Halle Berry: We can make women’s health issues less taboo by talking about it

Halle Berry has been having an excellent few years. She’s found love with Van Hunt, made her directorial debut with Bruised, and she also launched Re-Spin, a “digital health and wellness community.” While the site doesn’t overtly say it’s strictly for women, it was definitely Halle’s intent to create a space for women to talk about all the health issues we go through. This week Women’s Health ran a story on a talk Halle gave in June at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, where she rang the clarion call for discussing women’s health at large, and menopause in particular:

Halle Berry wants women to know there’s nothing to fear about aging.

“I’m at my best self now that I reached 56 years old,” Berry, who turns 57 on August 14, says in Women’s Health. “I have the most to offer. I have zero blanks to give anymore. I’m solidly in my womanhood. I finally realize what I have to say is valuable, even if no one else agrees.”

Berry opened up about issues surrounding women’s health—particularly, sexuality and intimacy—at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

“We can make talking about women’s health issues less taboo by daring to talk about it,” the Oscar winner says. “If you start the conversation, most women will follow. Do you know why? Because it’s something that we’re dying to do. It’s something that we’ve been deprived of, and it’s something that we want to share with one another. We just need the permission to do it.”

That’s the mission behind Re-Spin, the digital health and wellness community that Berry founded in 2020.

“Community is the entrée into understanding. We’re all going through it,” she says.

And one thing she’s dealing with right now is menopause—but Berry says she’s not going to surrender to society’s expectations about it. In fact, she’s “challenging all those stereotypes about how you have to look a certain way or feel a certain way” while she’s “smack dab in the middle of menopause.”

“I am challenging everything I thought I knew about menopause. Things like: ‘Your life is over.’ ‘You are disposable.’ ‘Society no longer has a place for you.’ ‘You should retire.’ ‘You should pack it up.’”

[From People]

In all my schooling I think I only ever heard one sentence on menopause: it’s when your period ends. It wasn’t until my mother was going through it that I realized, “oh, this is a much bigger deal.” What left the most vivid impression was witnessing just how uncomfortable she was in her own skin with each new symptom, but especially with the hot flashes. I remember seeing how helpless she felt. That’s why the community building that Halle is doing with Re-Spin, and what Naomi Watts has started with her brand Stripes, is so vital. We need to talk to each other. We’re also in a climate right now where it feels like women can’t rely on anyone but each other to advocate for our needs and protections.

I have a long running joke with my friends that because my body temperature always feels higher than everyone else’s (I’m too blanking hot!), that I’m just living in fear until my menopause starts and the real hot flashes begin. I’m jesting when I say it, but really, I’d rather not live in fear of a natural life cycle I’m planning on living long enough to go through. Halle Berry and Naomi Watts give me hope that menopause will actually be less isolating and intense when my time comes.

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