When you look at the issues of the North East Leader Messenger from the first two months of 1972, they are filled with photographs of fresh-faced children of all ages enjoying the summer heat, usually swimming at the local pools, or taking part in fun activities at Tea Tree Plaza. Looking at these images can evoke fond memories of your childhood. You might reflect that kids never change, no matter the era in which they grow up.
Fortunately some things that were not so wholesome have changed. The North East Leader at this time often pictured photographs of staff at Tea Tree Plaza, wearing some of the outfits on sale at different stores. Most of these depict ordinary people modelling dresses or casual wear. They are usually female staff.
On page 20 of the North East Leader dated 16 February 1972, Tea Tree Plaza featured a sales promotion for the big sidewalk sale. In conjunction with Hooper’s Furniture, Sussan advertised ladies nightwear. In the accompanying photograph young sales assistant Wendy Cummings is pictured in an alluring pose, wearing a short nightdress and showing off her legs. Besides her is another set of nightwear. During the 1960s and 1970s Sussan was a major retailer of lingerie and the place to purchase your wedding ‘trousseau’. We cannot know if Wendy volunteered for the photo opportunity or if modelling Sussan’s stock was just part of her job.
Two of my colleagues recall how much sexism they experienced in the workplace during the 1970s. The advertising industry still uses sex appeal to sell products and objectify women. Thankfully today we do not usually see this type of image in the Messenger newspaper, with its focus on family and the community. When you work in the retail industry it is no longer considered acceptable to ask your female staff to promote your shop’s stock by being photographed wearing a little nightie. You also have the right to say no to such a request.
Why is the woman in this photograph trying to look attractive in a swimsuit, while lying on an ironing board? The Leader Messenger printed this story advertising the locally produced Slant Board, on page 11 of the edition dated 11 June 1967.
Doing just ten minutes of exercise while lying on a slant board relieves tension in your nerves and muscles, increases circulation, strengthens your back and shoulders and leads to weight loss. The slant board is even better than a nap, a physiotherapy session and can help people who suffer from respiratory illnesses.
Were some of these amazing claims somewhat exaggerated? Possibly. Nevertheless, exercise is good for you. More modern forms of the slant board exist today. You can use the decline bench with weights to build core and abdominal strength. Advocates of ‘Inversion therapy’, where which you lie on a slant board with your legs raised above your body, believe that this practice can relieve stress, ease various types of back pain and improve your breathing. They revere the work of Dr. Bernard Jensen DC (mentioned in the Messenger article) who discovered and wrote about the positive health effects of slanting in 1933.
Advertising tactics have not changed. Health conscious Americans and Hollywood celebrities use the slant board, so you should be modern and buy one too. It looks like using the slant board will make you look glamourous too.
This fabulous new book, Women of the Arts showcases 50 of the state’s female arts personalities, including film directors, costume designers, singers, songwriters, actors, dancers, production coordinators and everything in between.
Produced locally, it was written and photographed by TTG residents Ali and Rocky Feo who have strong ties with SA’s arts world.
They have creatively and beautifully captured 50 of the leading women in the arts field highlighting the personal stories of identities such as singer Rachael Leahcar , Costume, Makeup & Hair Design expert Beverly Freeman, author Dylan Coleman, actor Michaela Cantwell and dozens more.
We have two copies – one for loan, and one for preservation in our Community History collection. You can place a hold here and you can also follow the book’s Facebook page.