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Kvinners Utløpsdato?: bilde og forståelsen av klimakteriet, kjønn og aldring i dagspressen og blant middelaldrende kvinner
Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, Stockholms universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8259-0002
2012 (Norwegian)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
A female expiring date : images and understandings of menopause, gender and aging in media and among middle-aged women (English)
Abstract [en]

Menopause is a period of biological transition in middle-aged women, when oestrogen levels gradually drop. After menopause women no longer can give birth to children. However, menopause is more than biology; it is also an example of a bio-psycho-social process, where psychosocial and cultural involvement can influence experiences of the biological transformation. Furthermore, many myths and meanings surrounds menopause, and the purpose of this study drawing on a Foucauldian perspective, is to examine discourses in contemporary society that affect the understanding of what menopause is.

The methodological approach consists of an analysis of media articles and interviews with middleaged women to explore different conceptions of menopause. The analysis of articles in two leading Swedish newspapers during a period of five years (Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet, 2007- 2011) reveals that the media present menopause as a substantial risk factor that increases the possibilities of many diseases, irrespective of genes and lifestyle, and that menopause appears to cause reduced quality of life and degraded body. This female period of life is portrayed as “the beginning of the end”, filled with dichotomies concerning whether menopause is natural or pathological, but with an emphasis on the pathological. The newspaper articles present different strategies for women on how to deal with this transformation, such as hormone replacement therapy, fitness, and different diets that can "calm" women’s experience of menopause. Media thus present menopause as both problematic and challenging.

However, interviews with six middle-aged women show that women themselves view this differently. Women define menopause as the border between being young and old, and this makes menopause in conflict with today's youth-obsessed society, where health and appearance are essential components of personal identity, particularly for women. Women talk about menopause as a confirmation of age, and also indirectly as the beginning of deteriorating health. In contrast, the majority of women experience menopause positive in terms of what they had expected. Due to the confusion surrounding menopause women call attention to the lack of information and knowledge on the subject of menopause. Information that can increase women’s knowledge, and thus give women more control over their own bodies. These different images of menopause are problematized both in terms of the gendered body, as well as in terms of knowledge and power.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 83 p.
Keyword [en]
Menopause, Climacteric, Middle-aged women, Media, Discourse, Aging
National Category
Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-882OAI: diva2:731476
Available from: 2014-07-01 Created: 2014-07-01 Last updated: 2015-10-14Bibliographically approved

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Jønland Højsgaard, Trine Iren
Health Sciences

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