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I Don't Feel Like Myself: Women's Accounts of Normality and Authenticity in the Field of Menstruation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this master thesis is to contribute to a deeper understanding of women’s experiences in regard to menstrually related suffering. These particular experiences are examined in relation to notions of normality and authenticity. The study designed for this purpose is based on the life world of women in order to explore these ideas. The visceral signs originating from within the body are generally understood to be undetectable when working properly. Such is not the case for many women who menstruate. The cyclical change in physical and mental states associated with the menstrual cycle provide an opportunity to study how going in and out of different ways of being in the world influence human experience. Thematic interviews were conducted asking ten women living in Sweden to share their experiences of suffering related to the menstrual cycle. A phenomenological approach with focus on the body was used to study how changing ways of being in the world contribute to the construction of illness and health. Beginning with discussions about their experiences of suffering revealed that women thought in terms of when they felt like themselves and when they did not. Organization of time was interrelated with how women understood their experiences. Emphasizing recurring negative experiences lead to contemplation about causes of suffering and comparison of different states of being. The lack of ‘one’s selfness’ due to what is commonly referred to as PMS represents the dilemma these women describe. The need to have control over the outward representation of one’s self is discussed in light of different medical technologies like SSRI antidepressant use and hormonal therapies which revealed that women saw the origins of their suffering to be a product of society but tightly connected to their identity as women and were not willing to be without a menstrual cycle. Phenomenological ideas about embodiment were used to understand how suffering was seen both as a sign of health and as a part of the self.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 114 p.
Keyword [en]
Women, Embodiment, Life World, Normality, Authenticity, Phenomenological Perspective, Menstruation, Antidepressants
National Category
Social Sciences Pedagogy
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87251OAI: diva2:601939
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-01-31 Created: 2013-01-30 Last updated: 2013-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Adams Lyngbäck, Elizabeth
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