“The most compelling thing I’ve read online recently is Helen Garner’s piece in The Monthly, ‘The insults of age’. Garner’s writing is always emotionally intelligent and always delivered with a clear-eyed grace, but this piece – her perspective on what it means to be a 71-year-old woman – is a particular gem. The cultural assumption that the ageing are almost-dead is felt keenly in her anecdotes on how invisible she now is, how patronised, how confronted. But it’s how she describes letting go of a lifetime habit of ‘feminine passivity’ and her subsequent unlocking of a kind of joyous rage that makes this piece beautiful and true and very, very funny.”
This review was published in the Griffith Review for April, in GReat reads: The best of the web from Griffith Review writers and editors. For the full article, see the Monthly magazine online.
Helen describes how, when entering a bar to have a drink with a friend, they were ushered to a table in the furthest, darkest corner of the room. On remonstrating, she was told ‘this is our policy, Madam.’ A policy to hide from view women who are no longer in the sexually accessible zone, who are not putting out signals to men on the prowl, who are mercifully free of the need to primp and pamper, who are free of scrutiny of the body, but have treasures of the mind, and a lifetime of experience, to offer?
See my previous Posts on Helen’s House of Grief and the Spare Room..
See also Anne Skyvington’s Blog at Write4Publish.wordpress.com for her article on Helen Garner.