MENSTRUATION AND MENOPAUSE: The Physiology and Psychology, the Myth and the Reality by Paula Weideger

MENSTRUATION AND MENOPAUSE: The Physiology and Psychology, the Myth and the Reality

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The substance of woman includes her monthly bleeding and her monthly cycles. If women are to experience life fully, this reality must be reclaimed."" Weideger's focus extends well beyond the usual Hygiene I emphasis on ""living with it"" to a stimulating (to some it will be upsetting) overview of the cyclical processes which she explores the better to understand the self and female identity. A large order, and occasionally her source material is scattered or fragile (the conclusions on progesterone therapy seem to be based on a single study). However this is still a ground-breaking work. Weideger argues that the taboos surrounding menstruation and menopause are alive and flourishing today, reflecting as they always did, ""the fears of one sex about the other,"" and a confirmation, especially at menarche, of a woman's negative self-image. The first menstruation is usually seen as initiating the gift's ability to bear children--a vision of ""future gratification"" which makes little sense to the adolescent not aware of its real effects on her emotions, behavior and sexual desires. The author examines the stereotypes still extant concerning menstruating, menopausal and post-menopausal women as well as the denials of some feminists that the menstrual cycle has no effect on one's performance or personality. The physiological functions of women need not be a liability and may indeed be a blessing, for as Weideger writes of the creative woman: ""She may use all of herself, her cycles, her moods, and her linearity to one end."" And that end can be a new awareness of her own femininity, a word to which the author has given a vital, post-Greer definition.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Knopf