Menopause or Menopauses?

There are concrete and objective signs in women's lives that mark different phases or passages of their lives such as the menarche, the breaking of the hymen, the last period. These are visible marks in the physical body and each culture invests them with its seal. Historically in our culture, countless diseases (physic and psychic) are associated with the menopause. Starting with Robert Wilson's studies, published in the book Feminine Forever (1966), the menopause acquires the statute of disease and its prevention, treatment and cure are linked to the Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT). The different discourses that circulate on the menopause in our culture not only contribute to the maintenance of such an association, but also assume that the subjects related to menopause and aging apply equally to all women, independent of their physical, psychic, social, economical and cultural condition. The aim of this study is to approach some cultural aspects of menopause as well as to show how this event is perceived as a single and relative aspect and not as a pattern or universal aspect.

Menopause; Aging; Cultural Diversity


Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: saudesoc@usp.br