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We all know that Parisian women have a reputation for being ultra chic, but did you know that their maturity and experience are even more revered as they age? Yes, Parisian women command, and perhaps it is because they also demand, respect. I like that! Especially now that I am in my sixties. I can remember my mother at my age, a different generation indeed, worrying that, in terms of society, she was becoming invisible and irrelevant.

Thankfully, times are changing. And yet, it has occurred to me that I AM in a bit of a twilight zone age-wise. I am no longer “middle aged” which sounded ancient once upon a time. I am now in the “older” woman category, and a senior of all things! Terms that I hate, refute and reject.

Instead, I prefer to be a “a woman of a certain age!”

Where did the term come from?

In 18th century England, “a woman of a certain age” was first used by poet Lord Byron to refer to spinsterhood – those “unfortunate” women who never married and had nothing to describe their sad predicament between Miss and Mrs.

Boo Hoo!

BUT…in France, “une femme d’un certain age”  had erotically or sexually charged overtones, referring to an “experienced” woman (in the 18th century that meant over 40!!) who could still entice young men into their beds. Hey — I have no plans to do that (I don’t think!) but I’ll take that definition any day. Vive La France!

For the first time in history, there are more women over 50 than there have ever been before! Think about that. So why not use our numbers to influence how we are perceived and valued now and in the future? Let us also command and demand respect! The nice thing about being women of a certain age is that we can be this in our 60’s 70’s 80’s and 90’s…We can ditch the numbers, and derogatory labels. A “woman of a certain age” all the way baby!

12 Comments

  1. Gill Fleming on October 2, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Dear Diana..congratulations, love,& blessings…YOU look wonderful…more like 30s than 60s !,!…delighted that you included 90s as “women of a certain age” ! Cheers for you xoxGill

  2. Laurie-Ann on October 6, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    I think I’m going to really enjoy this blog. Thank-you Lorie Hanley for the introduction.

    • Diana Bishop on October 7, 2018 at 9:21 am

      Laurie-Ann — Welcome! I look forward to hearing about your impressions of Paris too! Thanks for subscribing. Diana

  3. Laya on October 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Dear Diane ! This is incredible movement for ladies in certain age. As a woman in certain age most of us we accumplished a lot, had so much ups and downs and gave our priority to everyone
    In our family more than ourselves.
    This is our time and thank you so much being a leader of this path of our lives. Good luck and look forward reading your blog

  4. Karen on October 8, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    So happy I was scanning LinkedIn and found your blog

    • Diana Bishop on October 13, 2018 at 8:48 am

      Great to hear from you Karen!

  5. Tamara on October 13, 2018 at 3:51 am

    This looks like quite an adventure in Blog writing! I am already itching to learn more about Paris Women and culture. Quite a fascinating look at how beautiful & respected woman are at a certain age… Truly fantastic.

    • Diana Bishop on October 13, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Hi Tamara,
      Thanks for reaching out and subscribing to my blog. Yes, I will be writing about all sorts of things, and French women fascinate me too! They are the epitome of style and elegance! Diana

  6. Neil Merritt on August 17, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    (noting that no one has posted here since 2018)

    Hello Diana, as a man, I used to wonder what a ‘certain’ age was/is – I am 50 so is my age also ‘certain’? I haven’t really thought about it recently but I was out on a run this afternoon and my brain metaphorically tapped me on the shoulder (unbidden, as it often does) and told me that the phrase – “A Woman of an Uncertain Age” would be an awesome title for an autobiography. ‘Certain’ women came to mind for whom the title might work but I was wondering what you thought about that?

    • Diana Bishop on August 20, 2021 at 10:44 am

      Neil — I love this comment and I am so so glad to hear form you. I like your title! My working title is WOMAN OF A CERTAIN AGE IN PARIS like my site but perhaps yours would work better for this memoir. I have already written and had published my first memoir called LIVING UP TO A LEGEND so this new one will have my adventures as a francophile as the focus. A WOMAN OF AN un-CERTAIN AGE is a great title… hmm..food for thought. Thank you again for sending me your thoughts — much appreciated. Best to you and I look forward to hearing from you again SOON! Diana

  7. […] French felt women’s maturity and experience are more revered as they age (“Women of a Certain Age in Paris,“), and are considered more erotic because they are more experienced. The implication is that […]

    • Diana Bishop on January 31, 2022 at 11:12 am

      Definitely. My point exactly. Quite different from the North American view of female ageing.

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