Mother Courage-Dorothy Rowe


Photo by Mike Flemming .Copyright


“She acknowledges that modern women have the advantage of not living in a society ruled by sexual taboos and secrecy – ‘my mother never even told me the facts of life’ – but also observes that an insistence on the overriding importance of sex can be equally oppressive. ‘Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity, and had some children, if you want them, then there are more interesting things to do. I remember a survey that showed that the majority of women preferred gardening to sex.When I say that to women in their fifties they usually laugh and agree. All this emphasis on having to enjoy sex as you grow older – why?’ Rowe has an equally no-nonsense view about women’s struggle to stay as slender as the celebrity blueprint – ‘We don’t have to believe that simply because a woman is very thin she sets a standard that has to be emulated’ – nor is she convinced by the punishing diet and exercise regimes adhered to by a female icon such as Madonna. ‘Your experience gets written on your face. Her face is very hard, and there aren’t too many laughter lines. It’s a tough, unsmiling face, and that’s a bit sad, for a woman who has achieved so much.’ As you might expect, she is no more impressed by the 21st-century vogue for cosmetic surgery. ‘General anaesthetics are serious – they carry a risk of death – but to have one in order to get a bit of your body changed is the utmost foolishness.’ Her dismissal of human folly is, however, tempered with sympathy; so that when we talk about the sheer physical horror of a face-lift – your nose being broken and your face destroyed before it is rebuilt – she says, ‘How little you must think of yourself, to choose to do that to yourself. That’s so very sad.'”


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