If anyone had told the young woman I was in the 70s what very little.......

(99 Posts)
seeker Mon 01-Oct-12 13:27:49

.......actual progress would have been made in changing attitudes to women in society by 2012, I think I would have jumped off the Forth Bridge.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Oct-12 11:52:38

>were encouraged to just play and be kids.

some of us still do that, you know.

And in the 70s (secondary school age) I certainly had makeup, and there were girly clothes... wearing my brother's hand-me-downs for play wasn't exactly driven by better attitudes to women, but by finance and having parents from the (entirely sensible) wartime make-do-and-men generation.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Tue 02-Oct-12 11:56:25

I think wearing hand me downs between sexes was totally driven by economics I agree. I know some children just play still. But there is much more pressure on girls to look "sexy" young. We can see that from the sexy clothes for young children, the marketing creation of tweenies, the selling of things and other such underwear for young girls.

Secondary school age kids in the 70's had make up. But I dont remember any young girls 7, 8, 9, 10 being allowed to wear any make up. And this has changed.

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 12:02:08

Yes, I almost have had to pay school fees in order to ensure my daughter's schooling, no make up rules, hobbies they might take up etc were similar to my own. People sell goods which others will buy. I don't blame companies who fill a market.

I suppose we also need to look at the age of puberty which I think is falling although I suspect it has always been about 13 ish as that is when most cultures have some kind of coming of age and girls menstruate despite Victorian girls supposedly being much older at date of first period.

People had much less money in the 70s. It was a very very difficult time. I know things are hard now but what we take for granted that we have now was not what we had then.

KRITIQ Tue 02-Oct-12 12:06:19

When I was 13 or 14, it was the fashion to have a big wide comb in one back pocket and a big Bonne Belle Lipsmacker (flavoured, colourless lip salve.) That was the extent of make up that girls wore, except maybe for special occasions.

At a younger age, putting on make up was part of "dressing up," like wearing mum's or dad's old clothes and shoes. There were no make up products marketed to pre teens, as there is now. The closest thing you'd get would be a gift set with bubble bath and powder in it, or something like that, but not make up for the face.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Tue 02-Oct-12 12:06:24

There were certainly things in the 70's that I wouldnt want back. But younger women often think we have made massive progress in terms of women's right since that time. And I agree with the OP, I dont think we have. For every one thing that has got better, something else has got worse.

KRITIQ Tue 02-Oct-12 12:07:48

Whoops - I meant to say the lip salve was in the other pocket. We're talking something the size of a large Pritt stick. What were we thinking?

(They actually do still make lipsmackers - sell them at Primark I think, but only small chap stick sized ones. The smell though still takes me back. smile )

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Oct-12 12:30:48

I used to wear metallic green eyeshadow to church. Went well with the aubergine trousersuit grin. Honestly, the hand-me-downs were better than 70's 'fashions'. The platform shoes... bar pop stars, it was only girls who hobbled themselves with those.

And what about popular culture? Try to remember 70s TV schedules and tell me that - even with xfactor etc - the attitudes to women weren't worse then.

AllPastYears Tue 02-Oct-12 12:45:43

On the "unisex" theme, it is not that long ago that women had to put up with "unisex"=men's-but-you-can-use-it-anyway. Having women-specific stuff can fill a real need.

E.g. in the early 90's DH and I hired bikes for an afternoon. No women's bikes available. Don't care about the bike itself, but a woman's seat that would take my wide hips would have been nice! I was rather sore for a while afterwards. They guy hiring them out just said, "You don't need a woman's bike, these are unisex." hmm

Another example around the same time was trying to buy a waterproof walking jacket. The outdoor shops I went in had about 2 for women, the rest of the wide selection were men's/"unisex". Men's jackets are not unisex - for a woman the waist is in the wrong place, the sleeves are too long, and for petite women (not me!) they are just too big.

KRITIQ Tue 02-Oct-12 12:46:51

At the risk of going on a trip down memory lane . . . smile

In the 70's, women AND men wore platform shoes. I remember seeing a pair my ex wore and laughing that they were higher than even my sisters ones at the time. In the UK at least, androgyny and glam were very "in." My ex had long hair, looked and dressed in what would now be seen as a very "feminine" way in the mid 70's, but that wasn't unusual for the time.

I remember in the early 70's my mother being quite shocked by seeing Tina Turner wearing stage costumes like this and dancing in a sexually provocative way or Cher wearing quite revealing gowns like this.

Tina and Cher were considered quite shocking because there was not the culture of overt sexualisation of women that there is now. They were both adult women probably in their 30's at the time as well. The idea of young girls being stylised in a similar way would have been unheard of. Now, we look at their costumes and they seem almost quaint compared to those worn by say Pussycat Dolls or Rihanna on stage. And "everyday" clothing worn by young women has also become more sexualised, in my view. It's not worn now to be shocking, to test the boundaries of what they can get away with, but because there is a general expectation that this is how teen girls should style themselves to be acceptable. That's what worries me.

KRITIQ Tue 02-Oct-12 12:49:13

Sorry - link to Cher dress here.

Alameda Tue 02-Oct-12 13:01:28

I'm enjoying the trip down memory lane! I wonder how much difference it made growing up in/around USAFE bases as opposed to being 100% English - I suspect we had bmx and general off road type bikes earlier maybe, and where some children had those racing bikes with curly handles and a friend could sit on the crossbar.

Obviously it was all in real terms much more sexist than now, it was just something I noticed recently, the gendered playthings thing. Women's Lib was a more mainstream concept though I'm sure. Not like now where we are supposed to consider ourselves fully emancipated thanks anyway, despite the Actual Reality.

And yes to make up, although perhaps my family were stupidly strict, my sister got into trouble for wearing clear nail polish when she was 18. sad By the time I was 14 though I had my nose pierced and a tattoo - rebellious, mixed up baby!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Oct-12 13:24:08

A few men wore platform shoes, but schoolboys didn't. It was quite funny at that stage of puberty when most of the girls had had their growth spurt but the boys hadn't. We wore them with school uniform skirts/tunics shorter than my DD (NB state school, xenia) is allowed now.

>there was not the culture of overt sexualisation of women that there is now

come off it. Twas ever thus.

Benny Hill. Let that open the floodgates of memory. I rest my case grin

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Oct-12 13:29:22

Women's lib - you don't hear of that much now because most of us in the west- leastwise those who get media exposure - don't need it so much any more. 'Burn your bra' is passe - how much better an attitude exists in reality now when you can buy a decent sports bra and engage in every active pastime under the sun without getting sore knockers*.

* normal 70s terminology for 'breasts'.

Alameda Tue 02-Oct-12 13:30:07

overt sexualisation of women yes definitely but of girls not so much I don't think

I wouldn't want to live in the 70s now, as an adult woman.
I think in some ways 70s/80s childhoods were longer, and less gender-divided, and less gender-policed.

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 15:55:46

If we remember the 1880s, bustles, corsets, women dressed so they could not even cycle, long skirts, not allowed to show ankles etc then the 1920s were a time of freedom and the 1960s with very short skirts were in a sense a pinnacle and I do still find it liberating to cycle around here in a short skirt even though at times 80% of the women around me are veiling their hair (given the route I cycle to the gym) and it almost feels freeing and I don't want my culture to change so that in effect visual (or even non visual but implied) signs are up saying cover up. ON the other hand for most people we want those around us to feel comfortable. If those around you are mostly Muslim you may be making them uncomfortable by wearing your normal clothes and a basic tenet for most people is to be polite and make others feel comfortable. Anyway that's a slightly side issue.

There has always been this difficulty of which is the freedom - if I want to be naked (which I don't attempt cycling to the gym by the way) is that freeing or just giving men a chance to gawp at my breasts.

I had thought when I went to Iran on business I might feel very free in that doesn't matte what you wear a woman under the black stuff, no make up, pure religion in a sense but instead I found it worse than here as they spent more time on their make up (and I certainly did not bother) than here - in other words sex object but under the robes which in a sense is even worse as it is sexy object owned by a particular man, rather than free to use your sexual capital, something men don't have to the same extent, for your own ends. And it wasn't freeing at all having a lump of cloth over my simultaneous translation device or having to keep the wretched thing on my head when I was trying to talk about business. It was ridiculous. I thought at least I would get personal visual privacy in a sense but instead I was beamed over about 2 huge screens blown up and covering two entire walls, me in black bight red in the fact nad I rather adored the fact that I went to no trouble at all about looks, put on the worse of the black you can find and didn't bother one iota with all the stupid make up all the other women seemed to use. I felt there was no purity of "looks don't matter" only God but instead it was there but even worse as underground in a sense.

grimbletart Tue 02-Oct-12 16:26:10

I agree there was less girlification in the 70s - less pinkinfication, much more choice of children's clothing styles and colours, less inappropriate early sexualisation etc.

But I take issue a bit with Rosabud's assertion don't forget women in the 70s DID NOT go into pubs on their own!

None of my friends or I had any problem with going into pubs on our own in the 60s, never mind the 70s. I suppose that could be a regional thing?

Also, I married in the mid 1960s and this "men didn't do housework" then certainly didn't apply to us. I also remember my father in the late 1040s and 1950s not being beyond shoving a Hoover, washing up or doing any domestic tasks.

I'm not sure roles were quite as rigid in those decades as younger posters think they were or as advertising then suggested. Advertising tended to give a false picture then, just as it does now.

grimbletart Tue 02-Oct-12 16:27:26

1940s FFS. Even my Dad wasn't old enough to Hoover in the 1040s. blush

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 16:40:32

I think some women who have been very unluckly to be born into sexists homes and cultures just cannot believe how reasonable and fair many men are and they like to sit with girl friends moaning about what their man doesn't do and they are almost wilfully blind to the legions of men who have always done their bit, not just by way of helping but in terms of solid regular responsibility. Also a lot of people are influencedb y WWII when families were split and roles were all over the place and parents brought up then. We have not had a seamless history in the UK of women being delicate flowers who don't work and just iron clothes. Most women (working class etc) always worked. A few sometimes have not worked but not that many. My grandmother worked in the 20s. Her mother workd. These people would have starved had they not worked.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Oct-12 17:21:44

Yes - its working in 'professions' that is relatively new. And continuing to have a professional career after marriage/children even newer.

My grandmother was a teacher. The norm then - the start of WWI - was that you lost your job on marriage. Because male teachers were becoming soldiers, they allowed her to continue... but were suprised when she actually wanted to still be paid. I'm glad to say she won a small victory for womankind on that one!

By 1970 we had the Equal Pay Act - but how many women did we see in professional roles other than teachers and nurses? I came across a 'leavers list' from my DDs GS - can't remember the exact year, might have been 60s - but it was predominantly nursing or teacher training college. Now they're mostly off to university for degrees in all sorts including science and engineering, medicine and law - I would guess its not readily distinguishable from the boys' school list nowadays. This demonstrates that there really has been a positive shift - women can enter most careers, and these girls go ahead and do it with probably no thought that it might ever have been otherwise.

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 17:33:58

My mother could carry on teaching after marriage but she certainly remembered the days when you could not. IN professions wel in the 1920s my grandfather on the local council was lobbying after the Crash to ensure lady doctors lost jobs to male doctors to ensure the men could feed a family so there must have been a few lady doctors around then but certainly not as many as now.

In 82 when I started my work women and men entrants were 50/50 in one of the professions and where I worked. 20% of the women rose to the top and the other 80% decided to wash the socks of men and earn very little mostly because of personal preference, laziness, sexism at home, family conditioning, marrying richer men rather than any prejudice at work. Now the entrance stat is 60% female but the 20% at the top is the same today as the women continue to perefer to wash socks at home compared with earning a fortune in the city employing their own sock washers - more fool them.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 02-Oct-12 19:59:41

Two Xenia posts I agreed with! Didn't quite make it three for three though. Interesting what you said about Iran though.

If you hadn't started your own firm, Xenia, do you think you would have been able to work the hours required to reach a similar seniority in another firm, once you had children?

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 21:40:24

I think some of my views people do agree with from time to time.

Yes, because I had three children by age of 26 so got the difficult bit over with very early and becausde I was not in a sexist marriage and before we even married their father said if needs be and the nanny did not work out ( she did work out) he would give up work. Also as you get senior and earn a lot it gets easier and I adore the work and internet/email and the nature of my advisory work means it is perfect for working all ove the place, even from my island.

However as I said on the women who earn £1k a day thread I have had a whole heap of failures in all kinds of areas and have done more than well enough to be perfectly happy to write about them. Lots of things fail for me but enough succeed so who know what might have happened if different paths had been taken. I think the chance to earn a fortune which I wholly own and to work to age 85 if i choose (I probably will) is briliant and that to own rather than work with others or share is a massive difference for people in how they feel about work and their chances and opportunities. I was reminded today of how difficult it mustb e to work with others and reach consensus when I can take a decision in 2 seconds without consulting anyone and manage no one. I am so very lucky.

rosabud Tue 02-Oct-12 22:03:59

Oh I am not particularly young! Re the women going into pubs in the 70s - maybe it was more of a class thing then? Certainly the women of my family who were young in the 70s would not have walked into a pub on their own and would not have organised to meet a friend in a pub and would not have gone to a pub to socialise with other women. Possily a restaurant, but not a pub. Do you remember when pubs used to have seperate "lounge bars" for if a man was bringing his wife to the pub?!!

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