Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Elithabeth Reid-Boyd

Abstract

Perimenopause is a relatively new word in our language. It is found in a variety of texts, from medical literature to popular literature and the Internet. In this thesis, I explore some current representations of perimenopause. To do so, I utilise feminist analyses of representations of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. A feminist theoretical framework guides my methodology and organisation and interpretation of data. My methodology includes an extensive literature review of feminist theorising around premenstrual syndrome and menopause, as well as discourse analysis of textual representations of perimenopause and the use of a reflexive journal as a 'perimenopausal' woman. My analysis reveals four main themes; first, perimenopause is a medically defined condition that needs management; second, perimenopause is confusing and contradictory; third, perimenopause is to be feared; and fourth, perimenopause is a time of rejuvenation. I show that three of these themes are similar to themes found in the discourses of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. The implications of these themes are discussed. I conclude by arguing that perimenopause is a distinct discourse that merits further feminist attention.

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