Prohibition Era  

Image: Andy Dean Photography/

YOU’D need to be well advanced in years to remember the “You’ve come a long way, baby” advertisements.

They appeared in American magazines which, when I first lived here, were a welcome change from Woman and Woman’s Own and light years away from Teresa – published by the Movimiento, the only permitted political movement at that time – or pious Telva.

The US adverts featured Virginia Slims, marketed exclusively for women, although in Spain women hadn’t even begun, let alone come a long way.

Females, “nice” females, didn’t smoke although I did.  They most certainly did not smoke in the street which, again, I did, although decades later I look askance at women smoking in the street. To be fair I also look askance at men who smoke in the street too, as no-one is more intolerant than somebody who has kicked a 60-a-day Ducados habit.

In the late Sixties there were so many things that a young woman didn’t do.  For instance, when lunching or dining out you didn’t directly address the waiter, but told your (male) companion what you wanted, who relayed your choice. And you never, never paid.

It was frowned upon for a young mother to carry a baby on her hip: “That’s what gypsies do,” my appalled mother-in-law told me, although I continued doing so for convenience’s sake in the days before baby slings.

You didn’t raise your voice in public and the last thing you could do was to cry.

“Why?” I wanted to know.

“If you ever see a woman crying in public, it’s because her husband beats her,” my own husband explained.  “It looks bad,” he added vaguely.

It wasn’t hard to see the logic, although neither was it hard to perceive that it was the beater, not the beaten who looked bad, laying the blame unfairly but traditionally on the woman.

Spain has come a long way since then and is much further on than that.  I hope.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at