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Tomasina

September 15, 2009

The bus journey up to Heathrow Airport this morning was a little surreal. It started when I had to register my son for the vote and was followed by by first experience as a passenger with him driving (OK that, so pleased), but when your children reach these milestones you get a sense of time passing! I bought a copy of the Guardian for the journey and settled down to catch up on podcasts - in the case a joint ABC podcast between The Philosophers Zone and All in the Mind from February (yes I am that far behind). All good stuff that, conflict between evolutionary psychologists, biologists and others. The Guardian had republished a copy of Bunty from 1972, that was really scary.

For those who don't know, Bunty was the girls equivalent of Eagle, a weekly magazine for children, nearly all cartoons. I used to read it on my newspaper round (now there is a confession) walking between houses. I even remembered this particular edition, but the horror of reading it through the eyes of 37 years of cultural development was scary. The lead story was about a derelict girls school that promises to teach people "anything" (the heroine is the plucky girl who has inherited the pile and wants to keep it open. In this episode a fat and very butch mother drags in a child to have her taught to be a man. I quote "I am the secretary of FFF the Femminne Freedom Fighters! Its a man's world but we are working for equality of women and the only way is for women to be the same as men, able to take over all their jobs! That is how Tommy is to be trained". The course duly starts with boxing, digging. walking like a man and boiler stoking. The mother then returns having discovered that an inheritance is dependent on Tommy being seen as feminine and a lawyer is arriving to check things out.

Not it gets scary, she walks like a man, shakes hands like a man and smokes etc, but then the day is saved! She is scared by a mouse. The lawyer's response is "Its all right Tomasina. I got rid of it! I must confess I had doubts but that really was femmine behaviour! I like an old-fashioned girl who needs masculine protection!". And this was 1972! Its a wonder we survived (men and women alike).

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