In winter, on the ovals around this city, galahs are like pink and grey mushrooms nestled in the even stretch of grass. They feed very conscientiously. You hardly ever notice their heads coming up. They are usually in big groups spread over tens of square metres. And then a dog is let off its leash or a toddler comes by and, dog or child, they can’t resist the joy of running through the grazing birds and watching the bow-wave as the birds take off, the harsh scrape of their objecting voices.
A hundred years ago our world was that neat picture of manicured oval and conscientiously bent heads, earnestly living. Now we have been interrupted by something; we are all in flight, going different directions, not knowing how the pattern will resettle.
That something was feminism. It was inevitable. Women needed more recognition. Women needed to show that they have brains and aspirations and desires to be more than mothers and wives and housekeepers. Women had to bring about change, just as the birds must erupt away from the child’s toddling steps.
Right now, we are just flapping wings and squawking flight. But at some point, the galahs must land. That is inevitable too. Perhaps the galahs will settle in equal numbers on the ground and in tree branches. Perhaps some will bicker on powerlines. Perhaps some will pair off and build nests together in time for spring.
Nature figures it out. Perhaps we are still enough a part of nature to figure it out too.
I admit, all I can see is confusion. There is a lot of discomfort and indignation. People are trying to figure out where they belong and what their roles are. Many feel like victims of a rude disruption. Some are trying to give direction, to turn the messy take-off into an orderly flight-path. Others are tempted by a U-turn and an instant re-settle on that nostalgically verdant turf.
I’m just in the pack. I haven’t challenged anything. I’m a stay at home Mum and I’ve never had a career path. My days are filled with house-work, cooking, and podcasts. I’m not ashamed of being a stay at home Mum. But I am confused about feminism and where I fit in that story.
A few months ago I came across a Ted Talk by a trans-gender person. Paula Stone began life as a man. Despite knowing that she felt like a woman, she worked for a church, had a wife and kids and tried to ignore the inner messages. Finally, her inner voice grew too loud and Paula had a sex change. During the Ted Talk she describes how differently she is treated as a woman to how she was treated as a man.
I was so excited! Here was a person who had the benefit of knowing both worlds. I felt like this was irrefutable evidence that women ARE treated differently to men. And it’s not because of their capability or their brains. It’s just because they look like women. It’s ingrained in society. Seriously, it’s crazy!
But despite that initial excitement, I am still quite lost. I am just me. I do not feel like part of “team woman”. I don’t feel like I have a goal.
I am just a galah in a chaotic flock, looking for my own safe place to land. It seems a little inadequate.