In praise of older women – no thank you!

Robert Graves (The White Goddess) and the neo-pagans have a lot to answer for with their triple Goddess. We seem to have imbibed that whole “maiden-mother-crone” schema. It brings us all those stereotypes that I believe are best avoided – the girl who must be beautiful, the woman who must be a mother and, after a certain age, all that is left to us is our wisdom! These are gender roles that have existed for thousands of years!

I tell you now, I don’t intend to be a crone – even one honoured for her wisdom! In reality, the most famous of the ancient Celtic triple Goddesses is Brigit, the daughter of the Dagda (Father God), often called “the poetess.” The story goes that there were three of Brigits, all sisters–Brigit the Poetess, Brigit the Smith and Brigit the Doctor–patrons of their respective skills. But they are all the same age. Brigit’s multiplicity implies that she is a master of many arts – all valuable.

Having said that, I am getting very tired of having to live with baby boomer stereotypes of the older woman! I don’t want to live in a world where I am constantly reassured that there is ‘life after fifty’ or ‘life after sixty’ (are we now to live in fear of seventy?). I have lived through fifty and have passed sixty – so I know there is life beyond!   I don’t want be praised for looking good any more than I want to be praised for being able to complete a full day’s work! It makes me feel like a performing seal and I don’t need your fish! Will I be a failure when strength fails and I can’t keep up the ‘standard’ anymore? If I want to dye my hair there is nothing noble about it! Nor is there anything noble or ignoble about going grey. It just happens, it is a personal choice and it is part of life! If you don’t like it that is your problem, not mine!

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8 thoughts on “In praise of older women – no thank you!”

  1. I am rather enjoying my chrone years so far. An aspect of the triple goddess much misunderstood. I love being old enough to know what I want and wily enough to figure out how to get it.

    As to being praised for looking good, doing a full day’s work etc, I do agree this is patronising. I don’t praise young workers for paying attention for more than 10 minutes!

    We just love to categorize and compartmentalise people – saves thinking!

    Well said that woman.

    1. HI Annabel – Thanks for this – I love being old enough to know what I want too! I just hate being praised for still being able to do ordinary things! It makes me feel like a dog walking on his hind legs. But I’m all for honouring the Goddess in all of us!

  2. I agree that some comments can be patronising. I think we are headed into a turning point for women. There are more professional, educated and successful women around than ever before in modern history. I would like to encourage a spirit of appreciation of others regardless of age, gender or any other label. One of the things we are challenging at GWiz are continuing stereo types about how the genders treat each other particularly in relationship.

    Love your wolf connection, I too am a wolf fan

  3. I couldn’t agree more! I recently celebrated my 60th birthday – and I do mean celebrated! Turning 60 has brought me clarity and the excitement that Life is still ahead and full of promise. I plan to live to be over 100 years old and I plan to live Life fully until I die. Yeh my hair is gray, I look like my grandson’s grandmother – and love being so! – and my knees creak, but who cares? I feel the power of my Life experiences up to now, the power of the education I’ve had and the knowledge I enjoy. I embrace the joy that there is still so very much yet to learn in the world, books to read and experiences to have. I have always hated being categorized and more so now. I’m not an “older woman.” I’m a person who is an artist, a business woman, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a sister, a friend…a person. Period.

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