Answering the Menopause Question
Last week, we talked about the importance of learning from our customers. But learning from our customers doesn’t just mean listening, it means converting that knowledge into something actionable. So we’re returning to the “menopause question,” and the request for a late-cycle version of Chica.
Cassidy: Dear 3 x 7,
When we posted our letter on “the Menopause Question” in March, we were responding to the overwhelming support we received from women who couldn’t buy Chica for themselves. Periods were no longer part of their experience, but they were excited for us, and for the possibility we held in our hands. If you can provide a natural alternative for period relief, they wondered, what about menopause? We responded with caution, because our understanding of Chinese medicine informed us of the complexity of addressing the menopausal transition, and because our energy was focused on actualizing a period chocolate before anything else. With that said, I want to return to this request. These are important voices that need to be heard; and they could be instrumental in reframing our vision for Chica.
Chica is designed to ease and honor the cycle. From a certain perspective, menopause can be seen as the antithesis of one; after all, it is said to have occurred when a period has been absent for 12 consecutive cycles. Does that mean we should conceptualize a Chica-for-menopause as treating something separate? Or can we understand it as addressing a phase in a greater cycle? This is how Traditional Chinese Medicine views menopause. According to TCM, (cisgender) women’s bodies follow seven-year cycles: from birth a young girl matures until the blood and energy in her body overflows and brings menarche (the onset of menstruation) at around 2 x 7 years of age. Then at about 7 x 7 years of age, the woman’s body needs to conserve energy and blood and therefore enters menopause.
Rather than a time of decline, this is a sort of rebirth. It marks a transition to a phase where wisdom is predominant–when women have accomplished most of their physical and emotional growing and are ready to invest in their spiritual growth. Practitioners call it the “Second Spring.” This is dramatically different from how we frame menopause in the West, where the stigma around the ‘loss of fertility’ is deeply rooted in our fetishization of sexuality and youth. There is arguably more work to do around deconstructing this stigma, because there is even less dialogue about menopause than there is around periods.
Understanding menopause as an extension of the period experience is then understandably crucial. As you’ve said before, Chinese medicine treats an entire person. We stress the importance of eating Chica regularly as both a curative and preventative measure because we understand that addressing the imbalances in the menstrual cycle translates to a stronger overall system. So what if Chica became a life companion? What if there were different manifestations of Chica magic that contributed to a stronger person, not just every month, but every year? When I think about Chica in this way, I get excited about changing the world.
Let me know what you think.
Elise: Dear Tiny Bleeder,
Thank you for making me 3 x 7, since that is my new age!
It didn't us take us very long to get back here, talking about changing the world again. We tend to become very excited when we think about the paradigms that Chica is pushing up against by virtue of existing. Chica Chocolate, as it exists for periods now, is an alternative to the idea that we must take birth control in order to feel better during our monthly bleed. Chica for menopause is an alternative to the medical field failing to have any interest in improving the lived health experiences of those going through menopause.
Our mission with menopause is the same as our mission with periods. We want someone to know that we care for their comfort, we care about every physical and emotional feeling that emerges from hormones, and we want them to know that natural options are beginning to exist. While we are starting small, this is really about building a powerhouse that cares for queer/non-binary/woman bodies through all of their sexy and magical stages.
Now, this really needs a name other than Menopause Chica. Idea:
- Changing Chica