The old notion of what makes a lady is very much a thing of the past. It is something quaint and old-school that might mean lots to your grandparents, but which is very far removed from the modern female. In the years since our grandparents were young a lot has changed and women are far more independent. Politically and intellectually a lot of the changes are obvious – women can now vote, they can work anywhere, the expectation that they stay home and be a good house-wife is long gone. But socially what has changed? To the anthropologist looking at human behaviour, what would they observe that has changed in the last fifty years? Here are a few things we noticed.
Smoking has long been a thing for both men and women. But the big change that has happened is in terms of what is smoked. In days gone by women tended to smoke cigarettes, often long thin ones, sometimes even in holders. They certainly were not seen smoking things like cigars or pipes or more recently electronic cigarettes. Now there are vapes for sale everywhere and they are bought and smoked equally by both men and women.
That time of month
Women’s health products have changed dramatically over the course of time. The arrival of the tampon was a major breakthrough and meant big changes to quality of life for woman around the world. And more recently the arrival of the moon-cup has seen another shift in how bodily functions are dealt with in an effective, sustainable and eco-friendly manner. It’s an example of women stepping up and taking control of their bodies in a way that feels good and right to them.
Careers and kids
It might seem like a crazy thing to say, but until very recently women didn’t really have careers. And if they did then they probably didn’t have children. For a long time it tended to be one or the other. While there is still a long way to go in achieving equality in the workplace and a proper work versus life equilibrium, strides have definitely been made and there are more examples than ever before of women who are both successful mothers and parents.
For a long time body art, things like tattoos and piercings were the domain of men –and fairly rough men at that. Sailors and dealers and prisoners are the type of people who spring to mind. But the last ten years has seen huge change in terms of what is acceptable and women have increasing taken control of their bodies and decorated them as they have seen fit. Where once it was only considered okay to pierce ears; now we see scores of women of all ages with piercings all over their bodies. And as for tattoos these are becoming increasing prevalent on a daily basis. Getting ‘inked’ is now almost a right of passage for some – but the wonderful thing is that it is genuinely up to each individual to choose what she wants to do to her body.