Bloody Hell! And Other Stories

By Mona Eltahawy

Adventures in Menopause from Across the Personal and Political Spectrum

Feminism | LGBTQ+
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I found out almost by chance that perimenopause - the time leading up to menopause - could last up to 14 years. At first, I thought “Are you fucking kidding me?” And that quickly turned to “How the hell did I not know that?” How was a feminist like me so ignorant about menopause? Was I not paying attention?

When I finally did start to pay attention: lo and behold! The silence, shame and taboo that for so long had cocooned menopause seemed to be lifting and M was also for mainstream.

Some are calling it a revolution. I wish! A moment? A wave? A movement? Maybe! A moneymaker? Definitely, as one business after another launches geared to a demographic apparently flush with cash and most likely with hot flashes.

It is exactly when the once-whispered moves into the mainstream that it most matters who is speaking the once unsaid and who continues to be sidelined and silenced.

Now THAT I understood. As a feminist of colour who often must write what she she has long wanted to read, I know what it’s like to rarely see yourself during those “moments,” “waves,” and “movements.” Too often when feminism takes that brave dive into the deep end of a taboo, it takes along just a select few: white, wealthy, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied women.

Bloody Hell! And Other Stories is the antidote.

If you have ever menstruated, you can go through menopause, a point in life that marks 12 months without a menstrual cycle. Once you’ve reached the point of 12 months without a menstrual cycle, you are post-menopausal.

It is not just cis women who experience menopause. Non-binary people, trans men and other gender non-conforming groups also experience menopause and do so under even greater levels of silence and taboo.

This anthology aimes to expand the Menopause Moment/ Wave/ "Movement" beyond white and cis women.

And also, beyond merely the “symptoms.” This is not a medical textbook, nor a guide on how to “remedy” or “fix” anything.

Rather, it is a collection of menopausal people, each with their own entry point into that transition. There are as many menopause stories as people who have experienced menopause, and this anthology will showcase some of them, from people from all walks of life and all over the world.

I am learning, much to my thrill and awe, that one of the greatest gifts of the transition known as menopause is shamelessness. I am not known as one easily shamed nor is modesty one of my virtues. Still, I gasp at the heights of audacity that I like to think come monthly in lieu of my increasingly AWOL menstrual cycle. It is as if instead of shedding the lining of my uterus, I am shedding the lining of patriarchal fuckery that I was socialized into.

If you’re wondering where along my menopause journey I am, it is far enough that if I hear a voice in my head saying "Oh my god, you can't write about that!" I WILL IN FACT WRITE ABOUT THAT.

And that is an absolute advantage of being 54 years old and just weeks if not days away from post-menopause.

I had no idea that kind of shamelessness and power were gifts of the menopause.

That is what Bloody Hell! aims to do: insist on a revolution around menopause awareness belongs to more of us than any “moment” pretends to be.

  • High quality, B-format paperback edition
  • Approximately 80,000 words and 336 pages
  • Compiled and edited by FEMINIST GIANT Mona Eltahawy
  • Each essay will be beautifully illustrated by Sheyam Ghieth

Contributors will include:

· Heather Corinna is the queer, nonbinary author of three books and the founder of a couple ground-breaking websites and movements, and is really, really freaking sick of menopause.

· Prof. Sunny Singh is a novelist and academic and the founder of the Jhalak Prize for Writers of Colour.

· Ann Marie McQueen is a Canadian journalist living and working in the Middle East. Her platform Hotflash Inc aims to inform, inspire and entertain the global perimenoposse through a weekly newsletter, podcast, social media and more.

· Sonora Jha is a professor of journalism at Seattle University and the author of Foreign, How to Raise a Feminist Son, and the forthcoming novel The Laughter.

· Dr. Jenn Salib Huber RD ND is a non-diet dietitian, naturopathic doctor and intuitive eating coach. She helps women in midlife make peace with food and their changing midlife body without feeling like they've given up on themselves.

· Omisade Burney-Scott is a Black, southern, 7th-generation native North Carolinian feminist, social justice advocate and storyteller. Omisade is the creator/curator of The Black Girls’ Guide to Surviving Menopause, a multimedia project seeking to curate and share the stories and realities of Black women, women identified and gender expansive people as they navigate menopause and aging.

· Tania Glyde (they/them) is a London-based psychotherapist and author working with Gender, Sex and Relationship Diverse (GSRD) clients, as well as promoting greater awareness of LGBTQIA+ experiences of menopause.

· Simi Hoque is a Bangladeshi-American professor of Architectural Engineering at Drexel University whose research focuses on sustainability and well-being in buildings. She juggles motherhood, triathlon training, and a deep love of reading with her need to get enough sleep and have a good life.

*Image credits: Cover and assets designed by Mecob, with kind permission from Sheyam Ghieth

*Book designs, cover and other images are for illustrative purposes and will differ from final design.

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