Sometimes I get called a crone just one too many times when I go out in public, and I have to take a step back and ask, “How exactly is a crone defined?”
That’s when Wikipedia steps up to the plate like a helpful but chauvinistic knight (the original fratboy) in the Middle/Dark Ages (also known as Sunday afternoons), and proclaims the following as he’s waving a “Feel Free to Edit” banner whilst riding on a high-speed connection horse:
The crone is a stock character in folklore and fairy tale, an old woman who is usually disagreeable, malicious, or sinister in manner, often with magical or supernatural associations that can make her either helpful or obstructing. She is marginalized by her exclusion from the reproductive cycle, and her proximity to death places her in contact with occult wisdom.
As a character type, the crone shares characteristics with the hag.
“…marginalized by her exclusion from the reproductive cycle…”!
Then I had to look up “hag.” I was just too curious, knowing my disagreeable and sinister nature.
It gets even better.
A hag is a wizened old woman, or a kind of fairy or goddess having the appearance of such a woman, often found in folklore and children’s tales such as Hansel and Gretel. Hags are often seen as malevolent, but may also be one of the chosen forms of shapeshifting deities, such as the Morrígan or Badb, who are seen as neither wholly beneficent nor malevolent. The term appears in Middle English, and might be short for hægtesse, an Old English term for witch. As a stock character in fairy or folk tale, the hag shares characteristics with the crone, and the two words are sometimes used as if interchangeable.
Interchangeable with crone, but also with possibilities for fairy or goddess advancement! I love it. Only women get this type of special folklore treatment.
I wonder if Madea would be considered a crone or a hag.
Yeah, don’t worry, I did the research.
Mabel “Madea” Simmons is a fictional character created by writer/director Tyler Perry. Based on Perry’s mother and aunt, Madea is an aggressive, grey haired, bespectacled black matriarch. She will argue with anyone, frequently threatens people by pulling a gun out of her purse, and is known for her unique pronunciation and enunciation of words as reflected in her tag lines, “I oughta punch chur in da face!” and “Get that man a hat!”
My favorite results of my assiduous research were this picture I found on Flickr under the title, “A Gaggle of Crones.”