The Red Death: Menstruation as a Symbol of Renewal- Pt 6.

This extract from a longer piece of writing was written in 2016, before the explosion of the insistence on gender neutral language specifically in relation to female bodies and female bodily functions and experiences. Yesterday I posted about how gender-neutral language is officially infiltrating our cultural narrative and is being institutionalised particularly within medical literature. I am interested in considering the implications of this beyond linguistics.
“According to the Western medical model, pre-menstrual syndrome is a disease, menstruation is a disease, pregnancy is a disease, childbirth is a disease, and menopause is a disease. From this model, I have reached the conclusion that being a woman is a disease.”
Quote from Women’s Health Advocate Sibyl Shainwald
Part 6 of The Red Death considers the pathologizing of female biology and also touches upon how women’s bodies, due to being pathologized are big business for pharmaceutical companies.

Gnostic Woman

“The medicalization of our [women’s] bodies is particularly ironic because historically, women served as society’s healers, a role that combined wisdom, nurturance, intuition, and skill.”

This quote from Women’s Health Advocate Sibyl Shainwald points to the medicalisation of women’s bodies as usurping traditional feminine wisdom in favor of androcentric medical practices which pathologise the ontological nature of women. Speaking at the conference for Hysterectomy Education Resources and Sources (HERS), she says:

“According to the Western medical model, pre-menstrual syndrome is a disease, menstruation is a disease, pregnancy is a disease, childbirth is a disease, and menopause is a disease. From this model, I have reached the conclusion that being a woman is a disease.”

You can read the full speech here- Sibyl Shainwald Talk

From my own perspective, in considering who ultimately benefits from the wide spread consumption of menstrual suppressants, there is the question of economics: Barr pharmaceuticals earned a $50 million…

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