Writer Kate Long posted this letter from The Ladymagazine, sent in 1977, to Twitter yesterday, and it was widely shared.
Long posts these vintage clippings twice a week – she’s been doing it for about three years.
She told BuzzFeed News: “I read a lot of mags like this, ranging from the youth titles such as Jackie and Mates, through the glossies and more specialist titles like Spare Rib.”
“It’s just a personal hobby, possibly prompted by the fact I was never allowed such magazines as a teenager myself.”
“In my reading, I’ve been struck by how incredibly sexist we were only a few decades ago, actually in my lifetime (I’m 50).”
“Because I was only a child in the 70s, I didn’t fully appreciate how dire this country was for women before the Sex Equality Act.”
“And although a lot of the clippings I post are designed to make people laugh…”
“…outrageous fashions, silly advice on how to deal with boyfriends…”
“…some of the material is very dark indeed.”
“I have several examples on problem pages of young girls writing in to say they’re being pressured for sex by much older men, and getting very little help from the agony aunt.”
“Kids effectively being told it’s their responsibility to sort it out.”
“There’s a particularly vile article from a woman’s magazine called Eve – no relation to the modern title, I think…”
“…where the journalist waxes lyrical about ‘the lighter side of rape’.”
“I once posted an extract from that, but got so worried that it would upset people, I took it down.”
If you want to see the article in question, it’s here.
She added: “So although I post to entertain other Twitter users, I’m keen to convey the message that the good old days were not so good for women…”
“…and we have a lot to be thankful for and we owe a debt of gratitude to the people who fought for equal rights.”
“I know there is still lots of sexism about, but as we struggle on up the mountain, we need to pause sometimes and look back at how far we’ve come and what we’ve left behind.”
BuzzFeed News also got in touch with Matt Warren, the current editor of The Lady.
He sent us a selection of covers to show how the magazine has changed over the years. The cover on the left comes from 1977 and the one on the right from 1974. As he says, the covers also show how much things have changed: “For a start, they only cost 10p in 1974. … In a 1974 a picture of a rusty anchor on Glasson dock was deemed to be a draw. Who says women aren’t interested in commercial shipping?”
He added: “Nor were cover lines the clever confections they are today. Back then, ‘Tradesman’s Signs’ would get the readers salivating. One thing hasn’t changed, though. Beauty sold magazines then as it does now.”
He also sent us this fascinating cover from exactly 100 years ago.
He said: “Go back 100 years and women’s magazines are even more prosaic. They’re broadsheet in scale and the cover is a wall of ads – no grinning celebrities here. And the only cover line? ‘Rifle Shooting for Ladies’”.
And he added: “The Lady’s original 1885 mission statement promised that The Ladyshould ‘provide information without dullness, and entertainment without vulgarity, and be at once useful and necessary without ceasing to be bright and lively’. It also promised that in achieving this, ‘we will not restrict ourselves to the old paths, but shall seek the aid of novelty’.
“I couldn’t agree more.”