A woman muses about buying lovely new panties; another sets out on the trip of a lifetime; a blogger offers information, support, and community to perimenopausal women; researchers uncover myths and misconceptions about migrant and refugee women’s experiences of menopause; a gerontology scholar extrapolates for menopause the meanings of cultural representations of childbirth; a sociologist and intersex advocate challenges her medically constructed menopause; young women’s stories inform an inquiry into the health and social repercussions of primary ovarian insufficiency—all in a collection of research papers and personal narratives that moves far beyond the idea of menopause as a mere biological marker. While biomedical and feminist researchers agree that menopause is a time of transition and border crossing, they offer diverse viewpoints about whether perimenopause and menopause signal deficiency and burden, or growth and freedom, or both. So too, contributors to this collection—influenced by factors of age, cultural background, societal context, and physical and psychological experience—vary significantly in their perspectives of this process. Research, analysis, narrative, poetry, and art intermingle to create a multi-textured montage that challenges stereotypes, probes relationships, and defies categorization. Musings on Perimenopause and Menopause: Identity, Experience, Transition provides insight into how women think about and experience the transition to menopause in contemporary times.
Heather Dillaway is a professor of sociology, interim chair of public health, and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her research focuses on women's perimenopause and menopause experiences, and is published in a range of feminist journals including Gender & Society; Sex Roles; Journal of Women & Aging; Healthcare for Women International; Women and Health; Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal; and Feminist Formations. Dillaway’s work on this reproductive transition, as well as her research into the reproductive health experiences of women with physical disabilities, seeks to highlight women’s everyday voices and lived experiences.
Laura Wershler is a women’s health advocate, writer, and speaker with over thirty years of volunteer and work experience with sexual health and reproductive rights organizations in Canada. Her writing has appeared in various newspapers, journals, online media, and anthologies, including Without Apology: Writings on Abortion in Canada (Athabasca University Press, 2016). She discovered a love for editing the words of other writers while earning a Certificate in Journalism (2011) from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.
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