Today's Fairy Tales: The Fearsome Old Woman
Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil is a story for women "of a certain age," a phrase that euphemizes our culture's terror of death and its association with age. The fairy tale about the older woman is that she is evil: stepmother, witch, queen, or mother-in-law. When was the last time you read about an older woman who was benevolent, who had her own story to tell, who was not merely an obstacle to some inexperienced younger woman?
Our cultural stories focus on the hero's journey—the quest, the coming of age, the loss of innocence. The end of nearly every fairy tale is the incipient wedding of the soon-to-be-princess. Where are the stories for the changes that come with marriage, with motherhood, with building one's life, with letting our children grow into adults, and then re-creating our own lives, again?
Older, experienced women (40s, 60s, 80s) have the same needs and desires as younger, inexperienced women: we want love, acceptance, meaningful work, recognition, and power over our own lives. Where are the coming-of-middle-age stories? How are we to continue growing as we age, how should we use our experience, and to what end? When did menopausal become medieval?
When my grandmother was born, women could not even vote, and women had little say in the management of their own property just over 100 years ago. Along with the massive shifts in women's rights, technology and information has come a massive shift in demographics.
The aging Baby Boomer is a new phenomenon in the history of Western Civilization—a group of people, predominantly female, crossing the far end of the middle-age divide into their 60s, many with their mothers still alive and going out dancing every Friday night. Never have there been so many elder women in any society. When my grandmother was born in 1903, her life expectancy was 47 years, and she almost made it. But three of her sisters lived into their late 90s. My mom is 80, and she's the cougar with the 65-year old boyfriend.
The young girl, the young woman that she was, is still inside this older woman, and while she has gained experience, she needs a way to navigate new freedoms and new limitations, new passages. Women live longer than men do. They only become evil and manipulative when they feel powerless, resorting to intrigue, manipulation and scheming to protect their interests.
Author Bio:Charlotte Henley Babb is the author of Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, available from Muse It Up Publishing (http://bit.ly/MavenFGM), Smashwords, Amazon and B&N. Her websites are: http://charlottehenleybabb.com and http://mavenfairygodmother.com
Maven's new dream job--fairy godmother--presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn't giving her the facts--and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?
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