I had a nostalgic half hour on the train today reading the 1972 Summer Special of Bunty that was free with the Guardian today. I used to read Bunty when I was younger, and remember the Four Marys well!
It's interesting to compare this magazine with those aimed at girls today. This edition of Bunty has a curious mix of traditional female stereotypes and feisty role models. There's a story about the Four Marys - four girls all called Mary from different backgrounds who are at the same school together - who have lessons on housework and get marks on how well they do the cleaning. But there's also stories about: 16-year-old Sally Stevens who runs her own business called Emergency 666 where 'she's ready to go anywhere and do anything to help her clients at a moment's notice'; Peggy the Promette, also 16, who rows out in stormy seas to collect Bob Moffat's lobster pots because his lumbago is bad - she and her friend get caught in a storm and have to cling to a buoy when their boat sinks but fortunately they know how to send an SOS message with a bell and a handkerchief and get rescued (Moral of the story: always have a clean handkerchief); and then there's Rose Budd who is starting a career as a model and has her photo taken in a haunted house to prove that the hair lacquer she's wearing really works.
Most entertaining story in this edition is about Carol Lawson who inherits Claremont College, a broken-down school where she offers to teach anything to anybody in order to keep it going. Her latest client is Mrs Ponsonby who brings her daughter Tommy to Clare and says, 'I am the secretary of FFF - the Feminine Freedom Fighters! It's a man's world, but we are working for equality for women. And the only way is for women to be the same as men, able to take over all their jobs. That is how Tommy is to be trained!' So Carol teaches Tommy - real name Thomasina - to box, march like a man, stoke the boiler and dig a ditch - after all that's what real men do. Then back comes Mrs Ponsonby to say that Great-Uncle Edwin has left them loads of money only if Tommy hasn't been indoctrinated by her mother, and a solicitor is on the way to check that Tommy is feminine enough. Cue changing into frilly dresses and trying to be ladylike. Fortunately Thomasina is scared by a mouse, proving that she is a real girl after all - so that's all right then. Anyone else remember Bunty? What comics or magazines did you read when you were younger? You can read a 12-year-old girl's verdict of this edition of Bunty here.