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Lapham's Quarterly
15 mins | May 13, 2020

Significant life event

How midlife crises — and menopause — came to be defined by the experience of men. "Like menstrual disorders, menopause indicated nonreproductivity, but so did regular menstruation. When older ideas about menstruation’s purgative, purifying benefits were revised in the later nineteenth century and menstrual flow was connected to the cyclical production of the ovum and thus directly linked to conception, many physicians depicted menstruation as an unfortunate failure in bodily processes designed to build up a fetus. The menopausal discourse mirrored the menstrual one: 'What applies to menstruation once a month applies to menopause once in every lifetime.'" Author Susanne Schmidt reflects in Lapham’s Quarterly. This article was originally published in Lapham’s Quarterly in March 2020.

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