Our class discussions about PMS and menopause have, oddly enough, coincided very closely with one of my other classes, Life Cycle Nutrition (I'm a dietetics major). With talks of increasing one's iron stores floating through my head as I scanned today's entries, I had an idea I think worth sharing: the medical community seems to divide women's lives into phases based on whether or not they can give birth, while men (who claim their fertility until the day they die) are just seen as simply, holistically that--men.
Indeed, one can argue it may be necessary to view human beings as little more than coordinated systems of flesh and blood from time-to-time, but I think the scientific community may be taking it too far. Once a boy becomes a young, strapping lad, what was once a light burden to begin with no longer exists; he now possesses the ability to reproduce, and that is that. For a span of roughly thirty years though, it seems (and by all means, correct me if you feel I am wrong), an unspoken pressure is placed on women to reproduce. Men have every right to "play the field," but if a woman doesn't have a due date to share at family get-togethers before she even really hits her stride in light (has anyone seen "Bridget Jones"?) she is looked down upon. The phrase "biological clock" also comes to mind.
Women have a choice whether or not they want to have children, and perhaps the medical community's tendency to place them in either pre-, eu- or post- is its way of coping with that. A good question to throw out there would be: by placing women into these different stages, are we indirectly pressuring them to reproduce? Also, is the linear biological model (we're born, spread our genes 'n' die) the best way to view women, men or any form of life?