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The menopause moment: the rising visibility of ‘the change’ in UK news coverage

Orgad, Shani and Rottenberg, Catherine (2023) The menopause moment: the rising visibility of ‘the change’ in UK news coverage. European Journal of Cultural Studies. ISSN 1367-5494

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Identification Number: 10.1177/13675494231159562

Abstract

Drawing on feminist scholarship that interrogates cultural representations of ageing women, this article examines UK news coverage of menopause from 2001 to 2021. We show that not only has there been a dramatic rise in menopause’s visibility since 2015, and especially since 2021, but that the coverage is concentrated in the conservative right-wing press. We also document six peaks in coverage, which are driven by celebrity stories, news about menopause-related medical guidelines, national hormone replacement therapy shortages and menopause-related governmental interventions, as well as the use of menopause as a metaphor for the economy. Based on these findings, we discuss some key social, cultural and economic forces that may help explain menopause’s heightened visibility. These include the rise of popular neoliberal feminism, celebrity culture, changing demographics and changes to UK work policy, ideological notions of biological womanhood and the influence of Big Pharma. We conclude by highlighting how menopause’s new luminosity contributes to challenging its traditional invisibility and negative framing, and gendered ageism more broadly. Yet, at the same time, in its current iteration, menopause’s increased visibility may reinforce a neoliberal feminist framework that deflects attention away from understanding menopause as a social and cultural issue, while also buttressing narrow conceptions of femininity and supporting neoliberal policies that aim to keep older women in the workforce for longer.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s).
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2023 09:36
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 22:15
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118198

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