Karen Carpenter with her beloved drum kit. She was capable and confident while playing, but when she was forced to come out from behind the drums, front the band and wear dresses, that's when trouble really began. Photo from LeadSister.com.
Yes, I'm here to weigh in, once again, as an official old-timer chronicling How things have changed (belated-birthday edition).
Posts on this Feministe thread talked about weight gain:
We are? No, we aren't... and then I realized this is another age (class?) difference.
College does not make it easy for people who struggle with issues with food. Eating disorders are rampant, but rarely discussed. We’re all familiar with the glance to a friend’s plate, to see whether she is eating macaroni and cheese or salad, and the implicit self-judgment that follows
I don't remember growing up with this dynamic at all.
We didn't monitor each other. Even those of us trying to get thinner in dangerous ways, totally personalized this endeavor as our own private failure, and I don't remember paying any attention to what other girls ate, except to be jealous that they could "eat anything they wanted"--while I never could. I remember all of their ice-cream sundaes, but little else. (We didn't even know about healthy vs. unhealthy fats in those days.) Was this my working-class environment or the era I grew up in?
Back in the day, I recall eating disorders as way under the radar, and consequently, very easy to get by with. As a teenager, I starved myself repeatedly, and nobody noticed anything but the end result, for which I was widely praised. (Nowadays? They'd be onto me in 10 minutes.)
Karen Carpenter's increasingly-alarming, wispy frame was not remarked upon, except to say "Wow!"; people would say she was "dieting" too much. Because she was such a well-known, perfect, archetypal "good girl"--her death had an enormous impact on everyone.
Carpenter's death took recognition of anorexia into the mainstream, just as her music had been so accessible and mainstream.
MAD MEN continues to do a fabulous job in contrasting NOW with THEN. In the recent episode, we learn that a man who lost his foot to a riding mower (hilarious gallows humor) will also lose his job, all because of his disability: "He'll never golf again!"--may be the best line I ever heard. But anyone startled by that should remember, that is indeed the way it was in 1962. If they didn't like your disability, they could legally get rid of you for that reason alone.
Betty Draper's nightmarish birth experience (after smoking and drinking like a Rat Pack-member throughout her pregnancy), was another historically-accurate and thoroughly instructive exercise in How Things Have Changed. My mother, aunts, cousins and millions of other American women gave birth under such cruel, punishing circumstances during this era.
And remember: feminists radically changed the birth-experience for women, not pro-life fundies.
The ease and omnipresence of cell phones has made decades of phone-jokes and comedy routines (in vintage movies and television shows), truly incomprehensible to the kids. They don't quite understand how it was to get calls from people you don't know. They also don't understand that once upon a time, talking on the phone all the time was regarded as rude as hell, as well as socially inept and backward (like a teenybopper). Old movies such as Woody Allen's Play it Again Sam, in which Tony Roberts (movie-still at left) is constantly calling his answering service to leave his call-back number, was riotously funny back in the 70s... while also simultaneously communicating the idea that Roberts was unbelievably self-centered and narcissistic. But now? What, the kids wonder, is wrong with Roberts' behavior? OMG, the man must track down his unreturned calls!!!!
I am reminded of the social mores of the past that I regret losing...and phones in their proper place is one of these.
Not everything from the past was bad, you know. ;)
I got both a rainy day and a Monday...
Re: this video. Nobody could look good in that dress, why didn't somebody put her in some DECENT CLOTHES?! Always tried to make her look like some damn choirgirl. growf!
Rainy Days and Mondays - The Carpenters