Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Transit of Venus Year and My Handbag

It was a pretty interesting year for Australian women; what with the Prime Minister's slap down of the opposition leader after two years of personal abuse, Anne Summers' essay Her Rights at Work and an online guerilla response to Alan Jones' usual tirade that educated, powerful women will destroy the joint.
The turning point in all three happenings was the that online community rode rowdy roughshod over the old media guard, yahooing and swinging their bras and Yfronts above their heads. What happened next was what Benard Keane summed up as the rage of the prostatetariat. (prostatetariat being possibly the most magnificent word coined in 2012)

The media has been told for a long time that the internet will bugger their advertising revenue. But no one told them it would happen courtesy of social media campaigns as well.
This had a particularly amusing outcome of upsetting powerful old white men, the sort of people not merely used to running things, but doing so in an unchallenged, and definitely unmocked, fashion. No matter where you looked this year, there was some privileged old white guy angrily denouncing things. Gerry Harvey or Solomon Lew or Ray Hadley or Alan Jones (Old White Guy primus inter pares), or the entire Republican Party (brilliantly condensed into Clint Eastwood railing at an invisible person, an act so laden with symbolism it deconstructed itself in real time), or the old men of The Australian, from Chris Mitchell down, powerful elderly males infuriated that the world no longer gives them automatic deference, let alone allows them to run things unchallenged. 
The result: the rage of the prostatetariat.
(Here - and this is a great article)

The coup happened because even as Gillard's speech and Summers' essay went viral, and Jones was forced to apologise for some truly 'vile' comments (his advertisers were deserting him like nightclub punters after the 3 am spotlights are turned on), the old white men of The Australian completely misjudged the seismic shift that was occurring and tried to maintain their status quo of keeping a witch at the stake whilst wielding pitch forks and a box of matches.
Meanwhile the bloggers, twitterers and FB activists just got on with it and burnt down the prostatetariat tower within the week. No newspapers or matches required, thank you very much.

What happens when guys
like Paul Kelly, Chris Mitchell,
 Christopher Pearson and
Alan Jones misread their own readership.
Anyway, whilst on this feminist slant, I think I'll talk about my hair and I may at some stage move on to my handbag. There's also the slightly fraught question of whether, with my new status of grandma, I'll ever get laid again and if I do, will it be weird, uncomfortable and with all lights turned off. As MF keeps reminding me, I'm quite young for a 21st century grannie, which makes the whole nanna dating scene sort of strange. What to do. I've been angsting about a lack of boyfriend sauce for a while. A factor in this dearth may be living in a country town where the gender demographic is female heavy. Perhaps it is also being a nearly six-foot tall wild woman who gallops off at the hint of a gold ring and has a reputation of being a bit lippy, wins at arm wrestles. Grandma. All those states require someone quite um ... quixotic and special.

This paragraph has no bearing whatsoever on the above paragraph's subject. Of course someone will love me despite the twigs in my hair, I mutter defensively. Having run out of shampoo, I want roll with it and see how long I can go without washing it. Yes, there is a light aroma of woodsmoke and sweat. There's a few twigs and bottle brush flowers going on too. Like one of the Toa sisters, my hair thrives on the briny and I've always loved leaving salt in my hair for days after a swim. It gets glossier and shorter as the curls tighten and begin to dread.
Said sister was told once that her hair smelt and she should probably wash it. "But it's not itchy yet!" she answered. Mine's not itchy yet either. It's actually starting to feel really good. So there.

Personally it's been an odd rollercoaster 2012 of highs and lows. Some of them I've blogged about and others have been a bit raw to document online. Fishing out at Pallinup was definitely a highlight, along with getting my book signed by Fremantle Press (coming out this year, yay!) and Matilda Grace, ohh, that baby ... My handbag is honest testimony to my year: phone charger, diary, tampons, pocket knife, screwdriver, so-called smart phone, headlamp, ear phones, rollie papers, sandalwood oil, blue wren feathers, pliers, tissues, cable ties, a water bottle, puncture repair kit, asprin and crushed seashells. An apple and a book.
These items service my midnight visits to the whale graveyard, my own personal road side assistance needs, fish filletting habits, a night on the town, working out of town three days a week, living in a tent, roams around the red cliffs or to the sand bar at Pallinup, a funeral for a tiny blue bird, some minor emergencies, some major joys. One major joy involved the little plastic jar that my daughter made me cart around in my handbag for the last month, in order to salvage a portion of her placenta on the big day.
And all this ephemera lives in a canvas miner's tool bag that I cannot seem to give up for anything more feminine or elegant because it is just so bloody useful.

Oh - hey - Happy New Year everyone!
May it be happy and honest and fruitful.


  1. Such telling handbag items! CANNOT WAIT for the book. Do you have any idea of the month?

    1. November Ms PoW. Don't worry, you'll hear all about it. Right now, I'm going through another edit.

  2. I think this pretty much sums you up Sarah. We have known each other for about 20 years now, during which time I have watched you evolve into an even more determined version of yourself. Bloody fantastic.

    I don't doubt there is some bloke out there brave enough to take you on, and who will love your idiosyncracies. I'm afraid that you might have to make some compromises though. That's always the rub isn't it? Is it worth doing that? I guess if he is special you might.

    1. Thanks Michelle - and thanks for the Tower image idea. Of course, of course!

    2. I should have sent you a better quality one maybe.....but that's the version in my pack, and probably yours too?

    3. Yes, it is. I could have found a better version myself by anyway - the same message. Love it.

  3. Sailing through the blogosphere, I beached myself at your literary outcropping to explore the meaning that one of my favorite Homeric formulaic epithets has for you. What an adventure... I look forward to visiting this blog throughout 2013, since I have added you to my Scudding Under Bare Poles blogroll.

  4. Thanks for visiting Austen Ballad and happy new year!

  5. Happy New Year Sarah, I'm sure 2013 will only be good for you and in lots of different ways..

  6. And to you too Ciaran.

    ...succumbed today, mainly due to the twigs and evolving dreadlocks. Dishwashing detergent and a really good conditioner works on black Irish hair.

    1. Dishwashing liquid? Ah now, here. Go way out of that..

  7. If my sister were here right now she'd say, 'Sis, that dishwashing liquid is The Best. Gets rid of every itty bit of Pantene residue. Plus twigs!'

    Seriously though, it doesn't feel any different to the more expensive shampoos I've bought over the years.

    1. I asked people here and it is true!

      We've got an 870ml mega-pack of emerald green Fairy Liquid in the house. I'm gunna try it. Have to now.. :-)

  8. I have to admit Ciaran that I used the septic tank friendly/ earth friendly edition. But it is fine. In the end, they are all simply detergents.

  9. Loved this post Sarah. Loved it, thanks. Also keen to know when your book coming out this year.