Document Detail

Medical metaphors of women's bodies: menstruation and menopause.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3288565     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Implicit, underlying imagery in medical descriptions of menstruation and menopause is exposed, beginning with 19th century views. Contemporary medical texts and teaching reveal two fundamental assumptions about women's bodies. First, they assume that female reproductive organs are organized as if they form a hierarchical, bureaucratic organization under centralized control. Given this assumption, menopause comes to be described negatively, as a process involving breakdown of central control. Second, they assume that women's bodies are predominantly for the control. Second, they assume that women's bodies are predominantly for the purpose of production of desirable substances, primarily babies. Given this assumption, menstruation comes to be seen negatively, as a process involving failed production, waste products, and debris. Alternative imagery that works from our current understanding of physiology, but avoids denigration of women's bodies, is suggested.
E Martin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  International journal of health services : planning, administration, evaluation     Volume:  18     ISSN:  0020-7314     ISO Abbreviation:  Int J Health Serv     Publication Date:  1988  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1988-07-18     Completed Date:  1988-07-18     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1305035     Medline TA:  Int J Health Serv     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  237-54     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218.
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MeSH Terms
Body Image
Gender Identity
Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology
Grant Support
507 RR 07041/RR/NCRR NIH HHS
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Gonadal Steroid Hormones

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