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FractureAdventures of a broken body$
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Ann Oakley

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861349378

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861349378.001.0001

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Old bones

Old bones

(p.95) 7 Old bones

Ann Oakley

Policy Press

Today, the problem of old age masks what it means to grow old. Skeletal fragility has become part of what it means to be an older woman in Western culture. Today, the ageing female body is defined in terms of its bone mineral density, an exact figure derived from the interrogation of female bones, using dual energy X-ray absorptionetry screening machines. This chapter illustrates the history of the reduction of women to their bodies including menopause and osteoporosis. The media and many intelligent people talk about the advisability of medicating ageing women's bodies. There are two models of women's bodies: the hormonal and the mineral. The industry of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), was built on the ‘hormonal body’ model. With the evident failure of this model, medical attention turned to the mineral version. The essential deficiency from which older women now suffer is no longer failing hormones, but flaky bones.

Keywords:   hormones, menopause, osteoporosis, skeletal fragility, bone mineral density

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