Uncontrollable bodies: Greek Cypriot women talk about the transition to menopause
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In this article, I explore Greek Cypriot women's interpretations and experiences of menopause and the menopausal body. The findings presented here illustrate that the menopausal body is commonly interpreted and experienced as an uncontrollable body and, therefore, as a body that becomes a central and distressing aspect of experience. I focus particularly on women's accounts of the separation between body and self, the conceptualization of the menopausal changes as uncontrollable, and the association of menopause with aging. I embed my findings within the context of women's everyday lives, taking into consideration the socio-cultural meanings attributed to aging and ‘being a woman’ in the context under investigation. Drawing on the importance of the ‘civilized body’ (Elias, 2000) in contemporary societies, as well as the symbolic association of women's bodies and social order in Greek culture, I argue that the conceptualization of menopause as loss of embodied control contributes to the construction of menopause as a mainly negative and challenging experience in the contemporary Greek Cypriot context.