Talk about Feminism …

How do women gain self respect? Has it changed over the years?

Two women, over eighty, were thinking about what advice they would give to younger women today. They began to talk about the importance of self respect, and the conversation turned to Feminism and what life is like for young girls today. There’s some tension – one woman is much more staunchly feminist than the other – yet they find agreement at the end and reveal that men can learn to respect women from their mothers, just as much as they might do from a male role model.

Stick out for feminism – absolutely.

You what?

Think of all the women who went to jail, force fed!

Oh yeah, yeah, but that was extreme then, and we’ve got it now.

Oh yes, but you’ve got to keep it. They’ll do women down if they can.

Well, I’ll stick up for me rights in me own home and all that but I wouldn’t carry it too far.

But we still haven’t got equal pay have we?

Some women do though, some women have wonderful jobs.

I know, but we’ve still got Page 3 haven’t we, in The Sun?

Well that’s up to the girls themselves, come on. They don’t have to do it. There was one on the radio last week. She was going to go to university and somebody spotted her, and they asked her if she would pose and do modelling. She was with this agency and she ended up very, very well paid. That’s what she carried on doing instead of going to university. That was her choice. Nobody forced her.

She’s pandering to men though

Oh come on!

Yes, absolutely!

But people will always do that!

But this is what’s wrong!

You’ll always have that. If a girl wants to pose – I mean I think she’s stupid and I just don’t know how she does it – but it’s her own look out. Nobody’s forcing her to. If they don’t look at her, they’ll look at somebody else.

It’s like prostitutes. Nobody has to be one. Although some fall into it. But if men didn’t go there, we maybe wouldn’t be as safe as we are. I’m not saying it’s right, not by any means, but it’s there and nobody forces you. Sometimes women can’t do anything else but.

Well why do women have to cover themselves up from head to toe so that men can’t see them and have their naughty wicked emotions aroused?

Well they can have those feelings anyway. People have imaginations you know! Have you never thought anything naughty?

Hmm?

Have you thought anything naughty?

Have I thought anything naughty?

Yeah!

Oh god, yes

Oh well, there you go

Well I think women should stick out for feminism and keep plugging on. I think this is something we can teach to young women. Their body is their own. They don’t have to do what men say.

But you go out on a Saturday night in Ulverston or Barrow and you’d get a shock about what these young ladies get up to.

No I wouldn’t.

Yes you would. You would. I couldn’t believe it when I went on a night out a few years back. Couldn’t believe it. So don’t tell me that the men are making them do that. I wouldn’t let my daughter out the house the way they were. I wouldn’t let them over the doorstep. I don’t think some of them understand what self respect is really.

It’s harder for young girls these days. I think because of this pressure it is harder. We knew we had a line to tow, and that was it. They’ve got more freedom and but may not understand that if a boy says ‘all right, come on, yours or mine?’ you don’t have to. You get the impression that a first date is quite often a one night stand now – I don’t know but from reading the papers and reading novels it seems that it’s taken for granted.

You just hope that they’ve got good trusting parents. Parents who will look after them but not over protect them. You’ve got to let them go, you’ve got to trust. It must be very hard these days because they’re so strong willed. It’s not that easy. You hope that you bring them up gradually to respect themselves, you can’t thrust it on them at the last minute, they have to grow up respecting themselves and knowing why, haven’t they?

You know you may not call yourself a feminist but you have always stood up for yourself: you’ve been on your own, and have had to keep your end up as it were. You really have always stood up for women’s rights – not as ‘women’s rights’ – but as yourself. And you have a wonderful relationship with your son, he’s a wonderful man and knows how to respect women.

Well, yes. It could have been different I suppose. But I haven’t done anything consciously really – I’ve just done what feels right.