnecessary anxiety for young couples), but it was wholly inadequate for the 20th century, and is recklessly irresponsible in the 21st. Sadly, what should be a simple process of preparing children for the challenges of adult life is endlessly highjacked by those motivated by fear and bigotry, who appear to think that informing children of the inevitable features of adulthood means that they’ll want to try them all out! It’s a grave insult to those children to assume that they can’t make an informed decision. Luckily, wilful ignorance is no longer government policy (despite the efforts of this MP), and the internet means that there isn’t just one official source of information, with Dr Petra Boynton, a experienced sex educator, giving a good list here. Of course, there’s more than enough misinformation on the internet, but at last ‘ver kids’ at least have most teachers in this country on their side to help guide them through.

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Get with it!

Woman's Weekly / 23rd May 1969

Come on! Live a little! Stick some cotton up your vag! Not the most positive of messages, is it?

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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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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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Mary Marryat on Fatherhood

Woman's Weekly / 11th March 1967

Oh dear. I’m pretty sure Mary meant well, but advising a worn-out and demotivated young mother to expend even more energy trying to keep her spoilt brat of a husband happy? Sounds like a sure-fire recipe for depression to me. Woe betide that the husband actually *help* with the baby that he helped create and grow the fuck up, eh?

Also, we have another one of the mysterious replies without the original letter! No prizes for guessing what the ‘habit’ might be…

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Woman's Own / 14th July 1967

Hm. If you really do have this problem, it wouldn’t be Super Wate-On that I’d recommend: it would be getting a nicer set of friends.

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