Menopause is a natural process in the bodies of female humans and two whale species. The social identities of menopausal women and the attitudes towards them are constantly under construction: representations of and discussions among menopausal women range from a new-found openness that indicate a ‘liberation’ to a hidden discourse restricted to certain media images or doctor – patient situations. This article explores whether discourses around menopause have changed in the twenty-first century or whether the topic is still taboo. I propose that taboos have been re-enforced by advertising since the 1950s and women’s bodies are still pathologized. The examination of advertising through the lenses of framing theory and taboo discourse reveals that attitudes towards ageing and older women have not changed much: Menopause is still seen as an illness, and it is still exploited to produce demand for products that address physical and mental health concerns. Dismantling claims of ‘expert knowledge’ leads to an understanding of how power is exerted over female bodies across societies. Taboos around menopause are embedded in symbolic interaction and they are used to control and confirm power relations while claiming to help women by providing a cure or at least relief of their symptoms.
- Mental Health