Mary, we need to talk about women’s bodies.
Do we really dear? Not whilst we’re eating, surely?
I don’t mean in a disgusting way Mary, but in a “aren’t we wonderful just the way we are made” way
Well, speak for yourself Agatha, but I keep mine fully covered at all times nowadays, even in the shower!
I think we should be proud of them, I mean look how far they have taken us in our lives.
Are you talking about that trip to Margate Agatha?
Oh, now that was a lark but no, Mary, what I mean is we should be grateful that they have given us strength, borne our children, allowed us to do everything we wanted to. That’s amazing, isn’t it?
Yes dear, I suppose you are right. But what particularly are you referring to?
An article, Mary, written in the broadsheets this week, about how female body image is stopping girls and women joining in with healthy sporting activities, and that is such a shame.
That is a shame Agatha dear. Do you remember at school, we didn’t have PE kits like they do nowadays, we just had to tuck our skirts into our large grey wool knickers and get on with it!
Perhaps that’s why boys are being allowed to wear skirts at school now?
Well dear I think that is an entirely different matter which I don’t feel I have the energy to discuss yet, so let’s put that on the back burner for the moment shall we? Another crumpet dear?
Ooh yes please Mary, they are so delicious and as its now OK to eat fat, I don’t have to feel so guilty. And, as I was saying dear, we all joined in, didn’t we. There was none of this judging the size of your thighs back then.
And a good job too, for you I mean Agatha.
I’m proud of my thighs – Mama used to call my thighs stout which I always loved, until I discovered it was also used to describe sticks and boots!
I’m only teasing dear, I think you are still a topping lass!
Well, thank you Mary, but getting back to your point, are we saying that girls are feeling pressure to look perfect all the time, so getting sweaty out on the field is just not done?
It’s hard to know exactly why, but there are some shocking statistics out there. Apparently only 12% of 14-year-old girls do enough exercise, meanwhile one third of girls aged 12-15 in England are deemed overweight or obese.
Odd that no one cites the figures for boys isn’t it dear, I mean just look at old Tubby Fortesque, he didn’t get his nickname because he was playing sport now did he?
Absolutely not dear, but clearly these figures show that something needs to be done. But what is confusing is that there are lots of female sporting role models out there, getting sweaty and winning things. So you would think that girls would be inspired by that?
Yes, but also these are the top people, aren’t they. And your average girl is going to feel that she will never achieve that level of success, it’s too hard, she’s the wrong shape, she doesn’t have the right trainers or tracksuit, so she just doesn’t bother.
Yes, I see your point Agatha, but don’t you think that this has something to do with the school set up? I mean you don’t have to just do sports – dance is a really good way of getting fit too.
I do think agree schools are putting too much focus on classroom learning, and not enough on getting out and running about which we used to do all the time – Nanny was quite infuriated when we would play outside with the other children, but there again we didn’t have all those computer things and of course it was supposedly safer for us then – there certainly wasn’t the amount of traffic there is nowadays.
Absolutely dear, but sport is important for parents too and even better if they can share these things with their children. I’m not sure we were very good at that, back in the day. I do remember you and I sitting in the park watching the little ones play, we didn’t join in with the dashing about, did we?
Certainly not when I was in my corset dear, but I did once go on the trampoline with the wee ones. Nobody told me that after childbirth, bouncing up and down is simply not an option for women.
You were one of the wee ones that day, weren’t you dear!
Yes, don’t remind me, Mary
That’s not a picture of us on the trampoline, Mary dear.
No, but it reminded me of that day we spent in Margate, and they are wearing jumpers!
Horse riding, that was another thing we used to do in our youth!
Yes, and it may account for your thighs dear heart!
Just for that comment, I am not going to offer you another slice of that delicious banana cake cook has made.
Oh do forgive me, I am only envious Agatha. And I did just want to say that I think the media, once again, bears some responsibility for putting girls off sport. It’s getting better, we do see more coverage of women’s football.
And don’t forget the cricket dear – fabulous game that it is.
But tennis, for example, the TV is broadcasting the men’s tournament at Queens Club, but much less coverage is offered for the women’s tournament at Eastbourne next week. How is that right?
Well, of course it’s not right. And they would argue that it’s about audience demand. But I think it goes further than that. Our media have a responsibility to cover the full spectrum of sporting activity, not just on TV but newspapers and radio coverage. If we all talk about women’s success at sport much more, it will filter down.
And, the media should take heed, we don’t want images of impossible bodies plastered everywhere which make your average teenager feel inadequate. Take that “Are You Beach Ready?” poster campaign with the airbrushed model who had a shape even Barbie would find it hard to emulate.
Ah, but we were like that once dear – none of this protein diet stuff and nonsense for us, it was the rationing that gave us our wonderful figures. I’m amazed that the government don’t bring it back dear. Who knows maybe if we come out of Europe we’ll have to go back to it!
You’re getting very radical in your old age Agatha, I think we all need to make a lot more noise about this unfair and unreasonable portrayal of what women should look like. After all, those pictures are not even real, are they? Hairbrushed – I think they call it. So even the most perfect specimen (in current tastes) of womanhood is painted over.
Should we chain ourselves to the railings with banners again, Mary?
That would be a good idea, except I think people wonder what we’re doing. That’s a picture of Olive Croissant in her younger days. She was always a bit batty, I mean, that chain is only tied in a loose knot, I don’t think she was taking it seriously at all. Do you know what she’s up to these days?
Actually, I heard she had set up a home for stray cats in Haslemere with her friend Fanny Chevaux. Anyway, lets just have some more cake and look at your catalogue of swimsuits for older ladies. I fancy one with a long skirt attached, and a little cape to cover my shoulders. We don’t want to frighten the horses do we?
Banana cake recipe: