being older

It’s odd.  When I chose it, I thought of the “olderwoman” moniker as a little edgy, sort of the wise and proud Crone of mid-1990s feminism blended with Anne Bancroft in The Graduate.  A lot of my friends had croning parties* in the 1990s, before I was old enough to qualify.   So I’m always a little taken aback when someone (so far it has always been a young man) thinks I’m somehow saying something humble or self-demeaning or depressed in my choice of name.  I’m not.

I had fun when I was young and I’m having a good time now.  The hardest part was in the middle, when I was raising children, but even that was interesting.  It’s interesting hanging out in the blogosphere and finding out how different the preoccupations are in different life phases.

*A croning party, at least in my circle, was pretty much a 50th birthday party with feminist pseudo-pagan rituals.  All the web sites I can find easily about it are trying to sell you something.  Relatedly, this made me think about Clarissa Pinkola Estés’s Women Who Run With the Wolves, which I read in about 1993.  To be honest, I found the Jungian analysis tough sledding but found the stories and myths thought-provoking and interesting.  I think I’ll re-read it while I’m on sabbatical.  I imagine the stories that speak to me will be different now that I’m in a different life phase.

Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. I keep my name out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with. You can read about my academic work on my academic blog --Pam Oliver

6 thoughts on “being older”

  1. i have trouble referring to you this way online (i typically shorten it or go with anomie’s wisewoman) and never really thought about why you chose it, instead focusing on how it made me feel (how self-involved am i???).

    thinking about it now and knowing you a very little bit from long ago, it fit my sense of you that you would go with a neutral descriptor. you’ve in the past described yourself as intimidating — i read you as very careful and deliberate in what you say, your blogging name reflects this as well.

    from my own perspective, women are terribly age conscious and every time i refer to you as olderwoman, i feel as if i am saying something wrong or insulting. it’s terribly silly but nonetheless… off-topic, glad to know life is better after the kids get older because i’m really tired!

  2. Here I thought I was being silly to think of The Graduate upon seeing the name “olderwoman”. Thanks for the unintended affirmation! (I did wonder, but defaulted to multiple meanings.)

    I would starve if forced to make a living at guessing ages or weights.

  3. I just figured your age was a salient aspect of your identity.

    It’s interesting to see how people react to certain kinds of statements and what it indicates about our own assumptions. I imagine most Americans (especially females) would read the statement “I am getting old” as having a slightly sad or even despairing inflection. Because old doesn’t equal wise or proud in most minds.

    The crone is an excellent case in point. What should be the wisewoman of the triad (maiden, mother, crone) has been misappropriated by modern society to become the pointy-hatted, mole-nosed, long-chinned, scraggly-haired witch on a broomstick, cackling madly while silhouetted against the full moon.

    We need to bring back those croning parties. That was a good idea.

  4. I love your posts, OW, Wisewoman, Wonder Woman, et al.

    Also, what is up with the trackback link? Also, it’s spelled “Foucault.” The “about” on that site is a little scary.

  5. Also, what is up with the trackback link? Also, it’s spelled “Foucault.” The “about” on that site is a little scary.

    Capitalists are scary?

  6. I never read your moniker as a negative, but that may be because I’ve enjoyed getting older. I’m 42 and feel like I’m at the top of my game. The only thing I miss from my younger days is my 21-year-old body — in those days, I could play basketball for four straight hours, and nagging injuries didn’t bother me. Now, it seems like I’m sore all the time. (Hey, get off my lawn!)

    I also mentally substitute “wisewoman” every time I see “olderwoman.” Wise, indeed.

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