Disruption of the Silenced Self: The Case of Premenstrual Syndrome
This chapter challenges the common pathologizing view of premenstrual change that characterizes premenstrual symptoms as representing a psychological or biomedical disorder. The authors present a contrasting view and argue that premenstrual symptoms are more accurately characterized as a disruption in the self-silencing that women engage in for 3 weeks of the month. Drawing upon their interviews with women, they describe the contextual and intrapsychic factors that combine to produce the premenstrual expression of anger, irritation, or sadness. The chapter argues that dismissing premenstrual distress as illness serves to silence women and contributes to a cycle of further emotional suppression, followed by premenstrual emotional eruption.
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