I have been eagerly anticipating both menopause and The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism for quite a while, and right now I’m disappointed in both. I know Dr. Jen Gunter knows that not every one with a uterus is a woman. I have seen her speak inclusively about trans men and nonbinary people. She also started the hashtag IfMenHadPeriods, which, well, some men do have periods. Unfortunately, The Menopause Manifesto seems to be only for women, and this undermines her stated desire to use facts and feminism to dismantle the patriarchy. In 2021, centering a book about menopause solely on women feels like a deliberate choice. I don’t know what her purpose is in ignoring trans men and nonbinary people, but the result is I cannot recommend or support this book.
It particularly bothers me that in the introduction she declares the irrelevance of the patriarchy’s opinion on menopause while clinging to patriarchal definitions of gender. I am a cis woman and I have always resented people telling me who I should be because my body has female reproductive organs. It would be even more frustrating to have female reproductive organs and be defined as a woman even when you know you are not. Feminism that allows people to be defined by their bodies is going to fail in it’s goal.
It’s a fact that not everyone with a uterus who will go through menopause is a woman. The feminism that insists on gender binary is not trying to dismantle the patriarchy. It’s trying to rent a room in the patriarchy while slamming the door on trans, nonbinary, and genderfluid people. It won’t work. We have over a hundred years of a feminist movement that shows dismantling the patriarchy just a little gets women nowhere. Women won’t have equality until everybody has equality.
I am crying out for more conversation and science based knowledge about menopause. I would like to know what the hell is going on with my body as I transition into menopause. But, I can’t trust a woman physician who directs her information only at women any more than I can trust a man telling me about my body. I can’t trust that she’s seeing facts and not building a reality that suits her vision.
I really want to like this book. I want to be able to recommend it to my friends, but I can’t.
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.