Sally Spinks

They didn’t teach me this at school

“Tailored suits have long been seen as signifiers of wealth, and are predominately worn by those in control of ‘big business’, finance and the establishment. And they were also a traditionally male preserve – perhaps they still are to some degree. Suits, along with other clothing symbolising ‘male’ work and careers weren’t part of the narrative for young girls growing up in the 1960s. Young girls at this time were consistently fed images of ‘pretty’ dresses and bouncy blonde hair. It didn’t feel like there was an option for girls to aspire to break into male dominated careers. Most young women were given advice to pursue nursing, becoming a secretary or a hairdresser.

Conditioning starts young and being fed these images through comics for girls, like Bunty, didn’t provide the impetus for change. They are more likely to have enabled the status quo. To inspire young girls, they needed to see images that showed them the potential of what they could be in their tailored outfit or boilersuit. Why weren’t they told that they could be anything they wanted? Thank goodness for change. We’ve come a long way since the 1960s but the journey certainly isn’t over yet.”