The Making of Menopause

Margaret Lock

in Encounters with Aging

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780520082212
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916623 | DOI:
The Making of Menopause

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Although the subjective experience and interpretation of kōnenki vary among Japanese women, the term is a key concept in discussions of midlife in Japan and most probably, every adult has some acquaintance with it. But if talking about growing older is not universal, their reasons for doing so differ. This chapter asks why, if we view kōnenki as a product of Japanese history and culture, we should not look on menopause as a product of the Euro-American cultural tradition. It traces the invention of the menopausal woman in Europe and North America, her reduction to the menopause, and still more recent demotion to a deficiency disease and an endocrinopathy. These changes profoundly influence the way the medical profession and the public respond to female midlife.

Keywords: female midlife; Japanese history; kōnenki; Europe; menopausal woman

Chapter.  11198 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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