Saturday, May 31, 2008

Unfeminine Women In Feudal Kent

I stumbled across this gem of an article in the Daily Herald, 7 September 1921:

STRUCK MATCH ON BREEKS! - Councillor Clark Shocked By a Land Girl - "IN FEUDAL KENT"

"When I was home on leave during the war, a land girl came into the local inn, called for a pint of beer, took out her cigarette case, tapped a cigarette, and struck a match on her breeches! I had to ask whether the creature was a man or a woman."

This experience befell Councillor Donald Clark, of Tonbridge, who has been interviewed on the new fashion of cigar-smoking for women.

"This new feminism," he says, "means that women are rapidly losing all their old charm. Down here we do not yet see women smoking cigars, but even in feudal Kent, they smoke their cigarettes quite unashamed."

In short, Councillor Clark thinks that the cigar-smoking young woman is gravely imperilling her chance of marriage.

What a corker. It reminded me of an article in the Hackney Gazette in the 1990s by our then Labour MP (now LibDem ex-MP) Brian Sedgemore. He used his MP's column to rave against the evil weed, commenting that there was little he found less attractive than a woman smoking. I replied to the following week's letters page, pointing out that there are many compelling reasons for women to give up smoking, but becoming more attractive to Brian Sedgemore was not one of them.

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