Woman’s Hour on the menopause made me cross

It’s been just over a month, with Christmas and the New Year thrown in, since Woman’s Hour discussed the latest views on the Menopause and HRT.   The reason why I haven’t commented on this before now is because I wanted time to reflect on what was said, and also to stop feeling cross.

While I understand that the menopause can produce all kinds of unpleasant symptoms, why, oh why, do the media, books and websites about this major life change focus on medical issues, or how to fix it?

The menopause is much complex than that, and I am puzzled as to the way such little consideration is given to the enormous psychological, emotional, and spiritual changes women go through too.

My own journey through the menopause and the lack of information which I found personally helpful has stirred me into action. Life changes for us in every way, but so few of us are prepared for it, especially the losses we encounter.  So, I plan to start talking about the lived, felt experience of what it means to be menopausal, and what it’s like when we reach post menopause.

In fact, fifty-three year-old Ex-Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly is beginning to find out for herself.  Even though she has just won her employment tribunal against the BBC over ageism and victimization, the truth (however unjust) is that society doesn’t seem to have a place for an older female face on the frontline, or even in the second lines.

But, it’s not just about older women, as ex BBC Crime Watch presenter, Nick Ross points out in the Daily Mail.  He is under no illusions that television is a young person’s game, and let’s face it, with the few exceptions of larger-than-life personalties such as John Sergeant and Anne Widdecombe who have captured the nation’s heart, when it comes to daily viewing, those at home  prefer a younger face, be that male or female.

Even so, life mustn’t stop.  We older women (and men) need to find different ways of making meaning in our lives, and to overcome the limitations that ageing most certainly brings in our youth orientated culture.

This is why I have written Sex, Meaning and the Menopause, which will be published in June.  I hope the book and this discussion process will help menopausal women (and their partners) to realise they are not alone in what they are going through, and there’s a lot more to the maturing process than HRT.


2 thoughts on “Woman’s Hour on the menopause made me cross

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  1. I missed that programme on menopause on women’s hour, but hearing your comment Sue, maybe I didn’t miss anything new. Reading Susie Orbach’s “Bodies” this morning, the BBC seems to express what has become the cultural norm, as Orbach describes; that our bodies are no longer natural and secure homes from which to live in tune with nature, but more something to “remake modify or standardise”. Our culture sees our bodies more than ever as only physical objects. If education in even a minimal way, could teach children the notion that we exist in sacred vessels which are conscious and inseparable from our emotions and spirits, the world would be very different.
    But, not to end on a down note, it is books like yours Sue that challenge this so well!

  2. Someone said ‘Other cultures have elders; we have the elderly.’ Speaking as a man who has more or less reached his economic menopause, and who can no longer dash about as nimbly as in former years, I’m with you. We must find different ways of making meaning.

    In cultures which honour their elders, the elderly are beautiful.

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