Home > Culture > WiseTalk WildWomen

WiseTalk WildWomen

Council Oak Books RRP $38.95

Gwen Mazer shares the experience of interviewing 21 women in their sixties or beyond: women whose fields of expertise range from Maths Educator to Poet, from Congresswoman to Artist, and from Social Visionary and Futurist to Co-founder of the United Farm Workers. This tapestry of conversations weaves together common experiences – the ‘who and what’ which have shaped their life choices – and reflects on their future as they see them.

The journey of this book challenges the way in which Mazer’s culture defines age with the emphasis on being young and the endorsement of any measure which maintains a youthful appearance. In the face of “reality shows” which re-make and re-model in the name of beauty, this book is a celebration of age, of women and of the wisdom and life experience that comes as the decades of our lives add up.

The book is clearly American in its context and, as an Australian woman, I am left wanting to hear stories of Australian women who are growing old with courage, strength, energy and creativity.

Mazer, in her introduction, writes about the power in the book as “power that comes from the inside, from the core”. As I read I was conscious of the absence of any overt reference to spirituality in the lives of many of the women. These are indeed powerful women, yet the majority of them attribute that power to the influence of life and others on their journeys.

These women have changed the world; they have risen above poverty and suffering; they have thrived despite great difficulties; they have inspired and led others to new places; and they have demonstrated that even the most difficult transitions in life can lead to unexpected and amazing outcomes. It is difficult to believe these women have done so without being grounded in a spirituality of some form or other.

For me WiseTalk WildWomen would have been richer for a deeper exploration of this dimension of these women’s lives.

Reviewed By Carol Bennett, Assistant General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Queensland