Burn it at the stake!
I’ve been reading feminist theory for several months, curling up most recently with Goddesses in Older Women by Jean Shinoda Bolen. Many authors use the word “crone” as if it’s a dignified title for women, using “crone” and “wise woman” interchangeably.
A friend’s dissonance with the word “blog,” permitted me to examine my own opinion. I dislike the sound of “blog” and wonder, Why have we embraced such an ugly word? Along with others, my speech is punctuated with the ugly “blog” and “blogging.” My friend’s bold resistance freed me to express other convictions about words.
No matter how many lovely descriptions I read of who a crone is, the word fails. It fails totally. Most miserably. “Crone” bombs worse than “blog.” Especially concerning is that together they describe me, “A crone who blogs,” or “a blogging crone.”
Without thinking of the meaning, just hearing the sounds of “blog” and “crone” in the sentences above, we might deduce I’m a mass murderer, or at least someone who is seriously mentally ill. Sounds are important. They are meant to aid the meaning of words and sentences and evoke emotions as they dance or crash, or we feel their breeze—they do perform these functions.
The dictionary definition of crone affronts, “a mean or ugly old woman,” and the synonyms bite, “hag, witch, shrew, hellcat.” The sound of the word equally troubles. “Crone” sounds like someone groaning in pain.
Do you hear it? Crone.
It also conjures an image of a long beaked bird—a very homely one with repulsive colors.
Every time I read “crone” I cringe. A cringing crone, who has long doubted the word but never spoken up until today, cries, “Down with crone!”
Down with everything the word actually stands for—the hatred of women. Why do we woman call ourselves this? Why do we call each other this? Why do we keep using the word in scholarly and mass-market publications about the topic of woman’s third phase of life? How is this respectful or uplifting?
Clearly, the English language needs a new word to accurately and eloquently name mature women who possess practical, applied wisdom, spirituality, intuitive insight, compassion, restorative humor, and ability to transform strangers into community.
The hundreds of women around me of this age and quality are beautiful, vital, precious. There are millions more. We deserve a proper name.
As “blog” is the contraction of “web log,” perhaps we can consider a merging of words to form the meaning we require. What about taking the concept “wise women live to love” and develop a word that speaks this ideal and truism? Love is seminal to life, and women, by nature, understand and embody this. Taking letters from each word of the meaning we want to convey we have “sewomilove,” or “semelilove.”
Clearly I’m not good at coming up with a new name, but there are lots of wise women who can. Down with crone; in with _______.