It’s My Menopause And I’ve Earned It: Why I Don’t Believe Women Should ‘Evolve’ Out Of Menopause
I’m going to be entering menopause soon. I don’t feel melancholy about this. I’m actually excited about aging, and yes, I realize that this goes against every societal norm that is shoved down our throats at any given moment, that women who are older should be lamenting the passing of their youth and that I should be spending my days gazing into hand mirrors and wiping away tears that fall from my crow’s foot embellished eyes. We are supposed to fear getting older and menopause. We are supposed to think that this is the beginning of the end, that with every passing year our value as women and as humans is diminished until we are left forgotten and discarded, our only company the memories of our glorious youth and if we are lucky, a spouse or partner who is celebrated for his age by being referred to as a “silver fox.”
I adore and respectÂ Aarathi Prasad and I find her brilliant and compelling and I have sort of this raging girl crush on her but her recent lecture at the Hay Festival is giving me a whole lot of concern:
Aarathi Prasad, the biologist and science writer, said humans had evolved the menopause so older women can look after young children.
The so-called grandmother hypothesis also argues that older women cannot have children to stop the generations competing with each other.
However this is no longer relevant in a world where older women continue to be healthy and there are resources for everyone. The presenter ofÂ Quest for Virgin Birth on BBC Radio 4Â said other mammals do not have the menopause and there is â€œno benefitâ€ to the condition.
â€œThe mood of scientists working on this and looking to the future is we will either technologically or scientifically evolve out of the menopause.â€
â€œIt is a health risk potentially and it is a real inescapable block on reproduction for one half of us â€“ the women, but not the men.
â€œIt is something that will probably be overcome.â€
Prasad, who was previously a cancer genetics researcher at Imperial College London, said ovarian failure should be treated the same as any other organ failure. She said that women are at greater risk of a number of diseases following the menopause such as breast and ovarian cancer. â€œIf you look to the future when we live to 100-years-old you are looking at half your life with no ovarian function.â€
Now, I can fully see where menopause is a health risk. I can agree that it’s biologically unfair that women have a sell-by date in order for which they can become pregnant. I have no issues with women who choose to become pregnant at a later age. It’s not my business when a woman decides to have children. I know that some women reach early onset menopause and this probably seems like a good idea to those people. But as a woman who is 43 and is sort of looking down the menopause tunnel, I can’t help but feel that trying to “cure” this condition is steering us into some brave new world ageist territory that further glorifies the “forever young” mentality of society. Other than the increased risk of certain forms of cancer, I have no desire to evolve out of my menopause or for science to develop a cure for it – I’ll happily see cures for ovarian and breast cancer but leave my menopause alone.