“Mature women,” “middle aged” and “crone” hold an emotional charge for me. Admittedly, I assign more ageist attributes to women who are “mature” or “middle aged.” Words like boring, dowdy, crisis and mom jeans come to mind. While I know that crone can simply mean a woman who no longer menstruates, the dictionaries I consulted all defined her as a shriveled witch. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, on the other hand, helps elevate the archetype of the crone in The Power of the Crone, published in 2011.
With powerful women in mind, I recently asked my Facebook friends to complete a survey telling me which words they’d use to search for information on the web about women over 50 in the areas of lifestyle, career, Italian travel, Jungian psychology, and fiction and poetry. (Strange smattering, I know, but future blog topics.) The three words mentioned above were the most common.
People gave me words in their areas of interest, like gardening. They noted authors, like Sylvia Plath, and genres like soft porn (you read that right). When I tested the suggestions that might pertain to my blog, Google Adwords revealed the following number of times people searched those keywords:
Soft porn – 368,000 (A show of hands if you’re surprised.)
Mature women – 246,000
Crone – 60,500
Ageism – 33,100
Middle aged women – 18,100
Women over 50 – 8,100
Feminist poets – 5,400
Low impact exercise – 4,400
Walking tours Italy – 320
Archetypes women – 90
Some words came up zero times, including career ageism, poetry for middle aged goddesses, self-sufficient women, and women+poetry+elders.
If I write soft porn, I have an audience. Since I live in a small town, I’m going to stick with my original topics. Like Ms. Pinkola Estes, I will check my ageism at the door and help redefine what it means to be both mature and middle aged.