Mother, spinster, crone: No matter your path, ALL women are subject to criticism

November 1 | Guest post by KK-Rivers
Portrait of a Vibrant Fashionista by KrispKolaczki

Everyone has fallen in love with the trope of eccentric, old blue-haired ladies, decked out in gold lamé jackets, sheer stockings, and large chunky antique costume jewelry. In their blood pumps a curious mixture of piss, vinegar, and glitter. Their filter is long-since broken — they'll say anything they damn-well feel like saying, and more often than not it's beautiful, sparkle-encrusted wisdom slapped with a whip-smart cadence.

They're honest, they're the tellers of brutal truth, they're relics. They're treasures. We all know this.

But what was life for them as young women?

Were they treasured then? Or ostracized and discarded? Did people hem and haw over every choice they made, each one rubbing the status quo harder against the grain? Were they haunted by being the voice of dissent? Did they care as little about the opinions of others in their formative years?

We've all seen it: Tenacious and spectacular women — those whom Kerouac would call The Mad Ones — rounding their edges after their children were born, getting lost in chasing small beasts around with rags and screaming their burning questions about the status of little hands; are they washed or not?!

Settling over them, a dull cloud. They feel as if they've lost their sexuality, then they suppress or weaponize their feelings, and finally they start wearing fanny packs and Crocs. They lose the identities they previously had, all absorbed into The Mother.

They grow bitter, mean, judgmental. They cry when no one is watching, lost somewhere between never thinking their shit is together, and never being able to get their shit together. They throw themselves into making their families look Facebook-beautiful and desperately trying to keep guests out of their house because it has the presence of children in it.

Society also poignantly dispels the notion that one can be the comfortable opposite. How often are women who choose their career, pets, or husband over the raising of children demonized into awful words: Spinster! Hag! Barren!

Collectively, the childless are judged as selfish. Hordes of people wait for the news of women who resolutely refuse to birth children that they are pregnant. On bated breath they wait for these announcements. Conversely, a portion of the child-free sigh big angry breaths. There goes our mascot!

What the Judges seem to forget is that in each of these announcements, or lack thereof, there is an individual human being who wishes to make their own choices and not be judged by a mass of other humans that aren't even directly involved in their lives.

None of these women should be subject to criticism.

I know that unparalleled is the devastating agony of seeming like a failure. But remember this my Mad Ones: As long as you feel liberated by your choices — rather than confined to a role as a mother/child-free/crone/etc — you will do an incredible job.

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  1. Thank you for writing this! It takes painful years to learn, by trial and error, that no matter how hard you try to please others, no matter what you do, somebody will condemn you anyway, so you might as well be yourself.

    1 agrees

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