Yesterday, October 18th, was World Menopause Day (and my Ma’s would-have-been 101th birthday) – and I wrote this little thread on twitter as I reached the 3/4 (ish) point in my interviews for my doctorate research on postmenopause. It has been shared a fair bit, so I thought I’d put it up here too.
The vast majority of menopause research is on the bodies of white, heterosexual, mothers. But guess what?
1. Menopause is not solely a biomedical event, it is a bio-psycho-socio-cultural transition.
2. Transition, NOT an end in itself.
3. Loads of people menopause. Black people, brown people, trans & NB people, people who are not mothers, people who are not middle aged, people who are disabled – you know, all those of us almost always excluded from the mainstream discourse. If it’s not everyone’s revolution, it is categorically NOT a menopause ‘revolution’. (nb, menopause is an evolution actually, ie. a transition.)
4. Lots of us menopause for surgical or medical reasons. We are rarely included in the menopause discussions.
5. Menopausing when young, from cancer or surgery or medical reasons is tough. REALLY tough. largely because it’s so bloody lonely.
6. Menopause happens in very middle age. 40s usually. the global average age is 48.1, here in the UK it’s 51.
7. Not all menopause is crap. In fact, globally, the majority of menopauses aren’t crap. In places where pregnancy is hugely problematic, menopause can be a real freedom and release.
8. Researching the menopause of white women only is racist. stop it.
9. Menopause is not a deficiency disease or a medical condition, any more than periods or pregnancy are.
10. Not all of us can take HRT, please stop talking about us like we’re going to break the NHS if we don’t.
11. If you’re interested in breast cancer and menopause, follow breast cancer specialists like Dr Liz O’Riordan – please, check the work of breast cancer specialists.
12. POSTmenopause is the rest of y/our life. Loads more life, after menopause, after the transition, loads of it. Ageing and raging right to the end.
oh and 13. Menopause is a signifier of ageing which is a signifier of death. Welcome to existentialism.