Menopause is something that most women don’t openly discuss, but why is that? Perhaps the reason is because every woman is different; some women might go through menopause at an earlier age than other women and vice versa. This process is natural and will occur at a woman’s own pace. Another reason women might not talk about menopause as frequently as we would imagine is because women are much less portrayed in the media compared to men. This can also be referred to as androcentrism, or when “the male experience is treated as the norm” (Matlin, 2012, p. 30). It is very clear that in every aspect of the media women are sexualized and most men (and some women) do not see menopause as something to openly share.
If we see any information about menopause in the media or on television, it is very likely that it isn’t as accurate as it is in real life. Another issue to bring up is that if the subject of menopause was brought up accurately on television or in the media, a large amount of people would be appalled due to the fact that menopause is such a taboo topic. I think most women can agree that everyone would rather see the “glamourous” side of menopause when it comes to the public; however, that shouldn’t mean people are not aware of what women are going through. If menopause is portrayed on any form of the media, it is usually negative. It involves hormonal, angry, agitated older women who are complaining about hot flashes. It involves women who are not sure of what they want to eat and take their anger out of whoever is closest. It involves irregular periods and weight gain for some women. No matter the set of symptoms, you will never see menopause being celebrated in a positive light.
I haven’t had a lot of experience with women going through menopause, so this section will be brief. However, I will say that the experiences I have had have not been as dramatic as one might imagine. The way menopause is shown in movies and television shows is negative and always very dramatic. Most women I have known to be going through menopause haven’t even shown a single symptom in the same dramatic way the media does. It really is a shame that everyone can’t be as open to menopause s the women experiencing it are.
I am sure there are women out there who are reluctant to go through menopause at any age and this might be partially due to the things they see in the media. The more people bash and shame menopause on television, the more women are going to be scared and ashamed to admit going through menopause. The portrayal of menopausal women can greatly affect women’s attitudes about menopause. When women become ashamed to experience natural parts of their lives, this can also affect their self-image. They might start to feel like an outcast in their own bodies. They might start to feel like they are being betrayed by their own self. And, worst of all, they might feel alone for the latest part of their lives when family and friends matter the most.
Matlin, M. (2012). The psychology of women. (7th ed.) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.