The upside of my disappointment about that other menopause book I reviewed was that several people reached out and told me that there was another book about menopause available for request on NetGalley. What Fresh Hell is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities and You is exactly what I was looking for – gender inclusive, pragmatic, compassionate, and truly, deeply feminist.
Why do I, a cis woman, care that a book about menopause is gender inclusive? The answer is, as is the answer to many things, because patriarchy. The lens of patriarchy distorts reality, and one of those distortions is making gender a binary and narrowing the range of gender expression. It is also the reason menopause was treated as an illness to be avoided or minimized. Patriarchy determines that a person in menopause is becoming irrelevant. Any book about menopause that does not acknowledge that not everyone with a uterus is a woman is adhering too closely to the reality distorting lens of patriarchy for me to trust the information within.
Heather Corinna (they/them) is a sex educator and brings their many years of experience explaining sex, sexuality, and bodies to What Fresh Hell is This? It is not a prescriptive book. It describes what happens in the body, what the impacts of those processes can be and a variety of ways those impacts can be managed. Throughout, Corinna reiterates that our individual experience with perimenopause and menopause is not isolated from the rest of our life. Genetics, overall health, wealth, marginalization, past trauma, living situation, and all the factors that make up our life play a part in how perimenopause and menopause impact us. Rather than pointing to a one true path, Corinna illuminates the many paths of which they are aware and is honest about what they don’t know. Anecdotes are used to illustrate, but not as evidence.
The idea of aging doesn’t bother me. I’m pretty happy about moving out of my reproductive years. What I don’t like is how little information has been available. Any major changes in my body make me nervous, because I am low income and have very limited access to healthcare. I found a lot of What Fresh Hell is This? reassuring. I better understand some of the things happening in my body that I would not have assumed were related to peri menopause. After one read through I feel like I am doing a lot of the basic things I can do for myself and I have more tools for taking care of myself. My gift to myself this Summer will be buying a physical copy to keep on hand for as needed refreshers.
I genuinely feel better about going through perimenopause after reading What Fresh Hell is This?
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.