MENSTRUATION MATTERS

Big news this week: Sinead O’Connor announces she is excited to be reaching menopause and looks forward to her first hot flash. News stories in the Daily Mail and a celebrity gossip magazine called Female First characterize her as ready to “embrace” this new life stage, unafraid of aging or bodily changes. They also make sure to tell us in the same breath that most other women dread this life stage. It is almost as if the reason that this is news is that it is absolutely amazing that a woman can feel positively about menopause. Comments on this article reaffirm the fact that this is absolutely amazing and that most women hate it, with one person even suggesting that menopause is “God’s revenge on women for being the superior race.”
Really?
I find plenty of women telling me they are happy to reach this life stage. Sure, the symptoms suck sometimes (maybe even for years). But, this doesn’t mean they dread all of the changes in their bodies or that they hate their bodily changes. And it doesn’t mean they dread aging. I think Sinead O’Connor is probably more representative of the ways in which many women are thinking about menopause than not. Or at the very least there is a sizable portion of the female population who feels like O’Connor as they reach this life stage. To characterize menopause as normally terrible and O’Connor as “outlandish,” “eclectic” and “quirky” in the same breath as telling us that she is excited about menopause just reifies negative cultural discourse on this reproductive transition. This does nothing positive for women.
What IS positive, though, is that we are even hearing about Sinead O’Connor’s take on menopause. And I argue that she is not as weird in her views on menopause as she seems.

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