Wednesday, February 02, 2022

The older woman (again)


Cornelis Ketel,
portrait of woman
aged 56

Shall we talk about age, then? Its challenges (incontinence, unreadable text, mumblers),  the advantages of retirement, why some of us are ashamed of the time we've spent on the planet instead of owning the idea of accumulated experience. 

Is the noun, elders, a way forward, instead of the adjective, elderly? And when an organisation represents itself with a wall of faces in an amorphous age range of late 20s to late 40s, is it time gently to point out the demographics of the northern hemisphere? 
Sojourner Truth

In the spirit of my 'words for women', versions 1 and 2, I have browsed the historical thesaurus to find words for old. There were the obvious, but I was struck by 'wintered', 'ripe', 'far', 'crusted', 'badgerly'. I liked the collective noun, an 'ancientry', and wondered about the lives contained in the word for old age, 'anecdotage'. 

Generally, an old woman is not well served by the English language but there was something in the word, 'pantywaist' from the historic thesaurus that I found beautifully clownlike and reminded me of Goya. I'd love to know how other languages treat the old. 

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