Retro Heaven

History and Artwork of Petticoat Magazine

!960s Young Women’s Magazine and Artwork..

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Petticoat, a weekly magazine for young women ran from 1966 until 1975. launched by Audrey Slaughter who recognised the shift taking place in Britain to a more open and liberal younger woman it quickly caught on in an already popular market. It was an exciting time to be a young woman in the sixties, the shackles which had held previous generations back were beginning to be unlocked and teenagers and young women could discuss taboo subjects more openly and freely.

The magazine like most others during and after the period offered the reader advice on love, sex, healthy eating, hair and make-up maintenance and a problem page ran by none other than the late Claire Rayner. Other contributors included Annie Nightingale and Janet Street-Porter.

Petticoat differed from other magazines of a similar ilk by publishing weekly. It was thinner than most others in its category with glossy pages and a cheaper, supermarket style feel to them.By the late 1960s the artwork accompanying the short stories (usually about love in all of its guises) stepped up a gear. There was a greater freedom of artistic impression afforded the artist and this shone through in their depictions. Despite the era it was still pretty fair in favour of the woman, yes, they still portrayed the innocent look in some pictures but in others they looked more assertive, lending a more positive outlook for their readers to follow.

Magazines have often had much to answer for in their portrayals of subjects and often the storylines were, and indeed continue in some cases, to be somewhat undermining of women in particular. I have never quite understood how women could and can write for and about other women in such a manner. But love sells and if you are going to write about it then you may as well illustrate it accordingly. The artwork is so of its time, there is a naivety to some, suggestive sexism in others but either way they are a part of our cultural history. Often the artist were not credited for their work, which is a shame.

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