Middle Ages

Old Ladies Be Crazy

I wished for the mainstreaming of menopause in the media, and little by little that has come into being, but like 90% of it is demoralizing. The latest is estrogen’s role in schizophrenia and menopause triggering psychosis in women who had no history of mental illness. Great!

Yet just as our reproductive organs are thought to make us fragile, emotional, and irrational, we are expected to endure their effects on our bodies and minds stoically and without complaint. Boyfriends and husbands perpetuate this bias, but so do doctors, even elite ones. And if menstruation remains taboo, even in an era when little girls strut around wearing T-shirts that read the future is female, then menopause is worse, because the only thing more disgusting and shameful in culture than the manifestations of fertility — the blood and the egg-white discharge and the hormonal cloud — is the absence of all of that. In the Bible, an infertile woman is labeled cursed.