Menopause narratives: the interplay of women's embodied experiences with biomedical discourses

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Title: Menopause narratives: the interplay of women's embodied experiences with biomedical discourses
Authors: Hyde, Abbey
Nee, Jean
Howlett, Etaoine
Drennan, Jonathan
Butler, Michelle
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Date: Jun-2010
Abstract: Conventional approaches to menopause tend to contrast the biomedical position on menopause with women’s actual experiences of it. Rather than focusing primarily on the tensions between these perspectives (biomedical vs. lay), our emphasis here is on the impact of biomedicine in shaping participants’ perceptions of their status as menopausal. Based on interview data gathered from 39 women in Ireland, we argue that the cultural authority of biomedicine shaped participants’ experiences of the body and how they constituted their health identity. We assert that, ironically, this was particularly the case among those who most strongly contested biomedical definitions of their situation. In addition, biomedical practitioners’ definitions had a strong normalizing power in how the body was experienced. We conclude by noting that our analysis problematizes the notion of privileging “women’s experiences” as advocated by some feminist perspectives. The heavy influence of biomedical discourses in shaping participants’ embodied experiences demonstrates the pervasive impact of prevailing discourses on women’s experiences.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Sage
Copyright (published version): The Author(s) 2010
Keywords: Embodiment/bodily experiencesEthnographyInterviewsIrelandIrish peopleMedicalizationMedicineWomen’s health
DOI: 10.1177/1049732310363126
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems Research Collection

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