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being me crone witch

‘Witch’ tweets reflect society’s fear of older women, says Mary Beard

An old oak tree at Aber Falls taken by Diane Woodrow

In an article from February 2021 the academic and broadcaster Mary Beard says how she is frequently branded a witch, which she believes is to discredit her and older women generally because people are fearful of them. I think she’s right. People are fearful of older women because of the confidence they exude.

As I have mentioned in May I turned 60 and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. All menopausal issues have gone. I feel like I have enough energy now. I am bold enough to say when I’m tired and take myself to bed. No one is going to ask me what I’m going to do with my life because it is too late for me to start a career. I don’t even care now that I did not have a career because I like where I am in life.

It probably helps that I do have a good life with enough money, a good house, children who are settled enough. In fact I have realised as I write this that I have reached the “enough” stage of my life. I’ve got rid of some of the issues that held me back through some expert QEC counselling so that helps too. I don’t feel like I have to say I am “x years young.” I want to say “f*** it why didn’t any tell me being 60 was so good”. But then are we afraid to say that reaching that last 1/4-1/3 of our lives is good?

In Caitlin Moran’s boo, More Than a Woman, she asks that question why didn’t anyone say what being a woman is like? Why shroud womanhood in mystery? I have to say menopause would have been less of a trial if other women had been more open about what they’d been through.

I think that the “witch” accusations and the “not being told it could be this good” come from that fear of having someone about that sees life as “enough”. It is threatening. It needs to be halted. In some cultures there is talk of “the crone” but I wonder if that is just halcyon days, rose-tinted glasses, and actually never was. When one looks at the way older women were treated through the centuries it is appalling. Thank goodness no one does burn us at the stake after calling us witches.

I will ponder the quote from Mary Beard as I rejoice in being 60, in my health, in my confidence, in my freedom, while it lasts.

By dianewoodrow

I married Ian in 2007. I have two grown up children, who I home schooled until they were 16. My son has just joined the army, my daughter has just moved to Cardiff.
I have a degree in History and Creative writing and a PGDip in using Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes.
Until Feb 2016 I lived in a beautiful part of England and now I live in a beautiful part of North Wales where my time is filled with welcoming Airbnb rental guests, running writing workshops, writing, serving in my local Welsh Anglican Church, going for long walks with my little dog, Renly, and drinking coffee and chatting with friends

4 replies on “‘Witch’ tweets reflect society’s fear of older women, says Mary Beard”

I am so with you on this, at age 63 I’ve never felt more myself. I teach pre-k and many fairy tales have to do with the old crone/witch single woman living in the woods and having to be feared.

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So how do we go about changing this? How do we either change the tales or stop people being afraid of the freedom we can bring to society?
I’ve just read Martin Shaw’s version of The Handless Maiden and in that the king’s mother is supportive as are the group of older women living alone in the forest. Well worth a read. It is in his “Smoke Hole” book

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I’ll check it out, thanks. Not sure how to change this, perhaps over time people will learn not to be afraid of older and wiser women, it’s been a thing for so long. People afraid of the power of women, especially the ability to give birth

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“People afraid of the power of women, especially the ability to give birth” Most definitely!

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