Anthropologist Explores Menopause from a Biocultural Perspective
Menopause is a biological reality for all women. Yet the way we think about the cessation of menstruation is influenced by a variety of factors and varies considerably between cultures and individuals. Drawing on her own case studies and comparative data from places around the world, Lynnette Leidy Sievert (anthropology) in her new book, Menopause: A Biocultural Perspective (Rutgers University Press, 2006) explores these variations and suggests that attempts by medical professionals to define the "normal" occurrence of menopause, including its typical onset and symptoms, may not be realistic when considering how lifestyle, nutrition, and workload can contribute to diverging realities.
Sievert explores how women feel about interventions such as hysterectomies, chemotherapy, and other medical procedures and treatments that stop menstruation prematurely. Chapters also consider recent advances in technology, including post-menopausal birth, which have turned what was previously an unavoidable end of fertility into something that can be postponed. A unique comparative look at women's experiences, this text brings new perspectives to mainstream literature on the subject and invites readers to consider compelling questions about menopause, its meanings, and its future.
September 25, 2006