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I hit a milestone birthday this year, and it’s caused me to do a lot of introspection. The first half of my life was pretty rocky, healing from a lot, making a lot of messes as I stumbled towards some kind of stability, and I’ve long suspected (hoped?) that the second half of life might be when I finally hit my stride. But even so, I’ve come to recognize how much internalized patriarchy I have in me about being a woman who (gasp!) ages.

I’ve come to believe this is really crucial for women and women’s liberation. Any “feminism” that has nothing to offer you unless you are young, hot and willing to sexually objectify yourself (ahem, looking at you LibFems) isn’t worth anything. I want to approach menopause feeling prepared. I want to approach aging not feeling scared of the changes in my looks. I want to subvert the cultural narrative that women lose by aging, that it is some kind of failure, but don't really know how. I sense that there are psychological rewards to this process to be found if only I know where to search for them. But there's not a lot I have found culturally to help us here.

If anyone else is feeling this way, I want to put something on your radar. There’s a year long course (for a very reasonable price of £260) called Hagitude all about this from author Sharon Blackie and guests (she wrote the amazing book If Women Rose Rooted). She also has a podcast on this topic and a book.

Here’s some of what she says about it:

If you’re standing on the threshold of menopause and looking for support to navigate this intense and transformative alchemical journey, this program is for you.

If you’re already on the road to elderhood, this program offers you a chance to explore your continuing journey more deeply, and also to pass some of that hard-earned elder wisdom down to others.

If you’re a younger woman who’d like to spend some time in the presence of elders, and help us develop the resources you need for the journey to come, then of course you’re very welcome too.

This program is based on the transformations that arise as a consequence of changes in women’s bodies over time – especially the hormonal, other physical and psychological changes that occur at menopause – and women’s embodied, lived experience. If you would like to join the program, please be prepared to understand and honour this.

The course starts October 1. I haven't read the book yet, but the podcast has been really good so far and given me a lot to chew on about how to rethink and reimagine this next phase of life.

I hit a milestone birthday this year, and it’s caused me to do a lot of introspection. The first half of my life was pretty rocky, healing from a lot, making a lot of messes as I stumbled towards some kind of stability, and I’ve long suspected (hoped?) that the second half of life might be when I finally hit my stride. But even so, I’ve come to recognize how much internalized patriarchy I have in me about being a woman who (gasp!) ages. I’ve come to believe this is really crucial for women and women’s liberation. Any “feminism” that has nothing to offer you unless you are young, hot and willing to sexually objectify yourself (ahem, looking at you LibFems) isn’t worth anything. I want to approach menopause feeling prepared. I want to approach aging not feeling scared of the changes in my looks. I want to subvert the cultural narrative that women lose by aging, that it is some kind of failure, but don't really know how. I sense that there are psychological rewards to this process to be found if only I know where to search for them. But there's not a lot I have found culturally to help us here. If anyone else is feeling this way, I want to put something on your radar. There’s a [year long course](https://hagitude.org/the-program/) (for a very reasonable price of £260) called *Hagitude* all about this from author Sharon Blackie and guests (she wrote the amazing book *If Women Rose Rooted*). She also has a [podcast](https://hagitude.org/podcast/) on this topic and a [book](https://hagitude.org/the-book/). Here’s some of what she says about it: > If you’re standing on the threshold of menopause and looking for support to navigate this intense and transformative alchemical journey, this program is for you. > If you’re already on the road to elderhood, this program offers you a chance to explore your continuing journey more deeply, and also to pass some of that hard-earned elder wisdom down to others. > If you’re a younger woman who’d like to spend some time in the presence of elders, and help us develop the resources you need for the journey to come, then of course you’re very welcome too. > This program is based on the transformations that arise as a consequence of changes in women’s bodies over time – especially the hormonal, other physical and psychological changes that occur at menopause – and women’s embodied, lived experience. If you would like to join the program, please be prepared to understand and honour this. The course starts October 1. I haven't read the book yet, but the podcast has been really good so far and given me a lot to chew on about how to rethink and reimagine this next phase of life.

15 comments

Elder women are so much more valuable than anyone gives them credit for, even elder women themselves.

Thanks for the recommendation, this looks really interesting.

Looking back, my sincere advice to younger women trapped on the beauty treadmill - spend at least the same about of time & money on establishing your economic independence.

Freedom is power.

I think one of the problems is that the former often feels impossible to many younger women. Maybe not literally, but if they want to study and learn to drive and establish a career and want children, which there’s only a short window for biologically, if can feel impossible for many I think. The economic freedom and stability feel much more out of reach for young women than for young men.

But being beautiful feels achievable. Loose some weight, get a skin care routine, learn basic nutrition and cooking, get a decent hair cut/dye and some on trend clothes.

All of those feel possible, within grasp, to a 16/17/18/19 year old. Finishing up a valuable degree, gaining the work experience needed, and getting a well paid, secure career established and a house bought, often all feel out of reach and so far away that by the time they get there, children wont be a possibility.

I agree with your point 100%. I just think it’s often hard for young women to feel these are within grasp. And things like extra shifts leaving them walking home alone in the dark or renting a crappy room in an unsafe area, are not the same choice for women as they are for men. In comparison to these, learning how to do make up or get fitter seem much more feasible choices.

Oh, i get it, there is a trillion-dollar industry based on getting women to be dissatisfied with their looks. Most women are not immune to the pressure. Definitely not blaming girls for getting hooked in by the machine.

But being beautiful feels achievable. Loose some weight, get a skincare routine, learn basic nutrition and cooking, get a decent hair cut/dye, and some on-trend clothes. I see nothing at all wrong with that, it can be fun and it helps women negotiate their way through society.

Guess my point is, while you are fine-tuning your skincare routine don't forget to fine-tune your financial literacy as well. So many women my age thought being married was a financially secure future. They are now the fastest demographic of homelessness. To be honest I think many more women will be going it alone in the future so they need to be prepared for it. When there is a financial shock to a country it is women who overwhelmingly pay for it.

Just learn to pay attention and start a financial backup plan.

YES. Also, stop consuming beauty-based media -- youtube, magazines, etc.

Focus on economic independence: this so much!

And building on your mentioning the beauty treadmill, my advice to younger women: your goals should be less about beauty and more about healthiness instead.

Thanks OP! I signed up. The mythological framing isn’t my thing, but I’m so sick of being gaslit and lied to and choking on the unrelenting stream of mendacious and/or incompetent studies, analysis, and reporting that I need some deep, eternal female wisdom injected into my consciousness.

Personally, I love the myth and archetypes stuff, but I get that it's not everyone's cup of tea. I hope you'll be able to just mentally navigate around the parts you don't like and still find a lot of that "deep, eternal female wisdom injected into [your] consciousness" (love that phrasing!)

Thank you for the recommendation; I have ordered the hardcover since the description - "interweaving myth, psychology and memoir" - reminds me of Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa P. Estés.

It's high time the "crone phase" is shown more appreciation. (looking forward to the release of Hags by Victoria Smith for the very same reason)

Yes, it does have a WWRWW feel, doesn't it? That book has been like a bible for me that I reread again and again when different situations in my life need a new perspective. I haven't ordered this one yet, because I am in the middle of too many books already and am making myself finish a few before I'm allowing myself to buy new ones. But now I've got another on my list - thanks for the heads up about the Victoria Smith one coming out. I'd love if this became a genre.

The books and audiobooks are on Scribd. It's an online book subscription service.

a bit light hearted, but I was very confused at "I've come to beehive.." :D

us younger women need older women by our side. you provide wisdom for us, and have so many valuable life stories. you have advice and perspectives. that's why men and society demonises elderly women so much - evil witches are usually older, the Karen stereotype, the "TERF" caricature.... whether consciously or not, men want younger women to stay naive so that they can be manipulated. older women's advice will provide an obstacle for that. it's just a large scale version of the isolation abuse tactic.

I hope I'm making sense.

So, so, so true! Most of us look back and can see the warnings we were given but didn't heed.

Indeed, airways remember a friend of my mother's sorry about her grandmother overheating her and her new boyfriend leaving their house one evening. When she returned, her grandmother asked hey to promise never to marry that man. Only overheard them leaving...

Reader, she did!

Ensured a couple of horrid decades before she finally being free. We often wondered afterwards what she heard him say; now we're older, we've realised the script they use only ever slightly varies. The same manipulations are used because they work!

That's why having other women around is great. We earn reach other add it's the same bullshit trotted out and used by every generation, with a few tweaks!!!

Reminds me of another story of a grandmother who had her granddaughter and her boyfriend over for lunch. It all seemed to go well. But after he left grandma pronounced "He's no good. Break up with him immediately". "What, why??" the granddaughter asked. "He took the last slice of cake!! And he didn't even ask! That's a selfish man who will never really care about you". The granddaughter thought she was being ridiculous, it was just cake after all.

Well, reader, she married him, and guess what? He was a selfish man who never really cared about her. They're in the middle of a very ugly divorce now.

Ha! Thanks for pointing out autocorrect typo. Fixed now.

I think you are totally right about the isolation abuse tactic and men wanting women to stay naive so we can be manipulated. I think that there are certain rites of passage we are meant to go through as women in such a way that they helps us wisen up and come into our true power and shed our ability to be manipulated, but patriarchy has twisted them and made them into something to be feared, or problems to be solved by (usually male) authority figures and medical industries. I'm thinking about menopause clearly here, but also birth and other moments of our lives. So what we have is generations of older women who are older, but not wiser, who still act like girls, desperate for the approval of men and waiting for someone to save them (thinking of my mother here).

And yes, intergenerational connection between women is so vital. This is part of why I don't particularly like the framing of "waves" of feminism, because it pits one wave against the one that came before, like a rebellious daughter rejecting her mother. Does any other social movement do this? The labor movement? Racial justice movements? Not as far as I can tell. By cutting young women off from the wisdom of those who came before, society sets them up for predation. And that is precisely the point.

Ok, I'm going off on tangents here, but basically I loved your comment and I totally agree.