On Tuesday Australia celebrates the festival of the spray tan, also known as Melbourne Cup Day. The entire country will be on a high over-bronzed alert as women walk around looking like they have been spattered with wooden deck stain from Bunnings. Our foreign minister has travelled far to be there, but cannot intervene when it comes to refugees suffering on Manus Island.
I won’t be baring my pale body on Tuesday, I’m not up for the scrutiny. As I watch my face age every morning in the mirror, I’ve been thinking about how my fellow middle-aged women are coping with wrinkles. And how they are so distracted by their ‘beauty’ regime that they don’t have time to call out human rights abusers.
Recently, I stumbled upon the Instagram page of a mother I used to know. Her face was stuck in a wind tunnel and her lips resembled a boxer who had been punched in the mouth, but she still looked like a female in her late 40s. They weren’t Halloween pictures. She reminded me of Nicole Kidman, the selfies showed me a featureless face, every emotion and expression the same. And I thought about a generation of little girls growing up with mothers whose faces cannot express empathy nor frown, and who all have trout pouts. They are being taught that this is the acceptable female beauty standard. Like foot binding and removing ribs in generations past. Mothers who spend more time and money in salons than on teaching their daughters to change the world. What do these girls think of the disconnect between their mothers’ words and the emotion their faces can’t convey? Do they worry when they see kids locked up in refugee camps and their mothers are too busy inhaling nail polish in salons that employ uneducated women from poor countries to care? Why do females show their sons and daughters that a wrinkle free face that doesn’t move is how women must age? Why are our looks are more important than the plight of our fellow humans?
And more and more women in their 20s have immovable faces and puffer fish lips. On my vast single mother budget I have lots of money for day spas, so occasionally I get my nails done or a facial at a student beauty clinic. Last week a woman doing my nails must have been in her early 20s but I couldn’t really tell. She could have been shocked by my visible wrinkles, as her face only showed that she was startled.
Am I jealous because I can’t afford to do this?
When I told my 15 year old that I was writing this she said,
“Mum, don’t be mean about this woman, even if she does have a frozen fish face. She already feels bad about herself, that’s why she’s done that to her body.”
Pollard’s perfect single mother Sunday:
Gently woken from a sleep in by difficult middle child quietly whispering,
“I’ve cleaned my room and made breakfast.”
Fresh juice on the bedside table
Someone has changed the kitty litter
Breakfast in bed
Cancer is cured, affordable health care for all is announced
Tony Abbott has been silenced
I frolic in the park with a gorgeous man, cavort with my cocker spaniel and happily play frisbee with jolly well-dressed children, after 11.30am. Kids have silently scrubbed the bathroom and I haven’t had to get out of bed to stop them fighting
Long lunch at a restaurant with loved ones
Donald Trump is impeached; he, Putin, Dutton and Kim Jong Ugh have been shipped off to a labour camp in Siberia
Afternoon nap uninterrupted by school run
Ping pong tournament with silly people ends in giggles and singalong
Dinner of nibblies and wine provided by an anonymous benefactor, while having a great chat with dear friends = perfection
Turn on news: we have a fantastic indigenous female Prime Minister. She outlaws homelessness and makes companies who profit from food and housing illegal.
After a long, lavender-scented bath, I go to sleep in a freshly made bed
I wake up on Monday morning and youngest child says,
“I’ve made my lunch and I’m getting myself to school mum, love you, I’ll make dinner tonight, bye.”
Lou Pollard you’re dreamin’
Sigh. It’s June, cold weather has set in and I have so much to look forward to in the second half of the year; a colonoscopy, blood tests and boob squishing. I’ve just had my breasts woman-handled and squashed into a metal contraption, some people call it having a mammogram. After I breathed and tucked my pancakes back into my bra, I googled ‘who invented the mammogram machine,’ and surprise, surprise it was a man.
In Latin, mammography means ‘humiliating but necessary torment,’ and I’m sad to tell you that poor men miss out. Such a shame that the diagnostic tool for testicular cancer is not a machine that squashes testicles to the shape of a flattened cane toad.
Holy hell I can’t believe a female scientist/inventor in the last 50 years hasn’t said, “I can do better than this torture machine that renders boobs flat, I’m going to think up a method that is less arduous.” Yes, checking boobs is vital, I’ve already lost two friends to breast cancer, I get it, but when we have 4D ultrasound to look at unborn babies, why can’t we do better than this torture machine for women? Why can’t we get out of work good-looking model type people to feel us up, I mean force our boobs into the machine? That would be a good start.
I hope I get a good score on my boob test, but after breastfeeding three kids for many years, I don’t think my bosoms are going to appear in the next Baywatch film. Feel your boobies girls, or find someone hot to do it for you.
I received an email yesterday:
We are worried about the future of your mortgage
What mortgage? I thought as I lay awake at 3am. Then I found out that there’s a name for the cause of my insomnia: housing poverty. I pay 65% of my income in rent every week. I’m not in debt but I’m about three pay days away from severe financial distress. So most nights I wake at 2am wondering how I’m going to manage and stay awake until 4am.
Housing poverty occurs when people who fall in the bottom 40% of wage earners put more than 30% of their weekly take-home pay into housing, which reduces their capacity to save money and thus their financial resilience.
According to an analysis by the Council to Homeless Persons, those paying rent alone on the average weekly wage for women would be priced out of all but one inner Melbourne suburb and even outer Sydney.
Jenny Smith, the chief executive of Council to Homeless Persons and chair of national peak body Homelessness Australia, said the situation for many single women was untenable and left them vulnerable to homelessness in the event of a crisis, like losing their job or a high medical bill.
“When you look at your average single woman on an average wage, you can see it’s very, very difficult to rent anywhere reasonable,” Smith told Guardian Australia.
“If you do, you are essentially putting yourself into a poverty situation.”
Sydney is a wonderful city, offering so much, but how can we revel in art and music and the joys of life when we financially stressed to breaking point? Single motherhood can be an exhausting cycle of taking time away from work to focus on motherhood, then overworking to earn enough money to pay back debt. And this is compounded when children have any kind of health issues. Maternity leave when kids are small and most need an involved parent impacts women’s ability to earn enough to support their children. My financial stress is caused by:
- Ridiculous Sydney housing prices
- Father who doesn’t pay for his children
- Working in the highly rewarding but low-paid arts sector for my entire career
- No politician with the balls to take on negative gearing/capital gains tax and make affordable housing a priority
Single working women on average wages in Sydney and most of Melbourne cannot afford to live alone. Men can. Does that seem fair to you Bernard Salt? I’m going to keep eating smashed avocado as I can’t pay for my own home with room for all my kids. Oh well. I could possibly live in a bus shelter when I’m old and it will be peaceful sharing with our cat.
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun,” said Katherine Hepburn.
This week I watched a pretty young gal take her clothes off on stage accompanied by a piece of ‘edgy’ music. She had great boobs and a tight little tush but since when did stripping, also called burlesque, become something to challenge society? It is not a subversive act to dress provocatively unless you have a brain and an opinion that matches your wardrobe. Call me old fashioned but I don’t believe that getting your tits out is an act of radical feminism, unless it’s coupled with the will to crush the patriarchy. We’re ravaging the environment in the name of money, women are dying from DV at the hands of their male partners and females still earn much less than their male counterparts; the male-power dominated world needs to change radically. I don’t see how a bit of T & A is going to change that. Please challenge me on this, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
An old woman found an empty jar which had lately been full of prime old wine, and which still retained the fragrant smell of its former contents. She greedily placed it several times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards, said,
“Oh most delicious! How nice must the wine have been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume!”
The moral of this story:
‘What memory clings around the instruments of our pleasure.’
This is not necessarily an autobiographical fable