It happens at some point in every woman’s life, but the way society views this all-important stage can have a huge impact on how she sees it herself. Menopause is still treated as a joke in most shows and films, even ones marketed to an audience of older women. Here’s how Julia on HBO Max breaks that mold and treats menopause as the positive life-changer that it is, while still acknowledging the real difficulties women face.
Julia Child’s All Too Common Experience
From the very beginning of the series, Julia Child’s experience with menopause has been treated with a degree of dignity and realism that’s sorely missing from depictions in other shows and films. Even the recent Sex And The City reboot, And Just Like That… spent a scant amount of time on the subject late in the season. Instead, it relegated it to a sight gag instead of treating it as a monumental change that not only affects how society views older women but how they view themselves.
On the other hand, the HBO Max series Julia, introduces the topic within the first 18 minutes of the show when Child experiences hot flashes and takes a trip to the doctor. After explaining her symptoms and adding that she’s just not feeling as “frisky” anymore, the doctor coldly and somewhat distractedly informs her that she’s undergoing menopause.
A Heart-Wrenching Moment
Her reaction likely resonated with other women dealing with the same stage of life: “Of course,” she said, her face crumpling with shame. “How embarrassing.”
There’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about menopause, but it does signal a change in the way you’re treated as a woman by society. Hot flashes and mood swings, which can have a huge impact on a woman’s personal life, are punchlines.
Older women who are past reproductive age often feel as if they’ve been forgotten or that they’re being ignored, but what makes Child, and by extension, Julia, so special is the way they flipped that script right on its head.
Turning Heartbreak Into Success And Purpose
Though Child struggled to tell her husband what was happening, she channeled her energy into her career, bringing French cooking to salivating American audiences—and now she’s considered one of the most famous chefs to ever live. For the show to make the direct connection between Child’s experience with menopause and her subsequent take off into culinary superstardom was smart and exactly what modern women need to see.
Menopause might signal the end of one season of life, but in no way does it diminish a woman’s potential for the rest of it.