How was it for you by virginia nicholson review – women, sex and power in the 1960s books the guardian electricity in water

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I am a child of the 60s. I was born in 1950: all my teenage time, except the final two months, happened in that decade. In fact in the late 60s, while Paris burned, the police in Chicago beat up antiwar protesters, homosexuality was legalised, unmarried women were allowed gas laws worksheet answers chemistry to take the pill and the commercial exploitation of stretchy tights meant that skirts could get even shorter, my parents were raising five teenagers. It has taken me 50 years to appreciate and be grateful to them for how well they coped with this onslaught of energy. It was tough for them, but it was wonderful for us (and we are still all friends). “Old age forgets” but I cannot – and do not want to – forget, especially as a woman, that heady, wild, often confused but deeply optimistic period of my life when everything seemed possible.

So I fell with eagerness on Virginia Nicholson’s book. It is the latest volume in her chronicles of women’s lives in the UK over the last century and it is good fun: a steady march through the decade, taken chronologically rather than thematically, with lots of first-person voices, interesting odd incidents and a strong narrative push towards the electricity n and l establishment of the Women’s Liberation Movement at the end of the decade. Some sections are particularly effective, such as the beautifully narrated account of the action taken by Hull fishermen’s wives to secure safer working conditions at sea. It followed the “triple trawler tragedy” of early 1968 in which 58 men lost their lives in three separate wrecks. Direct quotations from the women involved are included in a powerful description of how this victory affected their consciousness and self‑confidence.

Nicholson is richly alert to class privilege – how many of the freaky, wild girls were doing it on Daddy’s money (helped, oddly enough, by the Queen, who cancelled formal “presentation” for suitable debutantes in 1958, thus taking parental pressure off preserving their daughters’ “reputations”). Nicholson electricity austin ranges widely and her story touches on both the famous and the anonymous.

Of course there are omissions. I was surprised to find only a brief mention of Cathy Come Home, Ken Loach’s 1966 docudrama about homelessness and maternal rights, which was watched by 12,000,000 viewers (roughly a quarter of the population) and led mafia 2 gas meter to changes in the law as well as the founding of two major charities, both still with us: Crisis and Shelter. It heralded a new type of TV drama tackling difficult social issues, which is now more-or-less standard fare.

The radical reconfiguring of mental health is also overlooked. RD Laing published The Divided Self in 1960 and The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise in 1967. Mary Barnes, an artist, was treated in Kingsley Hall, Laing’s controversial clinic, from 1965, where she underwent regression therapy. The idea that psychosis should be treated with compassion and engagement has been deeply electricity multiple choice questions grade 9 liberating for many of us – then and now.

Nor, more surprisingly, does Nicholson have very much to say about the rather extraordinary turn to eastern religious practices of which transcendental meditation is perhaps the best known. Yoga – as a form of exercise – is now commonplace, but 50 years ago it was esoteric at best and faintly druggy and pseudo-mystical in the alarmed eyes of the older generation.

How Was It for You? is social history-lite. It never quite cuts through the ephemera to the key question: did something really important and radical (culturally, morally, politically) take place in those years and if so why? If all that happened in the 60s is that women started wearing bizarrely short skirts and were freed from chastity by the pill, then really it would not seem to matter very much. But Angela Carter q gastrobar (among others) thought otherwise: “Towards the end of that decade there was a brief period of public philosophical awareness that occurs only very occasionally in human history, when truly it felt like Year One, when all that was holy was in the process of being profaned. And we were attempting to grapple with the gas variables pogil key real relations between human beings.”

And, frankly, I still find that I agree with her. Wearing those skirts, listening to pop music, having a good deal of frivolous sex and consuming various illegal substances were closely connected to reading groups studying Hegel and Marx and campaigning against a scary neocolonial war, in which 1,000 men were dying each month. Yes it was fun, “yeasty” as Carter calls it, but there was a strand of serious fun that I feel Nicholson underplays here. There is a lot of detail, but little examination of the why of the 60s. And therefore, particularly for women, all that followed remains mysterious.