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Judy Greer is 47 years old — and she refuses to accept “not being listened to” as she enters that season of life where perimenopause and menopause are top priority health issues for women. However, the medical community often doesn’t receive enough supportive training to assist women through this stage of life — and that’s why the 13 Going on 30 star teamed up with Wile, a plant-based wellness brand to help support hormonal health. It’s what they like to call the “grown” stage of life — You’re “not old. Not young. Nowhere near done.”
Co-founder (along with Corey Scholibo and Julie Kucinski) and CEO Gwen Floyd shared with SheKnows that the issues surrounding menopause go much deeper than the physical symptoms, like the hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain, that women often experience. The mental health aspect is a huge concern. She notes, “Women in this demographic going through this life phase represent the highest suicidality rate of any female demographic, and they’re the No. 1 highest users of antidepressants of any demographic in the entire world.” It’s even more challenging for women of color, “who experience the systemic racism, on top of inherent misogyny and patriarchy” in the medical field. Floyd believes menopause not only to be “a social justice issue,” but also “a gender justice issue that just simply has to be addressed.”
What’s astonishing is how little progress has been made in this field when women make up about 52 percent of the Baby Boomer population, based on the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau report‘s numbers. An entire demographic has slipped by without perimenopause and menopause being addressed — that responsibility has fallen onto other generations to lead the way. Greer, who is a proud Gen X-er, has a theory about this. “My parents, I love them, but they didn’t tell me sh*t,” she jokes, “You don’t talk about it because it’s not happening — drugs, alcohol sex, all those things. So the fact that, in my household, my period wasn’t discussed, sex wasn’t discussed, it doesn’t surprise me at all that I never heard my mother talking about her menopause and her perimenopausal experience.”
For Greer, that not only means “starting a conversation” about menopause, but it also means “starting a movement” to “move away from the ageism” and “pave the way for the generation after us.” She wants to be sure “this stuff is discussed more openly” and that “we can all feel like we’re not losing our minds when we’re starting to experience these symptoms, however young and however long they last.” That’s why Floyd says it’s time to “build community” around this phase of life.
Calling it “the peak phase of life” for women as they enter their 40s, Floyd remarks, “We are ready to really step into our power, but unfortunately, we get benched because we are misinformed, under-educated, and under-served by the medical establishment. So right when we are prepared to serve in the best possible way, entering this best phase of life — we are cut off at the knees.”
That’s why companies like Wile are stepping in to fill that void in women’s health and wellness. Floyd stresses that Wile is about “self-care,” and they want the perimenopause and menopause conversation to be a “part of self-courage and loving yourself, taking care of yourself, and having an honest, meaningful supportive relationship with your own body.” She adds, “I think that’s why our products are so gorgeous, they’re multiple products to assist hormonal wellness. We’re not sick, we’re evolving.” Greer chimes in that it’s not a “one-size-fits-all approach” when it comes to Wile “because we’re women, we don’t all suffer from the same thing, and we don’t all feel the same way all the time.”
As for Hollywood, Greer is “encouraged” that her peers like Naomi Watts, Gabrielle Union, and Gwyneth Paltrow have been vocal about the menopause conversation. “Gwyneth Paltrow, the queen of self-care, the guru — if Goop is talking about perimenopause, then conversation has officially f**king started,” she laughs. “These women are so viable, and so smart, and so beautiful, and such a great example of what’s possible for this time in our lives.”
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