The Slap: Women and Freedom

We have had a glorious day today taking our two youngest girls (real little people) to the zoo. When we lived in the city we were friends of the zoo and would take frequent, sometimes even weekly trips to the zoo. Occasionally we would actually go to seek out a special animal, other times we would go to play at the park with friends. The zoo was a central meeting place. No, more than a decade later it is a real novelty to go. With the hundreds of other holiday makers, mums and dads, grandparents all pulling toddlers and prams heaving with picnic food around the well trodden jungle paths. The occasional reluctant teenager is seen nearby to the aforementioned family, glued to the phone, texting madly and missing the spectacular performance of the elephant.

 But today as we ventured out I was struck again by the tribes of women I have left behind in the city. Where we live there are tribes, don’t get me wrong. Certain Western District types, women dressed in Bullrush clothing and Mummy Walnuts. But today I reckoned with a new crowd. The outer suburban Mum in plain Jane denim and loose top; the over dyed hair do of the nouveau riche, complete with big sunglasses and boots or the inner-city organic Mum in flared denim, some black (think short sleeve  Bonds t shirt over a long sleeve striped number), sensible Doc Martins or Birkenstocks completed with some oversized resin jewellery. I am aware that my local community lacks this aesthetic variety. Their fashion suggests something about the lifestyle, parenting, dreams and aspirations that the women in my home town rarely see. I sometimes long for more women with nose studs and artistic sensibilities to move into my home town. Freedom for people to be the woman God made each one of us to be….a bit like the animals at the zoo really. They are fabulous and it is such a spectacle to see them but they are not free.

This week’s promotional reviews and images for the ABC series The Slap, based on Christos Tsiolkas’ novel has depicted the very different urban women I talk about. I will be interested to see just how the series deals with women and difference. I felt Tsiolkas’ book had a strong male bias going on. Will the women there be free to be the women they were meant to be? If it is true to the novel I fear not. They will be caged by their own expectations and egos. I haven’t committed to watch the series yet because I know I have many friends who will do the viewing and post-mortem for me. Let’s wait and see.