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.

Well, having missed out on the 70s entirely, I'm not sure what to say ...!

It is depressing at the moment. American elections really bring it home to me (for one thing).

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 13:49:27

I remember the 70s and it all feels more regressive today than it was then - I mean we have cycled back and further beyond where we even started. In some ways. On paper many things look better though, legislatively at least even if it is taking time to materialise?

MorrisZapp Mon 01-Oct-12 13:50:41

Can you give any examples of what you mean, OP?

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Mon 01-Oct-12 13:57:08

Totally agree OP, it is very depressing

seeker Mon 01-Oct-12 14:00:38

You only have to read mumsnet for a day or two, Morris!

OatyBeatie Mon 01-Oct-12 14:16:46

Trying to think of the plight of women then and now, I find myself wanting to say that in those days we had clear external obstacles -- legislation and workplace practices that explicitly permitted and encouraged discrimination against women in the arenas of employment and pay, for example. A really significant degree of progress has been made in relation to those (although there is clearly more work still to be done). But now we have significantly greater internalised obstacles, or at least we face a significantly greater pressure to internalise certain constraints -- to do with the sense of self, of who we are and what women are. And we face these greater pressures because of an intensively more consumer-driven, media-driven society which has become absolutely adept at shaping shared perceptions in pursuit of profit.

Our sense of self is much more forged by capitalist pressures than it was. And also, the seventies were characterised by the relative strength of working class solidarity, compared with today, which made it easier to retain a critical perspective on the values that capitalism promotes. And perhaps in some ways (though not in others) the survival then of working-class solidarity made the whole project of gender solidarity a more plausible and natural one to adopt.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Mon 01-Oct-12 14:34:02

The influence and amount of porn has exploded. I worry greatly about the impact this will have on our children as they grow up. Teenage girls report being pressurised to do sex acts with their boyfriends that I wouldnt even have heard about at the same age. Very scary.

seeker Mon 01-Oct-12 14:44:15

And women remain complicit. It breaks your heart.

oaty, thank you, that is one of those posts where I just read and think 'wow ... yes!'. Thanks for explaining that/putting it into words.

I think you're on to something, Oaty - I think the non-legislative stuff has got more sexist - eg, Loaded - their sexism was 'ironic' (erm, no it wasn't) in the 90s and now it's just sexism - as bad as anything said or done to women in the 60s, frankly, and embraced by heaps of people. I think we've won important legal battles and have lost ground of equally important cultural ones. I think the backlash has been extremely strong.

ShirtyKnot Mon 01-Oct-12 15:03:36

I think it's sneaky now. In the 70's the sexism was right there in your face. Nowadays it's sly "make us a sandwich", "ironic sexism".

It's actually even harder to fight that in a way I think.

Xenia Mon 01-Oct-12 15:04:06

I remember the 70s soo. It is not too bad now but still far too many women who serve men and earn nothing.

I see more young people going for equitable sharing of roles. Mmy daughter's ex boss took the first 3 or 6 months off and now her husband is tkaing 6 months off with their first baby. That used to be very rare. She is back full time.

In terms of cultural battles girls liking clothes and cupcakes is pretty dire. Thankfully most bright women with good careers aren't really like that and would rather read the FT than buy shoes but not all by any means. We have a long way to go to ensure we bring up daughters and sons who are feminist. I hope I do my bit.

I am not remotely interested in shoes, but would rather eat one than read the FT.

Now, the NYRB, that's another matter.

I like shoes.

I am also aware that, you know, they are quite useful and good to have, and not inherently beneath anyone's notice.

It's not like buying shoes need take up a huge amount of mental energy.

I did resort to reading the financial section of the Guardian when I banned myself from MN for a couple of weeks. It was intensely boring and surprisingly easy to understand ... I'm curious how finance is seen to be 'complicated' when clearly, many idiots can make a career in it.

Devora Mon 01-Oct-12 15:49:11

Some things have got better, others worse. I'm really cheered by changing attitudes to women working, to lesbian and gay rights, to abortion rights.

I'm really depressed by the growth of porn and its impact on everyday life, by the way women's bodies are policed, by the early sexualisation of children and teenage sexual coercion, by men's slow slow progress in taking on domestic responsibility.

The best thing, though, is the resurgence in feminism. Back in the 1990s it felt like a dirty word.

Xenia Mon 01-Oct-12 16:30:26

You can be a feminist and ilke shoes and not be interested in the FT. I would have to be paid about £500 an hour to go into a shop whereas I like reading the FT or a book I'm reading about North Korea. We all like different things but what we need to avoid is so many mumsnetters who know nothing about money and pensions and then we get all those threads - husband gone off, wife has no idea what he earned, never seen his P60s or even know what they are, has no idea what a pension is and doesn't earn a penny and has no idea what bank accounts he has. There are far too many cases like that where man is interested in money and wife is brought up to be interested in shoes and looks as her only currency is her looks and her family have concentrate on that as they brought her up.

That's certainly true.

I think it's even the case that some women are brought up to feel it's 'rude to talk about money'. Meaning they don't hammer out the situation in their relationships.

seeker Mon 01-Oct-12 17:27:49

Please do me a favour, Xenia. Just this once, can you not make this thread about how the only way to be a feminist is to earn mega bucks, and we are letting our daughters down if we're not Chair of ICI? Please?

Bonsoir Mon 01-Oct-12 17:30:36

I like shoes and the FT and clothes and The Economist. And, while I think cupcakes are the height of culinary mediocrity, I do very much like cooking.

ShirtyKnot Mon 01-Oct-12 17:37:19

Are we just making lists of stuff we like now?

I like bread and hats and guinea pigs. I also like faces.

messyisthenewtidy Mon 01-Oct-12 17:59:02

I like shoes too.

But I don't like the way the media has decided that every single f*(&ing woman on television must wear shoes with heels as high as the Eiffel Tower. And I don't like the way they sell them to us as a source of empowerment, whateverthefuck that means.

I don't like all this empowerment crap. "Strong women" and "Cos we're worth it girls" - it's patronising, clearly money-driven and the idiots that peddle it don't give a crap about women, just about draining them of their disposable income.

buggyRunner Mon 01-Oct-12 18:07:51

I'm a child of the 80's but it does sometimes feel like were stuck. for example in my female dominated industry all 4 of our directors and our CEO are all male. (I plan to change this one day wink)

however in all my mummy friends it's the women (with myself and 1 other as the exceptions) who are the financial experts in the house hold. I simply stubble with numbers, statements etc but know exactly what dp and I earn and pensions and have equal say in the relationship. my friend is being financially and emotionally abused by her dp.

FromEsme Mon 01-Oct-12 18:11:00

A while ago, I went to get some information about the gym and I was told how lucky I was that they'd just refurbished so that the weights and cardio rooms were now separate. So now the women don't have to walk past "sweaty grunting men."

Well thank God for that, it's not as if I could possibly be interested in lifting weights, is it?

He then launched into a patronising spiel about "not being put off" going into the weights room and how I should "give it a go."

Quite how he knew what I'd previously done in my workouts, I don't know.

FromEsme Mon 01-Oct-12 18:14:19

And what I meant to add to that was that it really depresses me that men and women are seen to be different.

There is so much sexism at my university, my eyes are permanently set to roll.

ThisisaSignofthetimes Mon 01-Oct-12 18:21:09

Well not everyone can be chairwoman of ICI but it would be good if girls did have some aspirations for life. We don't help ourselves when there are so many young women who see their lives as fulfilled by hanging off a mans arm. As for those women who are in relationships where they don't know what their partners earn what pension provision there is etc.... I think that's partly because it's just easier not to have to deal with it all. Of course there will be some in abusive relationships where they will never be treated as an equal partner but that can't be more than a relatively small number.

NonnoMum Mon 01-Oct-12 18:21:27

And page 3 is STILL around????

messyisthenewtidy Mon 01-Oct-12 18:40:29

"my eyes are permanently set to roll."

YY! Sometimes I feel like my eyes will get stuck at the back of my head the amount of eye-rolling I do!!

messyisthenewtidy Mon 01-Oct-12 18:42:06

"And page 3 is STILL around????"

Yeah, but Nonno, it's all about choice doncha know?wink

Same old crap, just different arguments....

Xenia Mon 01-Oct-12 19:01:26

I've never had a problem witn page 3. More that too many women don't force their men to do more at home and more men don't do more at home. The day jmen aren't aroused by breasts the world will die out (unless we've stocked up on frozen sperm I suppose - in theory we only need a handful of men on the planet and could exterminate the rest if we were so inclined).

MissHuffy Mon 01-Oct-12 19:10:18

Don't tempt me, Xenia...

MissHuffy Mon 01-Oct-12 19:13:59

More seriously, the most depressing thing is how many women still collude with it all; how nervous they are about changing things. Reading MN can be very depressing at times.

Levantine Mon 01-Oct-12 19:17:55

I quite agree and I don't think you really realise what an issue it is until you have children. I didn't anyway.

All of my friends have taken massive hits to their careers. I have friends who are SAHMs who will spend the minimum possible as they see the money coming in as their DH's. It really depresses me.

frankie4 Mon 01-Oct-12 19:26:14

I feel that attitudes to whether women work or not is only one part of the issue. And I do think that men are doing more to help women at home now, and happy for them to work outside the home. I have many stong willed friends who don't have careers and are married to well paid men. I guess they are dependent on the man for money and he is dependent on them to run the house and look after the children. If the marriage breaks down then they will obviously have problems financially, but with education and degrees I am sure they would be ok, even if not wealthy.

For me the main issue is how women are still portrayed as sexual beings, only there for their looks. And violence against women is still rife. So many so called role models for girls, like Tulisa and Rhianna, have been in abusive relationships. We still see an older man in a suit presenting TV programmes standing next to a young thin girl with big boobs and in skimpy clothes. pornography is everywhere on the internet, and will change the way teenagers view women. Most men think that prostitutes and women in porn are willing participants, but don't realise that these women are not different to the abused young girls from the news, just a bit older.

Levantine Mon 01-Oct-12 19:38:37

It's more fundamental than that though isn't it - there's still a lot of "a person walks into the room" and "a woman walks into the room"

I really notice that reading my dc's story books, if there is an animal/toy/some other creature at the centre of the story it will nearly always be male, because that is the default characteristic of someone/something doing something interesting.

on the 8th June 1913 a horse ran over Emily Davison. Nearly 100 year slater, horses still cant vote, what an absolute travesty

on the 8th June 1913 a horse ran over Emily Davison. Nearly 100 year slater, horses still cant vote, what an absolute travesty

MamaMary Mon 01-Oct-12 19:44:26

I agree that the development and growth of the porn industry has been a huge setback for feminism, and for women generally.

I think we have greater maternity rights and rights at work, which is good.

We're being very western-centric though. Globally, the plight of women remains largely unchanged. sad

margerykemp Mon 01-Oct-12 21:22:45

I think things are much worse for women especially girls/young women than in the late 80s 90s and early 00s.

There doesnt seem to be any hope of a better way sad

kim147 Mon 01-Oct-12 21:33:34

One thing I noticed yesterday. It was from the Labour conference and there was a male reporter about 50 and - without sounding horrible, he was not well presented and a bit ugly. I know that sounds awful - but he was on TV and was doing his job well.

Would they allow a plain or even "ugly" woman to be such a reporter? At any age?

And the BBC also has this policy that its female presenters on the News must wear dresses or skirts. Ever seen them wear trousers. Just policing of appearance.

I do think the 70s was very external - who controlled the money, getting a mortgage, maternity leave etc. But now it's everywhere and in your face - but not unfortunately recognised as an issue. You try and bring it up elsewhere and you get laughed at.

TeiTetua Mon 01-Oct-12 21:41:24

Rihanna was involved in a violent relationship, which is bad. But she also gives sexualized musical performances, and that's bad too. In fact domestic violence has always been around, and at least now it's talked about and there's general disapproval of it, so that's progress. But stuff that some female artistes (meaning those who claim to be serious, not strippers) do on stage has got much, much worse. And the protest from the public isn't exactly deafening.

Kim in some respects I think the 70s was external, but in other ways it was more equal in 'all the little things' too. Kids wore bright coloured (or brown) cord dungarees, and played with lego. There were no disney 'girls are princesses who need saving!' or pixar 'boys are buddies and heroes!' films, and their associated branded clothing, toys, bedding, wallpaper, cups, plates, blah blah to infinity and beyond. There was "Free To Be You And Me" and people made an effort to produce 'right on!' stuff for children about equality.

I think I was raised (in my cousins' 70s hand-me-downs) in a much more unisex wardrobe than the clothes available for most children today. And we all know that the clothing you wear affects what you can do - running in heels or strappy sandals and climbing in skirts or frocks is much, much harder than in dungarees and trainers, for example.

FromEsme Mon 01-Oct-12 22:00:52

TeiTetua Sexualisation doesn't bother me, as long as it's not the only way for female singers to express themselves (which sadly it seems to be at the moment) and if males do it too (which they don't.)

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Mon 01-Oct-12 22:01:39

blackcurrants I agree entirely - I remember that most of my clothes (with the exception of 'best' or 'party' outfits - were practical and comfortable. And I barely wore pink.

kim147 Mon 01-Oct-12 22:08:35

It is interesting when you look back at photos of that time.

What the hell happened to our society? Is it the explosion in media and visual images over the last 20 - 30 years?

Goldidi Mon 01-Oct-12 22:31:26

Most of my dds' clothes are practical and comfortable. Neither of them wear a lot of pink either, although dd2(age 2.5) seems to want to wear pink a fair bit while also choosing boys clothes for other times because they've got dinosaurs on.

I think I may be raising feminists, which is a very good thing. Dd1 has never ever bought into the whole 'pink is for girls' thing and resisted very strongly the peer pressure to like Bratz, High School Musical, Glee, Disney Princesses, ballet, horses, etc. She also has very high aspirations for her later life, she's debating between wanting to be a doctor, scientist or author - she's never felt limited in her career choices in the slightest. Then again, neither did I, it wasn't my gender that stopped me being a high flier, it was my innate laziness.

I do think people are right about it being internalised pressures that are most prevalent now. I desperately want to stay at home with my babies even though I have a decent career, and dp doesn't want to stay at home with them even though we would be better off financially if he did. Those are the internalised pressures coming into play in my household as we do seem to have been conditioned to want our gender-stereotyped roles. Not housework though, I don't do much, he does far more housework than I do because I am happy living as a slob

seeker Mon 01-Oct-12 22:44:40

I could describe every one of my dresses from when I was about 3. Because there were only two or three a year, and they were for best qnd parties. And I remember one pink one!

Goldidi Mon 01-Oct-12 22:48:37

So do I seeker. My clothes were mostly hand-me-downs from my brother though. My dds don't have that issue as their clothes are mostly hand-me-downs from their female cousins. I do give away the dresses to friends because my girls prefer comfort, give them leggings, tracksuits or jeans and they're happy.

tribpot Mon 01-Oct-12 22:58:37

frankie4 - I do think that men are doing more to help women at home now, and happy for them to work outside the home - I don't think you meant this to come across as it does to me, which is that men are doing women a favour by 'helping' them with their housework and graciously allowing them to work. Men don't control what we do. Housework is not our job.

I agree with Xenia's position that we should all be the chairman of ICI (we'd need a big chair) only insofar as you see on MN far, far too frequently women trapped in bad or abusive relationships because they have no money of their own in order to escape. I would guess elsewhere on the internet you could read more frequently of the reverse, men trapped in bad relationships because the other partner controls all the cash. We need a better solution to this problem, a genuine way of supporting choice. And this must be for both women and men. It is socially more acceptable for Yahoo to hire a pregnant CEO than it would be for a male CEO to take 2 years off to look after a child.

But the main battle I think we face now is to get the fact that there even is a battle recognised. I'm sure there are many who think the fact there are a few Flash adverts with men wiping up in them is evidence enough that this battle is won.

AbigailAdams Mon 01-Oct-12 23:03:11

I have noticed that girls today almost always have long hair or at least shoulder length. If I think back to my group of female friends at secondary school I would have said it was 50/50 short hair/long hair. There seems a lot more emphasis nowadays in girls looking "feminine".

I can only remember having 3 dresses growing up, seeker, and they were for parties/best. However, I did go to a school where I had to wear a skirt so being able to wear trousers is a definite improvement.

rosabud Mon 01-Oct-12 23:11:47

I agree with all the frustrating things, particulary the growth of the porn industry etc BUT

Don't underestimate the huge pogress in attitudes that have happened in the last 40 years. Women earning enough to stay single if they choose too, women organising varied and interesting social lives (don't forget women in the 70s DID NOT go into pubs on their own!), women sharing domestic duties (my father nearly fell apart laughing in 1975 when my mother asked if he wouldn't mind running the hoover round - needless to say he dined out on that story for years and still, to this day, has no idea how to plug the thing in), domestic violence taken seriously (well, at least more seriously - remember all those 70s actors like Sean Connery and Denis Waterman who thought the odd slap was necessary to keep the wife in line), the phrase THE WIFE - how I hated my dad using that phrase, I genuinely don't hear it so often these days, women taking on proper roles in all the careers they choose to go into eg women in the police doing all the jobs rather than desk jobs, women firefighters, the change in terminology from WPC to police officer or headmaster/mistress to headteacher etc, women on the news (OK they are not allowed grey hairs but at least they are there, they weren't in 1970), women choosing when to have families, women breasfeeding in public..........

it's not perfect but it's certainly progress!

GrimmaTheNome Mon 01-Oct-12 23:12:15

One of the things that was better in the 70s was that there was an ICI then, even if it apparently had a hiring rule of 70% of staff must be called Dave.... clearly the sisterhood represented on this thread is woefully ignorant of industry, science and the finance pages if they think there's still an ICI to be chair of sad

But...my DD dresses like blackcurrant and seeker etc, most of the time (from choice) She's heading to be a scientist or engineer and doesn't have any riduculous notion that such professions aren't for women. She played with lego and k'nex etc far more than 'girl' toys. Yesterday she had me explain to her firstly what exactly a mortgage was and then the chemical principles of reusable handwarmers....

and I bet lots of MN'ers could say similar. I reckon our girls will give short shrift to dinosaur sexism.

frankie4 Mon 01-Oct-12 23:13:50

Tribpot - I only meant that in relation to how it was in the 1970s, when it was assumed that women did all the housework and it was not as acceptable for women to work when they had young children. So it has improved since then, although obviously I don't believe men are doing us a favour by letting us do this! We dont notice the change when it happens so gradually, as it is now normal for men to do much of the housework and looking after the children (well my dh does anyway!). This was very unusual in the 1970s.

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 23:16:23

I don't really remember different toys for girls and boys, not in the way they are marketed now anyway, but with three brothers and three sisters I don't remember any of us being especially given gendered things. Except my Sindy and horse, but I had tonka trucks and eagle-eyes (he was an action man, I loved him) and we all had bikes and skate boards and roller skates that were unisex.

Am looking at a photo of most of us (me and siblings) right now and it is not immediately obvious which are the boys and which the girls, all in trousers, all with quite untidy longish hair. I look nice in my spotty Dalmatian furry jacket though smile

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 23:18:08

ah hello eagle eyes

GrimmaTheNome Mon 01-Oct-12 23:19:44

AA...OTOH, some girls (like me and DD) have long hair because we can't be arsed to go to the hairdressers. It was the ones who cared about fashion (or had mothers who did) who had shorter cuts in my day. I don't think it was necessarily about femininity or otherwise.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 01-Oct-12 23:23:18

>I don't really remember different toys for girls and boys,

Really? I remember being given a dolls' house, dolls, art type stuff. Brothers had lego and scalextrics and trains. Boys were given chemistry sets and electronics kits - despite being a sciency girl, no-one ever thought to offer those to me (DD of course has them -she has an iron...a soldering iron!)

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 23:33:41

not like today though, I meant the idea of different bikes/balls/skates for girls and boys or that cars were for boys and cuddly toys for girls

we all had pretty similar stuff, a lot was pooled (eg scalextric set belonged to everyone) I wonder if we were communists?

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 23:40:32

or maybe there were just too many of us to bother buying lots of special things for

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 01-Oct-12 23:40:53

Nice one, Grimma's DD!

Rape within marriage is illegal. When I feel like abandoning all hope about progress, I try and remember that one.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 01-Oct-12 23:42:27

Of course there were different bikes for girls... boys had crossbars, girls had dropped frame so you could ride in a skirt.

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 23:45:11

really?

I just don't remember that, we had grifters and bmx bikes

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 23:47:02

am going to google to see if there were different versions for boys and girls, but I can only remember everyone customising their own - was it the grifter that you could put different gear knobs, similar to a car?

Alameda Mon 01-Oct-12 23:47:46

I was born in 1971 if that makes any difference

SmokyClav Tue 02-Oct-12 00:19:36

Ha! It has just clicked what oatybeatie is!

sorry....

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 02-Oct-12 07:05:48

Ooh, with me too, Smoky!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Oct-12 10:00:36

>I was born in 1971 if that makes any difference
possibly, given the thread title! I was born in 1961 so the 70s was when I had bikes... choppers came out, rarely saw a girl on one, before BMX and I don't know what a grifter was. Girls needed bikes decently rideable in skirts if they used them for transport to school, Guides, Girl's Brigade or whatever.

I seem to remember most out-of-school activities, such as they were - except Sunday School/Church youth groups - being gender divided - unlike the huge range of things DD can choose from now.

Xenia Tue 02-Oct-12 10:35:37

It is hard to generalise but I think girls were outside more whereas by the time my daughters were teeangers in the 90s the fact they spent 10 hours on each of Sat and Sunday at riding stables and basically outside was probably less common but I suspect was good for them. They probably were out more than I wqas. I remember our mother complaining about sunny Sunday afternoons with us watching old black and white films on the television in the 70s.

My father did the hoovering at weekends in the 60s and 70s although I agree that things are even more even now.

I think things have improved. However we have more media but that does not mean all girls choose to exposed to the same media as other girls. We certainly bought books in the mid 80s which were from a feminist bookclub which showed women out earnings, men at home etc etc and I don't think that did any harm at all even if Jane the plumber picture books did seem a bit funny at the time. I am happy my daughters in their mid 20s have careers in the same way I always have had over nearly 30 years. I am sure that is in part because of feminism and my example and that of fair non gender divided images around them.

KRITIQ Tue 02-Oct-12 10:36:25

Interesting question!

I would say that some things have improved related to the status and rights of women and girls, in the UK and globally, but other things have either not changed, or new "issues" have arisen that have had a negative impact on women and girls and on equality and human rights generally.

In the late 70's when I was a teen, I could have never imagined the existence of the internet, let alone that it could be used as a vehicle for transmitting violent porn to small children. I couldn't have imagined the impact of porn on so many aspects of our popular culture.

The late 70's was a relatively liberal period, at least in the US where I was living. I probably would have thought that by now, there would still be the need to fight to ensure reproductive rights.

I also don't think I could have imagined that there would be so much more gender segregation in toys, interests and clothing. That was something that I would have seen as an artifact from the 1950's.

seeker Tue 02-Oct-12 10:37:22

I think we may be viewing the past through rose coloured glasses- certainly in my childhood, girls were at the back of the queue for a go at the Scalextic! Just like now, really.........

I think, though, that because "things" generally were more expensive. A bike cost the same number of pounds when I was 16 as one would now. So you wouldn't buy a specifically "girly" thing because it was the norm to hand down.

Interesting, too, that when people are talking about having gender neutral clothes and colours, they are actually meaning "boy" clothes or colours. As women we remember our few feminine things, because they were a big contrast with the masculine norm. I wore my brother's hand me downs- it was ok for a girl to wear boy's clothes, but it wouldn't have been OK for a boy to wear girl's clothes.

KRITIQ Tue 02-Oct-12 11:24:59

Seeker, are you perhaps of a "later vintage?" than I was?

When I speak of wearing more "gender neutral" clothing as a child, I didn't see these as either masculine or feminine. The only garment worn by one sex and not the other would be a skirt or dress. For the most part, this was only for church or "fancy" occasions, and rarely in pink.

Here is a shot of kids in a playgroup in my local village around 1974. The photo is quite faded, but one can see a range of colours and clothing styles on boys AND girls. The only two children who appear to be wearing pink tops are the young boy and girl at the front on the left!

This is a children's party in the village around the same time. Again, only one girl seems to be wearing pink while four are wearing wholly blue tops.

And here is a school classroom around 1971. Again, primary colours but no pink on the girls.

I do think there was a relatively liberal "culture" in education and childrearing practice in the 70's, where at least some teachers and parents made a conscious decision not to perpetuate gender, racial or disability stereotypes. Doesn't mean it was an egalitarian paradise at all! But even in the extremely conservative community I grew up in, there were books, toys, materials, etc. at least in the school that were more "representative" and we looked back and laughed at some of the depictions in books from even a decade before, still in the dusty corners of the library.

The point about the cost of the bicycle though is relevant. I don't believe that all manufacturers of toys, books, games, etc. are deliberately setting out to create gender discrimination. I think many will have grown up in a time when they were told that discrimination was a "thing of the past," so probably aren't focussing on the potential negative impact of their products. However, I think they are more motivated by the desire for profits. Why sell only one bicycle/baby bed/set of clothes/etc. to a family that can be passed from one child to the next? Why not create a demand for two lots of these products by making parents think that the same product will not be suitable for a boy AND a girl.

I don't think this is necessarily a good thing in terms of use of financial resources, or the impact on the environment of so much extra waste. Also not good in creating "segmentation" of the market which reinforces gender stereotypes.

KRITIQ Tue 02-Oct-12 11:26:13

Sorry - correct link for the school classroom above!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 02-Oct-12 11:33:30

There's a 1970s Argos catalog online. There are indeed low-frame bikes marked 'unisex' - perfect for handing down- but there's also a specifically 'boy's' racing bike - none for the girls.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Tue 02-Oct-12 11:40:09

I agree with you. Clothes were more sex neutral then and clothes would be handed down from boys/girls to boys/girls. Yes there were some clothes that were sex specific - dresses, skirts, shirts, but a lot of these were worn for dressing up or special occasions. The jeans, t-shirts, shorts and jumpers combo was pretty sex neutral most of the time.

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Tue 02-Oct-12 11:42:53

And its not that I think things were a paradise back in the 70's, but there was a much stronger culture around letting children be children rather than mini adults. Yes we wanted to grow up quickly too, but as young girls we werent allowed make up, girly clothes, false nails, tans, etc. We werent expected to look "hot" or "sexy" and were encouraged to just play and be kids.

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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