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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10 Responses to “Halle Berry: We can make women’s health issues less taboo by talking about it”

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  1. Eurydice says:

    I don’t think these issues are taboo so much as disrespected. There is still an attitude surrounding women’s health that hormones = hysteria. And this disrespect still permeates the rest of society – that women are less valuable, so their health is less important. So yes, talk about it, a lot, loudly and insistently.

    • SarahCS says:

      I saw a headline today that yet another girl died in a ‘period hut’ in Nepal.

      The disrespect is killing us.

  2. Teatimeiscoming says:

    It would be helpful if we could get our healthcare providers to take us seriously when we tell them about symptoms were experiencing, maybe give us something for symptom relief. What a world that would be.

  3. Mireille says:

    I’m all for talking about women’s health. Just like mental health, there is so much negativity revolving around the idea of periods, menopause, and sexual health. And yes, we should talk about women’s sexual health…it’s important for their overall health. We live in a society where it’s OK to see tons of commercials on Viagra on TV, but God forbid we have an open, honest discussion about menopause.

  4. SarahCS says:

    I’m definitely getting into the early stages of perimenopause and while I have every hope that things will continue to improve I’m relived that this is happening to me now and not five years ago as I’d have had no idea what was going on.

    Please keep talking and sharing. I appreciate coverage of these stories on this site and have learnt all sorts of interesting things in the comments so thank you CB community.

  5. Mair says:

    Having made it to the other side of menopause at a pretty early age, I can say that hot flashes are NOT inevitable. The brain fog was real, though. I’d start a sentence and forget what I wanted to say, lol. Drove my husband nuts. That got better when I was on this side of it.

  6. Harla A Brazen Hussy says:

    I’m on the post-menopausal side of life and when I was going through it, for me it lasted about 10 years, I talked about it endlessly, especially to male coworkers whose wives were just starting or probably would be soon. Now, I can say that my outspokenness made quite a few people uncomfortable but I didn’t care, this was what I was going through, it’s what almost every woman will go through and it’s perfectly natural. I still laugh thinking about sitting in a room full of law enforcement personnel, all men, with sweat poring down my face, big sweat marks under my arms and waxing poetic about all of it while most of them squirmed in their seats Lol! Good times 🤣🤣

  7. DaveW says:

    I’m in this age demographic and think it’s great/interesting that Brooke Shields, Halle Berry and a growing group of influencers (Angie of Hot and Flashy and Dominique Sasche are 2 I follow) are leaning into advocating for women over 50 and promoting the many, many benefits of being menopausal/post menopausal. It’s not JUST hot flashes and night sweats (I was so lucky and didn’t have either!).
    When I look around at my friends, we are all still working (though age discrimination, esp in a job hunt. Is SO real), doing triathlons, traveling, going back to school to finish degrees that were put on hold, etc. We aren’t wearing SAS shoes and Alfred Dunner, don’t have the required short hair wedge all women over 50 used to seem to sport, and all in all have accepted that yes, our bodies and metabolisms are not as firm/fast as they were and it’s ok.

  8. Jaded says:

    The more we comment and share the better we can cope with the change of life. I’ve discovered some great supplements (pueraria mirifica, MenoSense, soy isoflavones) that have helped me through a very sudden onset of menopause when I developed breast cancer and had to go off HRT immediately. It wasn’t pretty. But over the past 4 years I’ve learned to manage it and aside from the occasional warm flash, maybe 3 or 4 a day, they aren’t the drenching, draining thermo-nuclear flashes I was experiencing. I’m sleeping a solid 8 hours a night now by taking 5-HTP and Ashwaganda at bedtime and the brain fog is gone. I use Vagifem to keep my lady bits happy, and exercise really helps too. No I’m not the supple, sleek woman I used to be and I have accepted that my lower back and hips are achy and stiff and I have to use Advil occasionally, but all in all I’m doing well.

  9. Mocha says:

    Did something really happen to her left eye? Why are all her hairstyles of late covering her left eye?