Hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus) precipitates the end of menstrual cycles in premenopausal women. In this article I explore whether that premature termination of menstrual function negatively affects women's subjective gender identities. Using the grounded theory research approach, I conducted in-depth interviews with 40 diverse respondents who had undergone premenopausal hysterectomy. These women generally acknowledged that, since the time of menarche, they had closely associated menstruation with their gender identities. However, despite some regrets, respondents' primary reaction was almost unanimous relief that they had ceased menstruating. This finding must be viewed in the context of overwhelming and uncontrollable menstrual pain and bleeding that many respondents had previously experienced. Contrary to expressing remorse that they no longer identified with “normal” women, who menstruate, most respondents sought to disassociate themselves from the normalized suffering that they perceived is endured by all menstruating women.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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