Marketing Menopause: A Tale of Two Supplements

"Men act and women appear" -- John Berger, Ways of Seeing. Also a good way to think about collagen and creatine marketing

October 18 was World Menopause Day, and my god, my inbox and Instagram were flooded with the most ridiculous messages from “menopause influencers,” as Helen Lewis described them in The Atlantic. We’re a target market now, old lady-friends. Wheee.

We’re a target market and yet. And yet, we continue to be dismissed by much of the medical/research establishment. As such, it’s no surprise that the wellness industry and its salespeople are ready to capitalize on our frustrations with how our bodies look and feel. Menopause is still grossly under-researched, and what research there is is often framed in terms of the loss of fertility — what our ovaries no longer do. Because patriarchy views women’s worth in terms of our reproductive capabilities, menopause (and aging more generally) is catastrophized, viewed as some sort of terminal disease rather than as a natural phase of life.

And while Menopause Day might seem swell — oh hey, we’re breaking the culture of silence around its symptoms! — it’s mostly just a marketing gimmick, set up to sell us shit: particularly supplements to compensate for what our bodies now lack.