Here’s a sad fact. When we hit a certain age (maybe as women over 40), we tend to think of ourselves as old and wrinkly. No more are we the beautiful young princesses we envisioned. We are done. Over the hill.
Yes, we know. You look in the mirror and try to resist focusing on age. But it’s hard. That’s because for women, whether we admit it or not, two potent mythical figures course through our psychology. One is the maiden or, in modern terms, the sexy chick, and the other is the crone, or the wrinkly old lady.
We know the maiden well: she’s the beautiful young princess and we’ve been watching her in fairytales as long as we can remember. We know the crone, too. We just never imagined we might become her.
How the Crone is Killing Your Sexy Chick
Who is the mythical crone? Typically, she’s an older woman, and in some folklore, she is evil. You know, the wicked witch. But at the benign level, the one we are more afraid of (because hey, we’re so not evil), she is grandmotherly and asexual. Certainly, she’s not a sexy chick.
The crone psychology is powerful. It is insidious. It is destructive to enjoying life. Indeed, women across a wide age range—sometimes even beginning as early as their mid-thirties—become prisoners of the crone psychological myth.
The scary part about this destructive image is the fact that it does damage to our psyches. How? It unconsciously affects a woman’s perception of her attractiveness as she grows older. Beyond the psychological forces at play, these elements promote a negative viewpoint:
- The image is furthered by women’s willingness to accept as a biological fact that a woman becomes less alluring as she ages. Older men don’t seem to have this problem; think of the distinguished older gentleman.
- Socio-cultural influences often make it unseemly for older women to dress or act in a way that highlights their sexuality.
- Sexy older chicks don’t exist for the ordinary woman—that’s for celebrities who have the money needed for the high maintenance it requires for an older woman to look young.
One poisonous offshoot of the crone psychology is that as women age, they may start to feel like “sidebars” and not the main event. That is, we become peripheral figures. As a result of this type of thinking, our sense of sexuality is diminished. Thus, we may feel somewhat invisible to others. We believe we can no longer redeem the “pretty girl discount.” These thoughts and feelings lead to the idea that older women are “expired products.”
How do you know if you have swallowed the perception that you are beyond your shelf-life and what can you do about it?
How to Assess Your Crone Quotient
First, you need to assess your “crone quotient.”
- Has there been a slow loosening of concern over how you look: not styling your hair, wearing ill-fitting clothes, not maintaining good physical health?
- Do you reject certain styles because, “they’re for young women.”
- Do you dismiss yourself as “old” in a joking way?
- Do you reject engaging in new activities or ventures?
How to Embrace Your Beauty
- Pay attention to your skin, your hair, your body and keeping it in shape is healthy narcissism; making this the only focus is pathological narcissism
- Focus on your appearance—make sure you wear a style that suits you, colours that enliven you; that’s not being superficial, it’s taking care of yourself
- Be energetic and enthusiastic, look to learn new things
The crone psychology is insidious and poisonous to living a joyful life. Reject it soundly. You are not a sidebar, you are the main event. Believe it.