'Hag', 'witch' and 'crone' voted most offensive terms for women over 45
There are certain words no woman would like to be referred to as (we probably don't need to spell them out!), but it turns out that females over 45 are on the receiving end of some of the most offensive labels by society.
Recent research has revealed that the terms 'hag', 'witch' and 'crone' are the most insulting ways to describe a woman in their forties and over.
The DAPS Agency and Perspectus Global polled 2,000 adults and found that 'hag' was the most derogatory term for middle-aged women. This new finding emerged ahead of their new white paper on menopause in the workplace.
Other less than flattering descriptions include 'witch', which 42% found offensive, and 'crone', which 39% were (understandably) less than thrilled about being called.
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Interestingly, far less, (23%), found the term 'granny' offensive, while more than a quarter of British women would be offended if they were referred to as a 'cougar' or a 'MILF' – no explanation needed.
While women may feel insulted being described in these terms, it's worth noting that some of the expressions surprisingly originate from positive terms, which 92% of British women weren't aware of either.
So could it be time to reclaim the language and 'own the crone'?
“The word crone originally meant ‘old crown’ and was given to the wisest women of the tribe," explains academic neuropsychologist Dr Rachel Taylor.
"Witch derives from ‘wit’, which again means wise and hag comes from ‘hagio’ meaning holy."
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Aside from negative connotations in years gone by, crones, hags and witches "were frequently leaders, midwives and healers in their communities," Dr Taylor adds.
But despite the terms having inspirational origins, it seems that they are still hitting a nerve with Generation X, who according to the same study claim to feel unattractive (43%).
Almost a third (32%) say they are washed out, and a further third (33%) feel unappreciated.
Other unpleasing findings include feeling less respected now they are older, which is the case for 28% of women in this age bracket, while a third say they feel invisible.
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It appears there's something of a gender gap when it comes to the way older women and men are described.
Over half (53%) of female respondents said that a man with grey hair is seen as a silver fox while a woman is seen as old.
It's little wonder therefore that 41% believe there is more ageism directed towards women in comparison to their male counterparts.
But on a more promising note, 37% believe that now they are older they know themselves better than ever, and a quarter (25%) claim that sharing their wisdom makes them feel empowered.
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Dr Taylor believes instead of feeling negatively about this period of life we should be looking to try and embrace the positives.
“It [menopause] is a special time," she says. "Only humans and whales have this built into their evolution; all other female mammals reproduce until they die, whilst menopause means that elders can impart their wisdom to grandchildren, freeing their parents to work.
"We should reclaim to positive usage of these words: own the crone!”