Women of a Certain Age (ed by Jodie Moffat, Maria Scoda & Susan Laura Sullivan, Fremantle Press)
Once women turn 50, society deems them ‘invisible’. Women of a Certain Age pushes against female invisibility by compiling warm and honest tales from notable Australians. Readers from many backgrounds will see themselves reflected: Pat Mamanyjun Torres talks about mirdanya, or ‘elder-status’, which Indigenous women receive in their later years, while Charlotte Roseby’s experience with cystic fibrosis reveals that ageing is a blessing. Jeanine Leane muses on the policing of Indigenous identity (‘Whitefellas never can decide what kind of Blackfella they want. The bar is always shifting’); NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi tells us how flying kites as a girl in Lahore, Pakistan, gave her the skills she uses in politics, and Krissy Kneen is characteristically vulnerable when exploring an ageing sexuality. Histories featuring violent men, aimless adolescences and homelessness in youth are told by professionals, grandmothers and leaders—with pride. The language is immediately accessible, as if the writer were chatting over a cup of tea. This anthology, for women in their 60s and above, is a charming collection of personal reflections and life stories, and it demands we witness ageing female lives with open eyes.
Louise Omer is a writer and critic