Throughout the ages, menstruation and menopause have posed unique challenges in the life
of women. In Biblical times, much was said about the impurity of a menstruating woman. In
the past century, however, the focus gradually shifted to menopause and the effect thereof
on a woman’s body, both aesthetically and physiologically. Freud went so far as to argue
that menopausal women are neurotic and that an oophorectomy (the surgical removal of the
female ovaries) should be a standard procedure for a menopausal woman. Unfortunately,
this Freudian theory has not yet been completely demolished in our contemporary society.
Hysterectomies (the surgical removal of the uterus) are still frequently performed on
menopausal women, and all too often, antidepressants are included in menopausal women’
medical regimes. The question remains: Can hysterectomy, hormone replacement therapy
and antidepressants ‘erase’ the challenges that Western menopausal women face?
INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS : Western menopausal women are
under tremendous social pressure to preserve their youthfulness. Many middle-aged women
live with the fear that their declining sexual appeal may result in rejection, both personally and
professionally. Unfortunately, the intellectual value of these women is seldom acknowledged.
This article was written by C.M. (University of Pretoria),
based on the research for her MA degree. J-A.M. (University
of Pretoria) was her promotor.