Redefining women -

___Redefining women

Redefining women -

I'm in my mid-sixties. I have found that sexism combined with ageism is a demoralising mix, and it makes me angry.

I am a historian of medicine with strong views on the misogyny and gynophobia that affects all women and their place in the world. I've written on the menopause, on diets and dieting, and sexuality, wanting to change the attitudes, prejudices, myths, and humiliation that have been propagated over the centuries - and continue to affect us all today. So much depends on our own view of ourselves; we must see and analyse what society makes of us in order to reject the negativity.

Women were defined as pathological, inherently weak, deformed males by [male] Greek and Roman physicians, and these ideas directly influenced the rise of science in eighteenth-century Europe - and still the idea of being less or wrong lingers in all aspects of our lives.

The menopause is still little understood and neglected, yet all of us will go through it. Older women are often patronised or dismissed, yet we will all get old. Let me tell you that older women are like young women: we want love, sex, friendship, work and play. That doesn't change. As Simone de Beauvoir said, the point is the freedom to coincide with yourself.